Eric Clapton, Duane Allman & Michael Bloomfield

January 30, 2014

Grabbing the latest issue of Guitar World out of my mailbox this afternoon, the first thing I noticed was the cover photo of Eric Clapton, along with the headline The 50 Greatest Eric Clapton Songs Of All Time.  Those who really know me know that I am a Clapton freak.  Stevie Ray looks down on me from the 20×30 poster hanging above my computer table of a photo I shot of him at the Ohio State Fair around 1986, maybe 1987, and was devastated when he died (and still am), and I love a lot of other unbelievable pickers, however, I think based solely on recorded output, no one compares to EC.  I have seen Clapton many times through the years, the first time being at St. John’s Arena, on the campus of Ohio State University on July 4, 1974.

I quickly scanned the magazine’s list of Clapton’s greatest songs, and mostly agree with their selection, however there are a few that I would not have included, songs such as Sleepy Time Time by Cream, ranked number ten (they even include an alternate version of the song at number twenty as well, I Shot The Sheriff at number twenty-two or Lay Down Sally at number forty-two.  It was when flipping the page searching for the last few entries, that I saw a photo of Duane Allman with the tile Dominos Effect, along with the subtitle When Duane Allman sat in with Eric Clapton for Derek and the Dominos’ Layla album sessions in 1970, it was the gig of a lifetime…and it nearly sidelined the Allman Brothers Band.

I have had a subscription to both Guitar World and Guitar Player ever since I started my quest to become a guitar player seventeen years ago, and for the most part, my generalization of these two magazines is that Guitar Player seems more geared towards an older crowd while Guitar World seems aimed at a more heavier rock, much younger than myself type of reader.  Seeing two back-to-back articles about artists and an album that I really like looked very promising.  I have long thought that Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs is the greatest rock album of all time, although I must admit to rating Layla along with Stairway To Heaven and Free Bird as songs that radio played a million times too often.  The Layla album does contain lovely tunes such as Bell Bottom Blues, Keep On Growing, Anyday, Key To The Highway, Tell The Truth, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Have You Ever Loved A Woman and Little Wing.  This album is a rock and/or blues masterpiece.

Flipping past the Layla article, I was astonished to see a photograph of Michael Bloomfield with the headline Blues Power House, with the subtitle He was one of the greatest electric blues guitarists of his time, but Michael Bloomfield is nearly forgotten today.  His friend and collaborator Al Kooper hopes to change that with the new box-set retrospective From His Head To His Heart To His Hands.  It is a misnomer to call Bloomfield one of the greatest blues guitarists of his time, Michael Bloomfield is one of the greatest blues guitarists of ALL time, most certainly, the greatest white blues guitarist ever!

Back-to-back-to-back articles about two of my favorite guitarists, along with an article about the recording of arguably the greatest album of all time, it does not get any better than that on a very cold, winter day!

Steven H. Spring

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Flowers #5266C, 5272B, 5267B, 5260C, 5273B & 5261B

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January 25, 2014

Chrysanthemums, more commonly knows as Mums, are a member of the Asteraceae family of flowers.  This flower is considered a hardy perennial, although many consider them only as a short-season, fall-planted annual, as they bloom in late summer and fall.  There are forty known species and thousands of different varieties of Mums.  Most species originally came from China, Japan, northern Africa and southern Europe, although China is thought to be the original starting point of the plant, dating there as far back as the fifteenth century, B.C., where the flowers have customarily been boiled to make a tea and also used medicinally to treat influenza.  The plant has been grown in Japan since the eighth century.  Over five hundred different varieties were known to exist by 1630.  Chrysanthemums are considered to have been introduced in America in 1798, when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety known as Dark Purple from England.  The plant is considered the death flower in Europe because of its widespread use on graves.

The word Chrysanthemum is a derivative of two Greek words, chrysos (meaning gold) and anthemon (meaning flower).  This particular genus of flower at one time included many more species, but was divided into several different genera a few decades ago.  The National Chrysanthemum Society recognizes thirteen different classes of flowering blooms of the plant, based on form and the shape of its petals, although there are only eight major types; anemone, cushion, decorative, pompon, single, spider, spoon and quill.

