Thursday, July 6, 2017

Donald Trump just spoke before a YUGE crowd of Poles in Warsaw (that's in Poland). He gave a Reaganesque performance, speaking of hope and change in a far better way than his predecessor had ever done.

Trump is the real thing. Democrats are right to be fearful of this man. He may put them in the tank forever. 


​Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!!

Remember our guys who serve in our military. It is hard to imagine, or maybe too easy, but I was once there, too.


I was never in combat, or even in a war zone, but some of the things I did, routinely, were very dangerous.


GIs just get the job done.


​Sunday, July 2, 2017

Healthcare has become a major topic in our lives whether we wanted it to or not. The biggest problem that we face in this sector is, as it has always been, costs. The biggest ongoing cost for many people in their later years is prescription medicine.


Generics help to mitigate the abhorrent cost of prescription medication. They are available for medicine that has been available long enough for the original formulation of medication to go off patent protection. I stole an article from the Wall Street Journal about this. It is available here.

This is just one of the tools that creative heads of agencies can produce to help us with control of the health industry. This is not my specialty, and I don't enjoy even thinking about it, but there are many people who do enjoy supposing about ways to improve healthcare in the US.

Thank God for them.


Now, on to a much more fun topic: Portrait versus Landscape orientation of photographs.

I will try not to allow the vitriol that I feel welling up every time I see a stupidly composed video being displayed on my TV screen, which has a 16:9 (horizontal:vertical – 'landscape') ratio for its picture.

The number of times I see amateurishly composed video sequences where the camera (phone) is held in the 9:16 ('portrait') orientation is more than I can take. I cannot describe the irritation present when a video that is poorly conceived and hideously executed is played on network TV.

We are presented with the image of a blurry subject moving rapidly in and out of the frame which bounces around with ever-changing views of the subject. The upper and lower portions of the frame show elegant footage of the ceiling and floor of the space which contains all the action.

I am all for the return of professionalism in the handling of cameras. In fact, I am probably one of the first to advocate the licensing of the use of the video feature on cell phones. This capability should be blocked until such time as the owner of the phone demonstrates his expertise and desire to perform.


Architects, of course, may present their proper license, and thence are exempt from any restrictions of this sort.

In going through my image library (very large) the ratio of landscape orientation to portrait runs to approximately 9/10 to 1/10, making the landscape orientation far and away the predominant one.

Portrait orientation is self-explanatory, but landscape may need a bit more elaboration on the reasons that we use it so much more.

Our world – our vision – is a horizontal format. We spend much less of our time looking down or looking up as opposed to looking out horizontally. Our heads are articulated so that we can see down or up when needed, but our heads are almost always vertical, making our vision horizontal. Things that happen, happen in the narrow few degrees of the horizontal. Our hunter/gatherer heritage has taught us that. For self protection and in battle, attacks come at us on the horizontal; aerial attacks are a 20th century invention.

The movie/video has become ubiquitous, all with a landscape format. A video camera turned 90° to the horizontal just looks weird. Not only are they lacking in content, but that orientation makes us uneasy.

Cell phone use by inept people in the last 8 to 10 years or so is the cause of this bother. Cell phone manufacturers added the camera as an afterthought without much regard to what it would be used for or how. I'll bet that the camera decision came from the engineering department: "We've got just enough room to fit a crappy lens in the corner of that phone circuit board!"

Nobody thought enough about it being a means of artistic or aesthetic expression to have done anything about that aspect of a camera. To the engineer, it's just another in a long list of features he has to implement; to the marketer, it's another feature that he can use over the competition.

To no-one does the concept dawn that this is an artistic tool. So it is pushed into one corner of the phone design, set so that its most natural position for use yields the least natural results.

Typical engineering.

The solution, however, is very simple – turn the phone 90°.