Courtesy the Franklin Park Coalition

Which parts of Franklin Park would you like me to post next?

Today I finally posted a collection of images from a scenic overlook in Franklin Park’s Wilderness (not the Overlook Ruins off the Playstead) and I was going to ask a question at the bottom of the post but I decided to split it off into its own post.

In addition to the pictures from the scenic overlook I’m hoping to get posted tomorrow, I also have a series of pictures of Scarboro Hill that my recent photo of the painted tree (posted on both Instagram (more detail) and on Twitter (more detail)), some pictures of Scarboro Pond (not nearly a complete set yet), and I want to take some pictures at Schoolmaster Hill and the Playstead, but where would you like me to get pictures of next? Continue reading

One Holiday to Rule Them All

(I wrote this for my sister’s site two years ago, and since her site is no longer available I’m reposting it here.)

One Holiday at a Time PleaseLike so many people this time of year, I hate when retailers roll out their Christmas merchandise as soon as Halloween is over. I even made an avatar a couple of years ago that simply asks, “One Holiday at a Time Please.”

When I went into my local CVS the day after Halloween this year to take advantage of the Half Price Chocolate Day specials I was surprised to see that all the space that had been dedicated to Halloween products and candy were now filled with Christmas merchandise, mostly candy. The lone exception was a simple shelf width of Halloween candy. That shelf was empty by the end of the day and Christmas candy had already filled the empty space.

As I was talking to a friend about it that evening I came up with an idea. Instead of having six holidays spread from the start of fall to the end of the year, let’s instead have one big holiday that extends from 31 October to 1 January. The name of this combined holiday?


I know that’s a mouthful, but it does what retailers want to do anyway and make all these holidays one big celebration and marketing opportunity:

  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
  • Kwanzaa
  • New Year’s Eve

I know people will be angry with me, saying each holiday should be its own celebration, and families can celebrate each individual holiday as they choose to do. But I ask you to look at it from a marketing perspective. This way all new holiday decorations can be created for the continuing holiday and this way we won’t be kvetching because Christmas decorations push out the skeletons and tombstones instead of making turkeys and horns of plenty follow the graveyard decorations. Plus, if you use an advent calendar think about how much fun it will be for the young tykes of all ages with an extra month worth of doors to open. What do you guys think? Are you going to join me in wishing people a

Have a Very Happy Hal-giv-hanu-mas-za-year!

(For those who don’t know me that well, my tongue is quite firmly planted in my cheek, but as Aaron Altman says in Broadcast News, “I’m semi-serious here.”)

Je suis Paris – Je suis humain

In support for the people of Paris in the wake of the horrible attacks of 13 November 2013Last night the world was saddened by the terrorist attacks in Paris. As I was listening to coverage while one my way home from the grocery store I decided I wanted to make an avatar that included “Je suis Paris” in support for the city, similar to how so many people said,”Je suis Charlie” after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.

It took a while to make it, after finally finding how Facebook was allowing people to add the French Tricolor to their profile pictures. A few hours before I heard that some were using “Je suis Paris”  but others were using “Je suis humain,” because it wasn’t just Paris values that were attacked but human ones as well.

I’ll be making this picture my profile picture on all the social networking and forum sites I’m on, and I want to help others use the text as well. I can’t help you with getting your image tinted with the Tricolor, but you can download this png image, a 720×720 image with a transparent background that you can use in your favorite image editor to add it to any picture you care to use it with. I’m publishing it with a Creative Commons attribution 4.0 International license. If you want to share the file I created all I ask is that you give me the credit for creating it, but you are completely free to do anything you want with any images you create with it.


As an aside, I find that France 24 has the best coverage of the attacks, and the link goes to the English version. There is also a French version (bien sûr) and there is also an Arabic version available. Both are available from the page I’m linking to.

Je suis Paris et Humaine (layer)
Creative Commons License
Je suis Paris et Humaine by J.M. Hardin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Trail Mix, Peng Style

I love to eat, but what I may love more is to cook. Some of the things I cook often are Red Beans & Rice (I am from New Orleans after all, where red beans & rice is a Monday dinner tradition)  and Chicken Piccata, but I have a bookmark folder full of things to make and things to try,

When I was a teenager my grandmother used to tease me saying I didn’t eat three meals a day, I ate one. It started when I got up and it ended when I went to bed at night. I still love grazing but with me being in my 50’s I try to eat better, even when I graze. One of the things I love to nosh on is trail mix, but not just any trail mix. I have my own trail mix that I like to make. Continue reading

My workspace in my new place

Thinking about the word “marriage”

With Friday’s ruling from the US Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage the law of the land there has been a lot of blowback, with a lot of it saying they were either changing the definition of the word “marriage,” something that’s been with us since time began, and/or saying the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. Except as I heard the ongoing coverage this morning it got  me to wondering about the etymology of the word “marriage.” And the more I look into it the more I realize that some of the claims about that word simply don’t hold water.

(Updated at 1350 ET to include the sources I used to write this, as I meant to do before I published it.)

Please note: I’m not looking at whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong. That’s a rabbit hole that I’m staying away from because of the passion on either side of the debate. I’m looking at the word itself and I hope we can have an adult, rational discussion on that level. Continue reading