Friday, February 25, 2011

Seaman Richard Carroll - Photoshop Reconstruction

Back on October 5, 2008 I tried to reconstruct a very poor photo of a WWII sailor who died on the USS Grunion (a submarine sunk by the Japanese).  I worked on it for a couple of weeks but I never could really capture the essence of the seaman.  (See that early effort here. Yuk!)

Okay, two years have passed and I have learned a few Photoshop tricks since then.  So I decided to try once again to do Seaman Richard Carroll justice.  I think I did so in this second effort, and it only took me one day to complete.  [Update:  I spent a second, third and fourth day colorizing it and making small edits.] Here it is:

Stogie's New Fedora: A Must for Blogging and Playing Bass

Stogie's New Fedora (for Blogging)
Yesterday I completed a tax return for a long-time friend, Larry, but he left without signing one important document.  So I left the office and took the form to his house for him to sign -- I was determined to finish all paperwork that day and leave nothing to a new day.  When he invited me in, he showed me a brand new Stetson Fedora sitting on his table.

"Would you like to have it?" he asked.  I said YOU BET!!  I have been wanting a new fedora since my dog chewed up my last one (also a Stetson); however, a new Stetson costs upwards of $100 and I couldn't justify the expenditure in these hard times.  However, I have a large head (needed for all those brains) and I wear a 73/8  hat size.  I tried on the hat and it was a perfect fit!  Sure enough, the tag inside said it was a 73/8.

I think the gift was Larry's way of saying thanks for saving him quite a bit of money over the past few years.

Stogie's New Fedora (for Blues and Jazz)
Larry said "Don't say I never gave you anything," and I said THANKS and BYE and left before he came to his senses and changed his mind.

As Robert Stacy McCain or Da Techguy will tell you, a fedora is an absolute must for blogging; we are the new media, the new reporters and must wear a fedora.  Matt Drudge renewed this journalistic tradition when he opened the Drudge Report, and it is a good thing.  However, for me the fedora will do double duty, since fedoras are also popular with blues and jazz musicians.  All I have to do is flip up the front and the fedora converts from a journalistic theme to a jazz theme.  Am I cool or what?  Don't answer that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lawrence Auster Wrong on Amanda Knox?

My friend Larry Auster and I do not agree on every point.  He has concluded that Amanda Knox was most probably guilty, and her innocence is only a lie being pushed by the liberal media in America.  I, on the other hand, believe she is innocent of the crime for which she was convicted of murder.

Read Auster's opinion here.

The case was recently made more ambiguous by a stupid "Lifetime" movie on the crime that was fiction, told with the premise that Knox was guilty.  I had a ton of hits yesterday from people who had viewed the silly flick and were looking for information on Knox.

Almost all of the lies, distortions, myths and falsehoods about Amanda Knox and the crime for which she was framed are covered at Injustice In Perugia.

Prosecutors who frame innocents simply to augment their reputations or to express their biases are nothing new.  It happens, more often than most Americans want to believe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Protest Signs: Some Suggestions for Union Supporters

Photoshop Reconstruction: Another Grunion Sailor

Mary Bentz of the USS Grunion Family Search Team contacted me, asking me to do another Photoshop reconstruction of a WWII submarine sailor who died at the hands of the Japanese.  In many cases there is no clear photo of the fallen sailor, and sometimes there is only a blurry or grainy newspaper photo.

Here's my reconstruction, both before and after.  Is my reconstruction super fabulous?  Well no, but it's not too bad.  With Photoshop you have to know when to stop, as you can get obsessed with a single photo.

Update:  Since I wrote the above, I have continued to make revisions.  Suggestions from readers on how to improve the reconstruction are welcome.  I have learned that the sailor is Seaman Second Class Arnold Charles Post of the submarine USS Grunion.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Andrew McCarthy: "Not a Perversion of Islam, But Islam"

Today at National Review Online Andrew McCarthy again speaks truth about the world's worst religion, Islam. He articulates the fact that violence by Islam against apostates and infidels is not a perversion of Islam, but obedience to its clearly stated doctrines.

The massive self-deception of the Western world on this question is mind-boggling.  Very few on either the left or the right want to admit this truth:  the terrorists are not perverting Islam, they are practicing it.

There are many pundits who continue embarrassing themselves by claiming the terrorists have "hijacked a religion," but this is pure nonsense.  Sean Hannity is one of these self-deceiving bunko artists, and I wish I could give him a good shake to wake him up.

