Muhammad Ali, larger than life

June 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

An unsurpassed legacy has reached its temporal  conclusion.  The greatest sports figure and celebrity of the 20th century has passed.  Rather than mourn his death, we continue to celebrate his life and its many facets.   Rather than poorly retelling a complex life story, I chose some amusing images that touch on the breadth of his celebrity.  You know you’re famous when: Andy Warhol comes to your home to snap a pic, you spar with Elvis…

Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s greatest boxers, died on Friday, June 3, at the age of 74.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali started boxing at age 12 — and ultimately became known for much more than just his successful boxing career.

Ali converted to Islam in 1964, changing his name from Cassius Clay — what he called his “slave name” — to Muhammed Ali after becoming affiliated with the Nation of Islam. His political activism and charity inspired millions throughout his life.

Please visit his site at!  It is a rare, exceptional, site worthy of its namesake.

Fame started with the 1960 Olympics…

Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, represented the United States in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He defeated Soviet boxer Gennady Schatkov as part of his gold-medal performance. Bettmann/Getty Images


Young heavyweight fighter Ali, then Clay, is seen training at City Parks Gym in New York on Feb. 8, 1962. Dan Grossi/AP Photo



1967, with Wilt Chamberlain. AP
1967, with Johnny Carson, star of NBC-TV’s ‘Tonight’ show, in New York City. AP


with Bob Dylan


1971, having his photo taken by Andy Warhol in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. AP


1971, taunting Joe Frazier at Frazier’s training headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty John Shearer/The LIFE Picture Collection


1985, with Liberace and Hulk Hogan in New York City. AP Marty Lederhandler


1997, with Prince in Washington, D.C. AP Karen Cooper


with President Ronald Regan

with Malcom X


with The King


with part of The Jackson Five, Micheal Jackson claims victory


Muhammad Ali, larger than life was originally published on Field Grass

Happy 242nd US Navy, 220th USS Constitution

October 16, 2017 § 1 Comment

It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.

— George Washington

The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

— Mission statement of the United States Navy

The Celebration

USS Constitution and the Navy’s Blue Angels

AP 13 Oct 2017 The world’s oldest commissioned warship will set sail from Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston on Oct. 20. It will be the warship’s first sail since October 2014, and commemorates the Navy’s 242nd birthday and the 220th anniversary of the Constitution’s launch.

The wooden ship will travel to Fort Independence on Castle Island, where it will fire a 21-gun salute. An additional 17-gun salute will be fired as the ship passes the U.S. Coast Guard station, the former site of the shipyard where the Constitution was built and launched in 1797. ~

I would love to witness gun salutes blasting from this mighty and historied vessel!

July 21st, 1997 off the coast of Massachusetts. . . .The USS Constitution the worlds oldest commissioned war ship fires its port and starboard guns while underway in Massachusetts Bay, MA. Constitution is escorted by the frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) (center) and the destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) (right), while the Navy’s “Blue Angels” Flight Demonstration Squadron passes overhead. Commissioned on October 21st, 1797, Constitution set sail unassisted for the first time in 116 years. Constitution celebrated her 200th birthday on October 21, 1997 after completing a 40 month overhaul. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 2nd Class Todd Stevens (Released)


USS Constitution

The USS Constitution is a spectacular wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy, named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.   She was among the first naval warships commissioned by the US government in 1794 and notably seaworthy to date.  As such she is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.   She got the nickname “Old Ironsides” from significant naval victory against the British in the War of 1812.

USS Constitution dominates HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812

The United States Navy

Non sibi sed patriae (Not for self but for country)

The U.S. Navy is the largest, most capable navy in the world, with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage.  The U.S. Navy has the world’s largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, one in the reserve fleet, and two new carriers under construction.  With service has 322,421 personnel on active duty and 107,577 in the Navy Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 276 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of June 2017.  ~wiki

The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy.  It was established during the American Revolutionary War thru the strong support and influential feats in naval battle of George Washington.   On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships; this resolution created the Continental Navy and is considered the first establishment of the U.S. Navy.

Towards the end of the Revolutionary War in 1785 the Congress sold the last remaining vessel in the Continental Navy, the Alliance, due to lack of funds to maintain the ship or support naval resources.

