Saturday, April 30, 2005

Photo of the Week; Steroids in the food chain.

Bovine Death Row
Originally uploaded by dougb61.
Once again congress is misguiding it's energy. We've been hearing a lot about Congerssional hearings concerning steroid use in professional sports this month. Suddenly some members of Congress think it is the government's role to over see and regulate activities of the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL. What business does congress have that concerns any of us in pro sports?

If congress wants to concern itself with steroids it needs to turn its attention to the use of steroids and hormones in American beef production. Beef producers use steroids to alter the way cattle use energy in food. The results are leaner/bigger cattle. Maximizing the profits for ranchers and corporate beef producers. Dairy farmers use bovine growth hormone to stimulate the production of milk. What is the effect on us? Studies into the safety of steroid and hormone use in food production are more that 20 years old. While better research techniques have evolved over the years a bonified modern study into the effects has not been conducted. The regulatory goal of the FDA and the Department of Agriculture is to ensure that anyone eating beef will get a dose of residual hormones that's less than 1 percent of the highest dose that caused no ill effect in test animals. But is any amount of these substances safe? It is interesting to find that since 1988, concerns about the potential health risks of drug residues has led the European Union to ban importation of the meat of hormone-treated animals. My question is why is congress more concerned with baseball that the public health?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Phone

I try to do the right thing. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. When you cross paths with someone with different values it can be a dilemma. I guess it's funny when a trip to do a good deed turns into a rant.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

Quicktime Version

Friday, April 22, 2005


Would you do something radical to help someone you didn't even know? A small sacrafice can go a long way towards helping a child in need.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

Quicktime Version

You can help too The Locks of Love Website.

Earth Day 2005 (Photo of the Week)

spring2003 095
Originally uploaded by dougb61.
On Tuesday, Tennessee state meteorologists issued an unhealthy air quality alert for the Great Smoky Mountains. That's nothing out of the ordinary. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most polluted national park in the country, and with the warm weather of spring comes smog season.

What is unusual is that President Bush will be paying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a visit on Friday -- for Earth Day.

It's hard to miss the irony here. One of the Bush administration's biggest legislative priorities has been to rewrite the Clean Air Act to allow twice as much soot and smog pollution than strong enforcement of the current law. The administration's plan would even strip the right of states to force upwind sources of pollution to clean up their act. In fact, North Carolina has invoked that right to address the smog problem in the Smoky Mountains.

Because of its position downwind from coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities, the Smokies' air pollution levels rival those of urban areas, at times exceeding levels in Washington, DC and New York City. This contamination brings haze, ozone, acid rain and mercury pollution. You'd think such an alarming situation in America's most visited national park would move the Bush administration to protect our air quality. That's clearly not happening. We need strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act to achieve the clean air standards that Americans want and deserve.

Area meteorologists are predicting rain today, which should wash out the smog in the Smokies for the time being. So the presidential party should get their photo opportunity with a clear view.

We fully expect that the picture, like the Bush administration's dirty air plan, will take our breath away.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Recycle This

Our planet is dying, we throw away so many things that could be reused or recycled. I recycle EVERYTHING! Here is an easy way for you to get into recycling too.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Caribbean Reds (Part 1)

We're planting some of the hottest peppers available. This is the first of what will be a multi part vlog. The next segment will come in a few weeks.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Picture of the week.

Mountain Scene
Originally uploaded by dougb61.
I've been traveling to the Smoky Mountains since I was about 20 years old. I never tire of the area. I guess as National parks go it is one of the most visited. You can still go to areas that are not as heavily traveled if you know where to go. As the mountains east of the Mississippi River are considered these are the tallest and most beautiful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Girls at play.

Two of my friends and I took advantage of the warm spring weather and went to the river Monday. Again I had planned to bring my camcorder and blog from the river. I got to the river to find that I had left it on and the battery had died. I did the next best thing and used the movie feature of my photo camera and took some clips with it and edited everything together. In movie mode it has no sound so I put some music in the background.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Photo of the week feature started this week.