There are far leftists who make it their personal religion to defend the most odoriferous evil.  The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of these.  They recently have attacked Pamela Geller for her anti-Islamization activities, asserting that opposition to a violent ideology is somehow "racist."  When the masses of conquered infidels (you and me) are once again led to the public square to be beheaded by twos, Mark Potok and Morris Dees will holding the scimitars of our executioners.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin State Unions' Real Message to Taxpayers! (Photoshop)

I took this image from American Power and Photoshopped it a bit so that the true message is clear.

Health Warning Re: Dangerous Parasites! (Photoshop)

Dr. Stogie presents, for your health and protection, the following presentation of some common but persistent parasites.  Enjoy, use and distribute freely.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Democrat Message in Wisconsin: Pay State Employees Until You Bleed

So now Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats are supporting the state employee unions in Wisconsin.  So what exactly is the Democrat message?  Here are some possibilities:

1.  Wisconsin taxpayers should pay exorbitant state salaries and benefits, even if it means the state continues to bleed red ink and become increasingly insolvent.

2.  Unions are sacrosanct (because they are major supporters of the Democrat Party) and you must pay them whatever they wish, whether you can afford it or not.  Go without, suffer poverty, get taxed until you bleed, but continue to pay those exorbitant benefits regardless of the pain it causes the majority of taxpayers.

3.  The Democrat Party is indeed "the Party of Something for Nothing," because the real purpose of labor unions is to blackmail management into paying workers more than they're worth.  Government supported labor unions are just another means of "redistributing the wealth," from those who earn it to those who do not.

4.  The Democrat Party stands firmly, now and forever, for fiscal irresponsibility, for spending far more than you take in, for things you don't really need and which have little or no value, or could be easily replaced with cheaper and more effective alternatives (e.g., hiring outside firms through a bid process to do better and cheaper what overpaid state employees now do).

5.  Or to put it more succinctly, RED INK, CONFISCATORY TAXATION, GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY, GOVERNMENT INEFFICIENCY AND UNION BLACKMAIL.  Now there's a slogan we can all get behind!  I am so inspired!

Hillary Clinton In a Corner (Photoshop)

I saw this picture of Hillary from a magazine.  It shows her standing in a corner with a mysterious smile on her face.  I instantly got the idea of her painting herself into a corner.  Why?  Why not?  The Photoshop image herein has no real political message, I just thought it would be fun to Photoshop Hillary this way.

Update:  I added a caption in white below her feet.  I now have a political purpose for the graphic!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin -- the Next Big Fight Between Left and Right (Union Busting)

As a Californian, I know clearly the reason why my state is a financial basket case.  It is because of the strong unions of state employees, who have pushed up wages and pensions to outrageous levels, causing catastrophic rivers of red ink and state bankruptcy.  What California needs is to remove the abused power of collective bargaining among its state employees.  With the state firmly in the grip of Democrats, that isn't likely to happen, and the exodus of businesses and individuals will continue.

Now it appears Wisconsin has the same problem.  Its treasury is also being drained by the state employee unions.  So the governor there is supporting legislation to end collective bargaining by state employees.  I am 100% for it.

Once upon a time, unions were a good thing, a counterbalance  to abusive business management practices and mistreatment of employees.  It was an effective means of holding management accountable for its employee policies and practices.  When any group of humans has unbridled power, they will abuse it.  It is a law of nature.  I call it "the asshole syndrome," or simply AS.

Now unions in some places have achieved unbridled power and once again, the AS reappears.  The assholes in this case are no longer management, but the employees themselves.  They are looting state treasuries with the same wild abandon of drunken barbarians sacking Rome on a Saturday night.  It is time to put the bridle back on this runaway group.  It's time for them to drop those swords and grog goblets, and to unhand those wenches.  

Of course, the Wisconsin brouhaha will quickly become a stereotypical case of left vs right, with the liberals and the Democrats supporting the unions regardless of their excesses and unreasonable demands.   You can almost write the scenario ahead of time.

"Ron Paul is a Vicious Anti-Semite" -- David Horowitz

I have never liked Ron Paul, due mainly to his anti-American rhetoric.  Like the far left, Paul blames America first, for every war and conflagration.  I thought Ron Paul was nuts before I ever heard the term "neo-con," a term used for every conservative who doesn't hate his own country.

Ron Paul blames the United States for the Muslim attack of 9/11 and states that he does not blame Islam for it. Paul believes America is an imperialist empire.  On foreign policy, Paul is probably closer to Code Pink than to Ronald Reagan.  This is unfortunate, because on economic matters Paul is generally spot-on, i.e., he believes in laissez-fair capitalism.  This is the strange dichotomy of the paleconservatives, who seem to be political schizophrenics:  far left on some issues, far right on others.