USS Alliance (1778), was a sailing frigate of the Continental Navy, and notable for firing the last shots of the Revolutionary War. ~wiki

The Naval Act of 1794

With the success of the Revolutionary War, the United States became an independent nation but lost its navy and the protection of the British Empire.   The subsequent decade of protection by the precursors of the Coast Guard seemed sufficient.   Ultimately, it left American merchant ships vulnerable to intimidation by hostile nations and wholesale seizure by Barbary pirates.  It was the latter that incited urgent action to create what would over time become the current US Navy. The USS Constitution was among the largest of the first warships commissioned by the US Congress in the Naval Armament Act of 1794.   These ships would aggressively respond to the Barbary threat in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Act to Provide a Naval Armament (Sess. 1, ch. 12, 1 Stat. 350), also known as the Naval Act of 1794, or simply, the Naval Act, was passed by the 3rd United States Congress on March 27, 1794 and signed into law by President George Washington. The act authorized the construction of six frigates at a total cost of $688,888.82. These ships were the first ships of what eventually became the present-day United States Navy.  ~wiki


Naval Act of 1794 established what continues today as the United States Navy.


Page two of the Naval Armament Act of 1794


USS George Washington

Titans of the seas.  The Nimitz Class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are the largest warships ever built.   The next generation, the Gerald R Ford Class, will be even larger.  Carriers are only named for Presidents and other such notable individuals, like Admiral Nimitz.  Carrier strike groups are both an offensive and defensive capable presence in the seas worldwide.

USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group

Atlantic Ocean (Nov. 30, 2003) — USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group formation sails in the Atlantic Ocean. Washington is conducting Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in preparation for their upcoming deployment. U.S Navy photo by Photographers Mate 2nd Class Summer M. Anderson. (RELEASED)

SOURCES: heavily wiki cuts – not all are cited, AP, various military themed sites.


Happy 242nd US Navy, 220th USS Constitution was originally published on Field Grass

Robert F. Kennedy’s Greatest Speech Still Resonates in 2017

August 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

“The Ripple of Hope”

This piece was delivered by RFK in apartheid South Africa, 1966.  It is considered by scholars and others to be his greatest speech.  The entirety needs to be heard by all people in the United States to remind us of the ideals of our nation and the principles we stand for during these divisive and uncivil times. An incredible piece. Profound and timeless.

“We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people before God, before the law and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous, although it is; not because the laws of God command it, although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.”

~ Robert F. Kennedy, 1966, “Ripple of Hope” speech










Robert F. Kennedy’s Greatest Speech Still Resonates in 2017 was originally published on Field Grass

The Kiss of Judas by Giotto

April 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

On the evening before the crucifixion of Jesus, Good Friday, Jesus celebrated The Last Supper with his Apostles sealing a covenant with God and his fate.  As Jesus had predicted during the meal, Judas betrayed Jesus’ location and then his identity to the Roman soldiers with a kiss.

The image below is part of a fresco cycle by Giotto.  The entire work was completed about 1305 and considered to be an important masterpiece of Western art. Giotto’s fresco cycle focuses on the life of the Virgin Mary and celebrates her role in human salvation. wiki


Giotto has been credited with ushering in The Renaissance.  He introduced a revolutionary artistic style that created a sense of realism seen here with the folding cloth that envelopes bodies, light and shadow, and perspective – depth with elements diminishing in size and detail as they recede back into space.  This style represented a dramatic departure from the visually flat, decorative, and iconographic images of the Middle Ages.

“Judas greets Jesus with a kiss, identifying him for the Romans who have come to arrest him. The look on Jesus’ face speaks volumes – he knows what is happening. The Judas’ kiss became the most poignant symbol of betrayal in the Christian world.”  art Giotto

Cappella degli Scrovegni

The church was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità at the Feast of the Annunciation, 1303, and consecrated in 1305. Giotto’s fresco cycle focuses on the life of the Virgin Mary and celebrates her role in human salvation. – wiki

Photographs taken of the Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padua Italy.