Chrysanthemums are divided into two basic groups, garden hardy and exhibition.  Garden hardy are perennials capable of surviving winters in northern latitudes and produce a large quantity of small blooms.  Exhibition varieties are not nearly as hardy and sturdy; usually require staking and being kept in a relatively cool, dry location over the winter, sometimes requiring the use of night-lights.  In addition to its many different types of blooms, Mums come in a wide variety of colors, ranging not only of gold, but also white, yellow, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple.  The plant also comes in an assortment of heights as well, ranging from a height of eighteen inches up to three feet tall, depending on the particular variety, growing conditions and whether they are pinched regularly during the growing season.  Pinched plants will generate a smaller, bushier plant, producing many more blooms.

These plants can be planted either in the fall or in early spring.  Those planted in the spring will produce a more vigorous flower.  Mums prefer fertile, highly organic, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.  The plants should be spaced roughly eighteen to twenty-four inches apart, although some varieties might require spacing up to three feet.  They can be fertilized once a month up through July.  Mums particularly need plenty of water once they start blooming.  Every two or three years, Chrysanthemums should be divided to invigorate their growth.  If bought as a potted plant in the fall, as many people do, they should be planted at least six weeks if not more before the season’s first killing frost, although it seems that many who buy fall pots will throw the plant away after the frost kills the blooms, having never transplanted the flower into a garden.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #5098B, 5103C, 5099C, 5101C, 5102C, 5097B, 5104C & 5100B

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January 18, 2014

Chrysanthemums, more commonly knows as Mums, are a member of the Asteraceae family of flowers.  This flower is considered a hardy perennial, although many consider them only as a short-season, fall-planted annual, as they bloom in late summer and fall.  There are forty known species and thousands of different varieties of Mums.  Most species originally came from China, Japan, northern Africa and southern Europe, although China is thought to be the original starting point of the plant, dating there as far back as the fifteenth century, B.C., where the flowers have customarily been boiled to make a tea and also used medicinally to treat influenza.  The plant has been grown in Japan since the eighth century.  Over five hundred different varieties were known to exist by 1630.  Chrysanthemums are considered to have been introduced in America in 1798, when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety known as Dark Purple from England.  The plant is considered the death flower in Europe because of its widespread use on graves.

The word Chrysanthemum is a derivative of two Greek words, chrysos (meaning gold) and anthemon (meaning flower).  This particular genus of flower at one time included many more species, but was divided into several different genera a few decades ago.  The National Chrysanthemum Society recognizes thirteen different classes of flowering blooms of the plant, based on form and the shape of its petals, although there are only eight major types; anemone, cushion, decorative, pompon, single, spider, spoon and quill.

Chrysanthemums are divided into two basic groups, garden hardy and exhibition.  Garden hardy are perennials capable of surviving winters in northern latitudes and produce a large quantity of small blooms.  Exhibition varieties are not nearly as hardy and sturdy; usually require staking and being kept in a relatively cool, dry location over the winter, sometimes requiring the use of night-lights.  In addition to its many different types of blooms, Mums come in a wide variety of colors, ranging not only of gold, but also white, yellow, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple.  The plant also comes in an assortment of heights as well, ranging from a height of eighteen inches up to three feet tall, depending on the particular variety, growing conditions and whether they are pinched regularly during the growing season.  Pinched plants will generate a smaller, bushier plant, producing many more blooms.