Now David Horowitz has an article about Ron Paul at News Real blog.  It appears that Ron Paul wants to end all aid to Israel.  Paulites are loudly arguing that this is not evidence of Paul's anti-semitism, but I just don't buy it.

Read it all here.

Debbie Schlussel Has a Point RE: Lara Logan

I notice that I am getting mega-hits today on the subject of Debbie Schlussel. I have noted in prior posts that Debbie appears to be unhinged.  (See here and here.)  I have not changed my layman's opinion about Schlussel's mental health.  However, her recent column about CBS reporter Lara Logan, though tactless, was largely factual.  Let me explain.

A couple of days ago, Debbie wrote a column on her blog to the effect that Lara Logan is one of the many self-deluding liberal reporters for the mainstream media who, as we used to say in high school, "believes her own bullshit."

Schlussel's point was that self-deluding liberals never learn from their flawed ideology; that though raped by a mob of Muslims in Egypt, Logan is likely to go back to believing that Islam is a "religion of peace" and other nonsensical propaganda.  I agree with Schlussel on several points:  Islam is evil.  Islam is violent.  Muslims hate our guts because of their religion and for no other reason.  To deny this truth is a form of insanity.  Of course, liberalism is a form of insanity.  At the very least, it is a dangerous form of delusion, where reality is replaced with rigid ideology, wishful thinking and dogma.

Schlussel's comments brought a storm of denunciation and a flood of hatred from the left.  She wrote:
I just love it when the people of the profession of “the public’s right to know” suddenly want “privacy.” Tell it to your next interview subject, Lara. Of course CBS has no further comment. Wouldn’t wanna impugn the “peacefulness” of “Religion of Peace” animals, would we? Now, if they were Christians or Jews, well, then there would be comments galore.

So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that’s a hope that’s generally unanswered.

This never happened to her or any other mainstream media reporter when Mubarak was allowed to treat his country of savages in the only way they can be controlled.

Now that’s all gone. How fitting that Lara Logan was “liberated” by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the “liberation.”

Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdilllullah [praise allah].
I suppose that Schlussel could have been a tad more tactful.  Her comment about Logan's rape being "fitting" was uncalled for and implies that Schlussel takes pleasure in the dreadful crime against Logan.  No one deserves to be raped by a crowd of smelly, hairy Muslims.  Well, maybe Charles Johnson, but I digress.  Most of us on the right were outraged by the attack on Logan, regardless of Logan's political views.

However, the truth of Schlussel's other statements is undeniable.  Islam is the enemy and it is unredeemable,  vacuous speeches by our airhead-in-chief notwithstanding.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Egyptian Mob Rapes CBS Reporter Lara Logan

I really don't know what liberal women MSM reporters are thinking when they go into a Muslim country.  Lara Logan went into Egypt with a CBS news crew, got separated from her group, and was repeatedly raped by the disgusting followers of the False Prophet.

Muslim countries (and especially the Muslim men therein) are uncivilized barbarians.  They are not our friends and we should do everything we can to separate our civilization from what passes as theirs.

My wife's youngest aunt married the Philippine ambassador to Egypt a couple of years ago, and until recently, lived in Egypt.  Fortunately, her ambassador husband retired a few months ago and auntie got out of that hellhole and is safely back in the Philippines.


A reader liked this video, so I decided to post it here.  Our guitar playing grandma really rocks on this old classic, "Tequila!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Italy: A Banana Republic? Parents of Amanda Knox Indicted for "Libel"

The disgustingly puerile, vindictive and asinine government of Perugia, Italy has struck again.  First, they sentenced the Knox's daughter to 25 years in prison for murder, based on nothing but the fantasies of a corrupt prosecutor and a forced (and later proven to be false) confession by the daughter, Amanda Knox.

Knox's parents gave an interview to a British newspaper where they alleged (truthfully) that their daughter had been subjected to a long and abusive interrogation by the Perugia Keystone Kops, and slapped in the back of the head (to help her "remember").  Now the Perugian Banana Republic wants to put Knox's parents on trial for their interview with the Brit newspaper, on the charge of "libel."  Disgusting behavior by a local Italian government with a great (and well deserved) inferiority complex.

Planning a vacation in Italy?  Change your plans.  See Britain or France instead.  As an American, you will have a lesser chance of being arrested, framed, imprisoned or indicted.

Read it all here.

Also read about the facts of the frame-up here:  Injustice in Perugia.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stogie Band Blues Jam

The weakest point of our band is the vocals.  It's hard to find and to keep a decent singer.  Our singer didn't show up for practice so we played some intrumentals, including the blues jam posted below.  Our funky new lead guitar player could be someone's grandma, but if so, she's a rockin' grandma.  She broke into this blues jam and we all followed her.