I've always been a very visual person. I've been taking pictures since I was about six years old. My first camera was a 99 cent wonder(yes a real working camera) that I found in the toy section at the grocery store. It took black and white photos. I remember you had to feed the film across the shutter in the back of the camera to the spool on the other side. My parents always had to help me. My earliest subject matter was such fine objects as tree limbs, garbage cans, and my cherrished Batmobile. Very few of those early pictures survive today.
When I met my wife and we married in 1985 we found that one of the things we had in common was a love for photography. She has a Cannon AE1 and I had an old Minolta that I had picked up for $15 at a yard sale. As the years went by we went through a couple more cameras then about four years ago I bought my first digital camera. It was a 2.1 megapixel Kodak DC290. I bought it used for $400.00 (Remember this was the early days of digital). The convenience and instant gratification of digital sold me and I've sworn to never go back to film.
In 2001 we took a trip to Maine and I shot over 300 pictures with the Kodak. When we got home we downloaded the pictures to the computer and there were the images that would represent our memories of the trip forever. My wife was still using film at the time and it was months before we developed all her film from the trip.
I soon learned a valuable lesson on the draw backs of digital (perhaps it is the only drawback). I had been backing up my photos on CDs. This was a convienent way to permanently store the images just incase of a computer melt down. We'll one day that melt down came. My Compaq crashed one day taking all my valuable photos with it. I felt confident of the safety of my photos though, after all I had them backed up on CDs. Here's the valuable lesson. I got a new computer and started loading my photos saved on CD to the new machine. I put the CD containing the photos from Maine in the drive and I got a read error. I found that some CDs can become corrupted over time. My 300+ photos from Main are now all but lost. Only about 40 survived on a seperate CD that I had made. Several other pictures were lost as well.
Today I back up all my photos on an External Hard Drive. This is a much more stable medium than CDs and I can more easily transfer photos from computer to computer. The External drive connects using either a Firewire or USB 2.0 connection. Now all my digital pictures exist in at least two places. My main computer and the ext-HD. Everymonth I do a back up of all the photos (and scans) taken the past month. I keep file structure the same on both drives so I can just copy and paste the folder for the past month onto the External drive.
Our cameras continue to increase in resolution. Last year my wife bought me an Olympus Stylus 400 4 megapixel camera. I had picked out the tiny camera because it had a available waterproof underwater case that I could use for taking pictures while whitewater kayaking. I take the unit with me on all my kayaking trips, teather it to my life vest and am able to snap photos while in the boat. This tiny camera takes amazing shots. I've taken photos with the Stylus that I would put head to head with the most expensive SLR digitals out there. I'm very happy with the choice.
Last summer I took advantage of the drop in prices in SLR type cameras and bought my wife the Cannon Digital Rebel 6.3 megapixel. I actually use the camera as much if not more that she does. The features of this camera are awesome and the quality of the shots are remarkable. Now we are both stuck on digital photography as is the rest of the world. Back just 4 years ago I bought a Cannon EOS film camera for around $600.00. I was looking on Ebay the other day hoping to unload the antique and it seems you can't give a film camera away these days. The best price I found for the same model was about $50.00 and no one is bidding on them.
So with my love for photography in mind, this week I've started a new feature on my video blog; The picture of the week. Ok, so it's not video but it's the next best thing. Don't worry, my video will still be evolving and the vlogs will keep comming but I though some of my photos may be worthy of viewing from my readers. So I hope you enjoy the new feature and I look forward to your comments. I'll try and make Fridays the "Picture of the week" day.
This is the Southern Video Blog, we'll see you next time...bye.

A tiny frog in a Day Lilly

A tiny frog in a Day Lilly
Originally uploaded by dougb61.
No vlogs today but I was hoping you might be interested in viewing this from my photos page.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Land of the Noon Day Sun

My seventh vlog for Video Blogging Week 2005 (Late Entry).
Nantahala is a Cherokee word that means "Land of the noon day sun". When we got to the river Saturday it was anything but sunny. The weather had deteroiated to a wet snowy mess but we ended up kayaking down the river anyway. We were so cold by the time we got off the river all we could think of was a hot shower and food. This final vlog for Video Blogging Week 2005 didn't turn out as I had planned. My original intentions was to blog from on the river along the way. With it raining and our goal for the day was to just get down the river without freezing, I didn't even bring the camcorder. I did bring my digital still camera along and shot a few pics as we went down the river. I've added additional shots from our trip home which includes my nephew Austin "Snowyaking" in the N.C. mountains and some video from a beautiful waterfall in Tennessee called Bald River Falls. Hope you enjoy!!

Click on the picture below to view the video.

Quicktime Version

Friday, April 01, 2005

Pack it up.

My sixth vlog for Video Blogging Week 2005.
I'm off to the Nantahala River to go kayaking Saturday and maybe Sunday with our kayaking group. First I have to get everything together and pack it up.

Tomorrow I'll be blogging from the river but won't get to post that vlog until Sunday night.
Click on the picture below to view the video.

Quicktime Version