Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Changing of the Guard.

I sit here and write this as I gaze upon my LCD TV in all it's high definition goodness, watching colorful, hopeful, and impressive views that our digital television infrastructure brings us. The scenes of hope and bright colors; red, white, and blue, are of the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

These scenes take place in our capital city of Washington D.C., the design of which intends to strike awe and respect into the hearts and minds of the visitors that tread upon it's marble, concrete, and stone. And awe, it does strike. I have visited our capital more than once, but 10 times that number would not suffice to instill the importance in history this nation holds, the mark upon time the United States has etched, nor the course of events that led to the creation of this free republic. Among these scenes, men who have wielded the power of this nation, three former presidents stood and greeted one another in the halls of our Capitol building while outside, stood as many as two million fellow Americans. A citizens of a country whose ideals have been the real shot heard round the world.

Today, a man was inaugurated. A man. A free man, and a member of this republic. Beyond the controversy, the campaigning, and the election, the highest office of this country was transitioned peacefully to a new administration and a different citizen of this nation. If that fact does not instill hope in the bleakest of American hearts, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

February 17th, 2009 - D-day

So the big day is not far off. We're about a month out from the digital television broadcast switchover. No sooner could the doomsday-ism have started. President-Elect Obama recently stated that he may postpone the switch over because a federal program that issues coupons for DTV boxes is out of money. My guess is that even if there was enough money for every household that requested the coupon, there probably are not enough of those digital converter boxes in stores to fulfill the need. The real question is, does the need even exist? Sure there are probably plenty of people that will no longer be able to receive an Over-the-air (OTA) TV signal any longer due to the different wavelengths used for digital TV transmissions or other factors. But today, there is a plethora of ways to recieve television content, through satellite, cable, the internet, and most recently fiber optic cable. Sure, those methods aren't free. But this is a completely different issue from the one addressed by Mr. Obama. He's only worried cause a federal program is out of money. What's wrong with someone shelling out $50 for their digital converter box if they don't get a coupon by February 17th? Who's to say the program won't get refunded in a few months or a year, and the people that didn't get their coupons now, will get them later.

Who says anyone has a right to watch TV? The constitution certainly doesn't.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm a pretty big fan of sunsets. No matter the location, a sunset is almost always a sight worth seeing. However, we take these spectacles that nature creates (nearly every day) for granted. I have the fortunate circumstance to live in an area of Johnstown that just never seems to disappoint come early evening to about dusk. If you live here, you probably know what I speak of... Any trip down Scalp Avenue past the Bel-Air plaza down to the cloverleaf where Scalp joins Bedford Street between the hours of 5 and 9PM, depending on the season of course, rarely leaves one wanting of more impressive solar events.

Recently I was treated to two wonderful sunsets, in the middle of a Johnstown winter, locally known as cold, long, and awful, on what would otherwise have been considered two dreary, late December days. These appeared without much warning, save the orange-red glow that I often get through my front picture window in the mid evening when the maximum daily altitude of the Sun is less than about 40 degrees above the horizon.

The chances to take these pictures are far and few between, because as the earth revolves back around the Sun in spring, summer, and fall, it sets much further to the right of where these pictures were taken. So at the point where the Sun would arrive at the same azimuth, it would be about 20-40 degrees higher in the sky. In fact, it would be well above the trees. No silhouetting, no blue sky gradient, no frosted clouds. Not here at least. Maybe my neighbors over the hill there would have some Kodak moments during the other seasons. But winter... The dark, dreary, cold, and long winter is where I got my chance.