Iris #138BR, 141C, 142C, 140BR, 142D & 144C

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February 28, 2015

Irises are a genus of three hundred species of flowering perennials named after the Greek goddess who was said to have rode rainbows, so named because of the rainbow of colors the plant is famous for. Irises, whose scientific name is Iris, is the largest genus of the Iridaceae family. Many of the three hundred species are natural hybrids. Once commonly called Flags, Irises are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, especially Asia and Eurasia.

Irises like full sun and will grow in nearly every soil type, although they prefer a neutral to slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Without enough sun, typically requiring at least six hours a day, the flower will not bloom. It is said that Irises can withstand drought that would kill most all other flowers. If the soil is too sandy, or clayish, organic matter such as compost should be added. In addition to being drought-tolerant, this flower is also deer-resistant, however the plant is vulnerable to borers, which can eat its roots.

Growing to a height of one to three feet, depending on the species, the flowers of this plant sit atop long, erect stems and appears fan-shaped with symmetrical six-lobed blooms. Three sepals drop downwards, while the three petals stand upright, although some smaller species have all six lobes pointing directly outward. Most Irises bloom in early summer, although some hybrids will re-bloom again later in the growing season. Though purple is its predominate color, the blooms also come in pink, orange, yellow, blue, white and a multi-color. Besides humans, these flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

What make the Iris somewhat unusual in a typical garden in my neck of the woods, is its rhizomes, which are fleshy, root-like stems of the plant from which it roots. The rhizomes should be exposed, unlike that of bulbs, because they need some sun and air to help keep them somewhat dry. If covered by dirt, or crowded out by other plants, the rhizomes will rot. If the rhizomes appear rotten and/or diseased, let them dry out in the sun for a few days, and any healthy looking piece can be replanted.

Clusters of the plant should be divided every three or four years to keep the plant vigorous. The plant should be divided in late summer or early fall. Do not trim the leaves back during the summer, as they carry on the photosynthesis process until late fall. Brown tips should be cut off, and the stalks of the deadheads should be cut down to the rhizomes to discourage rotting. Irises should not be mulched, as mulching retains moisture and too much moisture will rot the rhizomes.

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

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Chrysanthemums 73BR, 68BR, 69BR, 72BR & 75BR

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February 21, 2015

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

Henry Paul Band #13B, 7C, 46B, 23B, 43B, 26C, 63C, 88C & 73B

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February 14, 2014

Henry Paul formed the Henry Paul Band in 1978 after leaving the Outlaws the previous year. While a member of the Outlaws from 1972 to 1977, the band released its first three albums: 1975’s Outlaws, 1976’s Lady In Waiting and Hurry Sundown in 1977.

The Henry Paul Band released three albums: Grey Ghost in 1979, Feel The Heat in 1980 and Anytime in 1981. The title track on their debut album was a tribute to Ronnie Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1982, Paul released the eponymously titled Henry Paul album. From 1983 to 1986, the guitarist and vocalist rejoined the Outlaws.

During 1992, Henry formed the country band BlackHawk, which has released seven studio albums over the years, including their latest, Brothers Of The Southland, in 2014. During this same time period, Paul has played on and off with the Outlaws. With the 2007 death of founding Outlaw guitarist Hughie Thomasson, Henry has assumed leadership of the band.

These photographs were shot on August 25, 1980 at the Agora in Columbus, Ohio, across the street from the Ohio State University campus. The Agora, which bills itself as America’s longest continually running rock club first opened as the State Theater in 1923. It was converted into the Agora Ballroom in 1970 with a seating capacity of 1,700, although seating is a misnomer as there are no seats down front by the stage. The ballroom was purchased by PromoWest in 1984 and changed the name to the Newport Music Club.

The price of a ticket to this show was $4.50.