Interior of the Capella degli Scrovegni, by Massimo Catarinella


Capella degli Scrovegni, by Massimo Catarinella

Sources for images and cited text:


The Kiss of Judas by Giotto was originally published on Field Grass

WTF? My Web Host Disappeared!

February 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

WTF?!  The posts to this blog come from my web site  As do the images.  With that site, I have 4 other sites connected to it.  THEY ARE GONE.  Along with my web host’s site.  The servers have been down, likely catastrophic crash, unreachable for days now.  Not even by email.

I had problems with backups using WordPress plugins.  They told me not to user them, use their backups.  I’m an idiot, for the first time in years – I didn’t keep my own back-ups.  It gets worse, I won’t go into it.

The most recent back-up I have is 2 years old.  I didn’t do much in 2016, maybe it’s not a big loss for at least one of my 5 sites.   I kept blogs for each site, so I should have something.

So for now, I’ve got broken posts from my blogs.  We’ll see what I can do.



Frida Kahlo, Animated Portrait

April 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

An inspired animation of Frida Kahlo’s famous portrait that was taken by her father, Guillermo Kahlo, in 1932 .  The animation incorporates key images from her works that also defined her life as she depicted it on canvas.  I had to have it.

Frida Kahlo, animated portrait
Frida Kahlo, animated portrait



Frida Kahlo Bio as Artist

“Mexican fantasy painter known as much for her turbulent personal life as her fanciful self-portraits. Kahlo learned to paint in 1925 after recovering from a debilitating bus accident that left her unable to bear children. The tragedy was often the subject of her paintings and was an integral part of her personal imagery. Her work can be seen as the product of a kind of exorcism by which she projected her anguish on to another Frida, in order to free herself from pain and at the same time maintain a hold of reality. Small in scale, primitive in style, and bold in color, the artist is sometimes shown as an animal, such a deer, which have lead artists and critics alike to label her work Surrealist. The artist eschewed this, maintaining that she painted images from her own life, not dreams. Also the subject of several works was her tumultuous marriage to artist Diego Rivera. One portrait shows the artist as a tiny figure in traditional Mexican dress, dwarfed in size by the large, brooding Rivera. In 1953, Kahlo’s leg was amputated at the knee due to gangrene. She subsequently turned to drugs and alcohol to relieve her suffering. She died almost certainly by suicide in 1954. Her work received notoriety in the 1970’s, becoming popular with feminist art historians and Latin Americans living in the United States” – via MoMA



Frida Kahlo spent the majority of her life confined to a bed and in physical pain.  She painted her small world in graphic and sometimes gruesome detail.  Her work was and still is labeled as Surrealism, which she strongly rejected.  So, I applied another label I found, Magic Realism.  The first painting, below, is her first of many future self-portraits.  The bottom 3 paintings represent some of her greatest works.  All of the images are Courtesy of

Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress, 1926 by Frida Kahlo. Her first self-portrait. Courtesy of


Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940 by Frida Kahlo. Courtesy of


Roots, 1943 by Frida Kahlo. Courtesy of


The Broken Column, 1944 by Frida Kahlo. Courtesy of



Frida Kahlo, Animated Portrait was originally published on Field Grass

Mobile Theater | by Gordon Parks

April 18, 2016 Comments Off on Mobile Theater | by Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was an outstanding, black, photographer who captured the dark side of American society in technically brilliant photos in an essay for Life Magazine.  This is a great photo for various reasons.  Taken 2 years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court  ruling that segregation is unconstitutional.  It is beautiful, charming, and hateful.  It captures the era of ugliness, clearly marked, through which many like these two innocents navigated daily.  Technically incredible.  What should be a nice outing is marred by hate, spelled out in cheerful neon light.


Movie Theater, Mobile Alabama 1956, Gordon Parks

Movie Theater, Mobile Alabama, 1956, by Gordon Parks


Mobile teacher Joanne Thornton Wilson and her niece, Shirley Kirksey, were photographed by Gordon Parks outside the Mobile Saenger Theatre in 1956. Parks was on assignment for Life magazine, which did not publish the photo at the time. (Courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation)

Personal note:  I will share this image, and others, with my ESL class.  They, as foreigners to the US and our history, are shocked and bewildered.

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