We had never played this piece together before, but blues follows known chord progressions and we all knew them.  Listen with earphones to hear the bass.

NOTE:  The sound balance on this video isn't perfect by any means.  The video was shot on a small, hand-held digital camcorder with a single recording input.  In spite of that limitation, I think the sound recording quality is quite good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Republican Jackass

What a Maroon.

Allen West at CPAC: The Real Deal

Colonel Allen West, a black Marine, is now Representative Allen West, Republican Congressman from Florida. I am loathe to jump on the PC bandwagon and insist on a black candidate to match the Democrats black candidate, but Allen West seems like the real deal.  The points he made in the closing speech at CPAC yesterday were solid conservative gold.  Therefore I now consider him a conservative hero and stalwart whom I shall henceforth take seriously.  West "gets it" and deserves our moral and political support.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Now That's One Big Stogie

Bro bought me this for Christmas some years back.  I decided it's time to smoke it since I can't afford to buy fresher cigars right now.  Here's to you Bro.  (The cigar is a "Gigante" made in Manila, Philippines.)

Now THAT's a Cigar!

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: Potential Savior or Another RINO?

Mitch Daniels
According to the Drudge Report, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels "wowed 'em" at the CPAC conference in Washington this week.  Daniels is exploring a possible run for the presidency.   I read Daniels' speech here, and it has a lot of good ideas, none of which are especially new, being the staple of the conservative movement for some time:  smaller, more efficient government, the cessation of unnecessary and wasteful spending, paying down the national debt, a vigorous economy as the path to greater opportunity for all.

My antennae went up, however, when Daniels alluded to broad coalitions involving liberals.  Liberalism is the disease, and mixing the disease with the antidote seems a self-defeating strategy for economic recovery.  He said:
Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers. King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared. Winston Churchill set aside his lifetime loathing of Communism in order to fight World War II. Challenged as a hypocrite, he said that when the safety of Britain was at stake, his “conscience became a good girl.” We are at such a moment. I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying “I told you so” or “You should’ve done it my way.”
Second, Daniels seems to allude to the class warfare strategy and implies we should embrace it, that is, the rich vs poor scenario, where we advance the theory that both cannot prosper simultaneously, or that by looking out for the rights of the successful and productive we somehow undermine those "on the first rung of life's ladder."  He says:
We must display a heart for every American, and a special passion for those still on the first rung of life’s ladder. Upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise, and the stagnation of the middle class is in fact becoming a problem, on any fair reading of the facts. Our main task is not to see that people of great wealth add to it, but that those without much money have a greater chance to earn some.
The last sentence in this paragraph makes me feel quite uncomfortable.  Daniels appears to be throwing out a sound bite to the mainstream media who love the false dictum that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," and that the GOP wrongly supports the former over the latter. I prefer the truism that "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Inspiration of Barack Obama Delivers Egypt Unto Democracy and Enlightenment

Well, not really, but listening to Obama's flowery and phony speech today, one gets the impression that it was Obama's speech in Egypt in July 2009 that inspired the Egyptian uprising.  Obama is convinced that the Egyptian people's popular clamor for Mubarak's ouster is a prelude to democracy, freedom, enlightenment, multiculturalism and religious tolerance.   Obama is a living icon of self-delusion.  Never before in the annals of mankind has such a monstrous ego rested upon a less substantial foundation.  Obama directing the policies of the most powerful nation on earth is the equivalent of Pee Wee Herman leading the allied invasion of Europe in 1944.  All Obama lacks is the red bow tie.

Polls show that most Egyptians hate America, hate Israel, support Sharia and support the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of religious fanatics who want the full weight of their bloody religion to crush Egyptian civilization for centuries to come.  Rather than freedom and democracy, the Egyptian revolution will most probably usher in a new era of repression, intolerance and religious fanaticism, all overseen by a dictatorship of the mullahs.

Of course, harsh and bleak reality is no match for Democrat self-delusion, wishful thinking and wildly optimistic fantasies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Face of the Sphinx - Photoshop Reconstruction

Update 1:  Here is an improved reconstruction completed January 2012 (updated May 2012 for additional refinements).  Update 2:  Beard added May 17, 2012.  Update 3:  Face of Khafra Used for Reconstruction, June 14, 2015; Update 4:  Nose somewhat enlarged to more closely match that of Khafra, per suggestion of a reader, Sandy McFarlane, January 8, 2016.  Update 4:  Changed beard to resemble those (weaved) most often seen on sphinx-like statues and brightened eyes a bit.

I attempted a simpler reconstruction some months back. I wasn't satisfied with it.  I want to know:  if I were transported to Egypt, 4500 years into the past, and gazed upon the newly carved face of the Sphinx, what would that face look like?

I worked on this reconstruction for a week, but have been refining it for months, trying different things.  It is a front view of the face of the Great Sphinx of Egypt, reconstructed with Photoshop, and based on a study of statues of Pharoahs and smaller sphinxs in museums around the world.  The heavy lines around the eyes represent the eye makeup used by Egyptian royalty of the time.

I have struggled with the chin.  The Sphinx's chin seems to be short and abrupt, but I think it has been chipped away by those who have defaced it over the centuries.  A side view of the Sphinx seems to bear this out.  Therefore, I have added a fuller and rounder chin, in the belief that this was more the way it looked when new.  The big question is:  should I add a beard?  There are many controversies about the Sphinx, and one of them is whether or not it had a beard.

From what I have read, the Great Sphinx was sculpted out of a natural sandstone formation, about 4,500 years ago.  The face of the Sphinx is thought to be that of Khafra, the Pharoah who built it, or that of his father, Khufu.  No one knows for sure.  I used a statue of Khafra as a reference for my depiction, but did not add a beard.  Archaeologists say the Sphinx did have a beard, but that it was added sometime later and was not part of the original sculpture.  A large fragment of the beard has been found and is in a museum.

Over the centuries, the Sphinx was subject to intense vandalism, probably from Muslim fanatics who hate artistic depictions of human beings (in the belief that it constitutes "idolotary"), as well as from rifle shots from passing armies, namely the Turks, the French and the English.  The old rumor that the nose was shot off by Napoleon's cannons is false.  The present condition of the Sphinx is largely unchanged since it was unburied from centuries of sand storms, and drawings of the Sphinx show that the nose was gone at least 150 years before Napoleon ever saw it.

Is my reconstruction totally realistic?  No, but I think it gives some idea of what the Sphinx may have looked like in its first century of existence.  Working on it was a great way to relax after work and I learned some more Photoshop techniques while doing it.

In 1898, John Lawson Stoddard described the Sphinx quite nicely:
It is the antiquity of the Sphinx which thrills us as we look upon it, for in itself it has no charms. The desert's waves have risen to its breast, as if to wrap the monster in a winding-sheet of gold. The face and head have been mutilated by Moslem fanatics. The mouth, the beauty of whose lips was once admired, is now expressionless. Yet grand in its loneliness, – veiled in the mystery of unnamed ages, – the relic of Egyptian antiquity stands solemn and silent in the presence of the awful desert – symbol of eternity. Here it disputes with Time the empire of the past; forever gazing on and on into a future which will still be distant when we, like all who have preceded us and looked upon its face, have lived our little lives and disappeared. John L. Stoddard's Lectures (1898) 2, 111.
I added a side-by-side comparison of the original and my latest reconstruction at the top of the page.

I did an earlier Photoshop reconstruction of a side view of the Sphinx here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Gigging Today

I have Wednesdays off from taxes, so today I am playing with my band at a luncheon.  We have a new, female lead guitar player and she is quite good.  This will be the first time we have played with her (besides in practice).

Looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Taxes and More Taxes

Sorry for the lack of blogging this week.  It has been one tax return after another.

No Super Bowl for me today.  Just more taxes.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Great Sphinx: Photoshop Reconstruction, Sideview

I love to play with Photoshop.  I wanted to get an idea of what the Great Sphinx might have looked like when it was new.  Here is the Sphinx face in sideview, with my digital reconstruction.

The Sphinx Today

Photoshop Reconstruction of the Great Sphinx
That was fun. Next I will try to reconstruct a front view of the face. That will be more difficult.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Busy Me and Blogging

Wow, I have been busy doing tax returns and I am enjoying it.  The pay is lousy but I enjoy meeting and talking to the clients and figuring things out.  I dig it I tell ya.

Sounds like the Arabic world is having some kind of hissy fit and are hot to attack Israel (again).  The Muslims over there hate Israel and the Jews just for existing.  The only way the Israelis can appease them is to die.  I do hope we stick with Israel and help see them through this.  It would help if we had something other than a wimp in the White House.

On another topic, I have become interested in the ancient Egyptians (so much better than the latest variety) and their great monuments -- the pyramids and especially the Sphinx.  The Sphinx is believe to be around 4,500 years old.  The face of this monument is pretty tattered after 45 centuries of sandstorms and vandalism, so I am trying to reconstruct it with Photoshop.  I have a hankering to see what the Sphinx might have looked like a few millenia back.  I'll post my reconstructions when I'm done.