Steven H. Spring

Breaking News

February 7, 2015

Last Saturday night, while plugged in with my new MXR Phase 90 phaser pedal with the #2 Virginia – #4 Duke basketball game playing on the television behind me, out of the corner of my eye big bold letters screamed Breaking News on the scrawl at the bottom of the screen. Since the game was on ESPN, this breaking news must be really important. It seemed Jerome Bettis had been elected into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio. Stay tuned after the game for SportsCenter for the complete list we were told most likely every five minutes, as is the irritating routine of every television station that runs scrawl. Are you freakin’ kidding me? Breaking News? This should not be breaking news even to Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

I find it preposterous how often every television station abuses the breaking news headline. Local networks very often start their newscasts with breaking news. Isn’t this an oxymoron? MSNBC will continue reporting something as breaking news seven or eight hours after it was first reported. When exactly does a news event no longer constitute breaking news? I’m no newsman, but I would guess within an hour, maybe less.

I am a news and political junkie; however, I stopped watching local news many years ago because of their “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. I will occasionally watch it for a weather report or if the Buckeyes have a big game coming up. The following is my mocking not only of Columbus, Ohio’s WBNS-TV station, but also that of every other television network, especially those twenty-four news channels, as they are all guilty of over-hyping any and all things in their lust to attract and kept their viewers glued to the screen. This commentary was first written as a letter to the program director of WBNS-TV maybe ten years ago. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, but were the actual names of the WBNS news department staff at that time. However, most of those listed have since retired, or have moved on to another network.

With Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” blaring in the background, Dave Kaylor opens the evening newscast:

Dave Kaylor: This is WBNS 10TV’s 6:00 Eyewitness News. Hi! I’m Dave Kaylor in the 10TV Studio. The 10TV News starts now (loud music again blares)….

Angela Pace: But first Dave, our top story (loud music again)….

Andrea Cambern: Angela, we have this breaking news, Channel 10TV has just learned….

Dave Kaylor: Andrea, only on 10TV, tracking the storm is Channel 10TV Meteorologist Mike Davis, Mike.

Mike Davis: This is Mike Davis, Live Dual Doppler 10 Chief Meteorologist, in the Dual Doppler 10 Weather Center, Channel 10TV’s exclusive Live Dual Doppler 10 Radar has just….

Dave Kaylor: Mike, Channel 10TV Eyewitness News has this 10TV exclusive….

Angela Pace: Dave, we have new information on our lead story….

Andrea Cambern: This is Andrea Cambern with Health News (loud music again)….

Kim Adams: Andrea, this is Kim Adams with the Dual Doppler 10 Weather Team, Channel 10TV’s Live Dual Doppler 10 Travel Cast has just….

Angela Pace: But first Kim, we have this breaking news, Channel 10TV has just learned….

Dave Kaylor: Angela, new at 6 (incredibly, loud music once more)….

Andrea Cambern: Dave, as we first told you at noon, 5, and 5:30….

Chris Shumway: Andrea, the 10TV Live Dual Doppler Future Track has just….

Dave Kaylor: Chris, this just in….

Mike Davis: Dave, this is Mike Davis, here in Channel 10TV’s Weather Center, using exclusive Live Dual Doppler Radar, we have a Live Dual Doppler Forecast….

Angela Pace: Mike, breaking news at this hour….

Dave Kaylor: With a look at our Wake-up Forecast, here’s Channel 10TV’s Chief Meteorologist Mike Davis….

Angela Pace: Dave, WBNS Channel 10TV’s I Team has….

Andrea Cambern: Angela, making headlines tonight, only on 10TV….

Kim Adams: Andrea, Storm Tracker 10….

Dave Kaylor: Kim, with a look at what’s coming up at 11….

Angela Pace: Dave, that’s all the time we have. Goodnight from all of us here at WBNS Channel 10TV (loud music blaring one last time).

With headphones on, and the practice amp turned up, I worked up quite a sweat picking for almost 45 minutes. It was actually only 42 minutes, but who’s counting except OCD sufferers. I never did learn who all was inducted into the pro-football Hall of Fame. However, I did learn what a phaser was!!!

Steven H. Spring