These plants can be planted either in the fall or in early spring.  Those planted in the spring will produce a more vigorous flower.  Mums prefer fertile, highly organic, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.  The plants should be spaced roughly eighteen to twenty-four inches apart, although some varieties might require spacing up to three feet.  They can be fertilized once a month up through July.  Mums particularly need plenty of water once they start blooming.  Every two or three years, Chrysanthemums should be divided to invigorate their growth.  If bought as a potted plant in the fall, as many people do, they should be planted at least six weeks if not more before the season’s first killing frost, although it seems that many who buy fall pots will throw the plant away after the frost kills the blooms, having never transplanted the flower into a garden.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The Evolution Of A Photograph; Flowers #4872H, 4872F, 4872D, 4872B & 4872

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January 11, 2014

Modern technology, specifically digital photography is a wonderful thing.  Although I am a relatively newcomer to digital photography, having bought my first digital camera just this past June, I have been playing with photographic software for several years, manipulating my 4×6 inch film proofs before posting them on this blog.  I did make up for lost time after getting my first new camera in thirty-three years by shooting nearly 15,000 photographs in only four months, 99.99% of which were flowers.  I even broke down and bought the latest edition of Photoshop Elements, however I have yet learned how to use most of its features.  These photographs were adjusted using only the free software download, Google Picasa.

My initial thought was to reverse the order of these five photos, to give you the proper sequential order in which they were adjusted.  However, to catch your eye, I decided to post the finished product first.  I would have liked to have been able to keep the faint leaves in the photo; however, when darkening the images to bring forth more color, the leaves did not survive the process.  Other changes made were to cut and paste different plant petals along the edges and corners.  When I finished editing the photograph, I was amazed at the final result.  My only concern was that I had added to much detail to the photo.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The Real Reason Behind The George Washington Bridge Controversy

January 10, 2013

Say what you want about MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow, however, I think she hit the nail on the head last night during her show with her opinion of the real reason why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shut down the George Washington Bridge this past September, that being the controversy surrounding the denial of the lifetime appointments of two New Jersey state Supreme Court justices, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, the second occurring only the day before the governor ordered the bridge shut down.

After watching her show last night, she convinced me that controversy is the real reason, not the fact that Fort Lee, New Jersey Mayor Mark Sokolich did not give his endorsement to the governor during his successful re-election bid, as every other political pundit is espousing, even though the mayor does not even remember being asked to give his endorsement.

For any political junkie wanting to learn to real reason behind Governor Christie’s closing of the George Washington Bridge, the most traveled bridge in the world, go to Maddow’s MSNBC website and watch the first twenty minutes of her show and you’ll be convinced too!!!

Steven H. Spring

2013 Year In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Flowers #5125B, 5119C, 5125D, 5120C, 5122B & 5123C

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January 4, 2014

Sedums are a large genus of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae family, with as many as six hundred different species.  These succulents vary from herbs and annuals to shrubs.  Sedums, sometimes known as Stonecrops, store water in its thick leaves and stems, making them drought resistant.  The plant is also deer resistant.  These plants need very little, if any care and are a favorite of bees and butterflies.  Sedums have green leaves, with many of the different plants’ leaves turning red in late fall.

These flowers range from low-growing ground cover to those growing to a height of two feet.  Their blooms usually have five petals, and range in color from pink, red or purple to yellow or white.  The darker color flowers bloom in the fall while the lighter colors bloom from May until August.  Sedums are easy to grow and do best in a sandy (or average), well-drained soil and in full sun but can grow in light shade.  These plants will tolerate poor soil and hot, dry weather.  If the plant is grown in too rich a soil or receives too much water, they will flop over when its flower heads get too heavy.  The plant sprouts in early spring in a dense crown of shoots.  The origins of this flower are Asia.

This particular Sedum in these photographs are Autumn Joys.  This plant grows upright to a height of eighteen inches, with grayish-green three-inch leaves.  Autumn Joys blooms from August until November.  Its flower, which many describe as looking like broccoli, are four to six-inch clusters of half-inch blooms in the shape of a star that range in color from yellow and orange to pink and red.

German nurseryman and Sedum breeder Georg Arends (1863-1952) crossbred two types of Sedums, Spectabile and Telephium to create Almond Joys, which were first sold in 1955.  Their flowers start off bright pink and turns to a cherry red when in full bloom. These plants should be left alone over the winter to provide birds its seeds.  Autumn Joys should be divided every three to four years.  Older plants tend to split in its center if not divided.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring