June 26, 2005


Last week, the American Film Institute released its choices for the top 100 movie quotations. Of course, some were to be expected, but I was disappointed to see a few of my favorite movies (and quotations) entirely shut out of the top 100. :-)

In chronological order:

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

This is a very interesting situation!


Just remember this, Mr. Potter: that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?


Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

2. The Love Bug (1968)

Mr. Thorndyke: What part of Ireland did you say your mother came from?
Tennessee Steinmetz: Coney, Ireland.


You have a little feel for tradition and some courtesy, you'd be surprised you can unscrew the "unscrutable."


Carole: Help, I'm a prisoner! I can't get out!
Van Hippy: We all prisoners, chickee-baby. We all locked in.
[looks over at his hippy partner]
Van Hippy: Huh, a couple of weirdos, Guenivere.


Now, Herbie! Now!


My father say, "Hurry is waste. Waste is cracked bowl which never know rice."


Not full, can't go yet.


Mr. Thorndyke: How true it is that the best ways are the simplest ways after all.
Havershaw: That's what I always say, sir.
Mr. Thorndyke: Oh, shut up!


Havershaw: Mmm! You know something about champagne, sir?
Mr. Thorndyke: Havershaw, if you tell me that the bubbles tickle your nose I shall probably kill you!


Havershaw, I'm not a cowardly man, but I get the feeling that thing is out to get me.

3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Harry: Here we are Marv. New York City, the land of opportunity. Smell that?
Marv: [sniffs] Yeah.
Harry: Know what that is?
Marv: Fish?
Harry: It's freedom.
Marv: No, it's fish.
Harry: It's freedom, and it's money.
Marv: Okay, okay, it's freedom.
Harry: Let's get out of here before somebody sees us.
Marv: And it's fish.


Kate McCallister: What kind of idiots do you have working here?
Mrs. Stone, Desk Clerk: The finest in New York.


Gangster Johnny on TV: You was here, and you was smooching with my brother.
Mr. Hector, Hotel Concierge: [after pause] I'm terrible sorry, sir, but I'm afraid you're mistaken.
Gangster Johnny on TV: Don't give me that. You been smooch with everybody! Snuffy, Al, Leo, Little Moe with the gimpy leg, Cheeks, Bony Bob, Cliff...
Officer Cliff: [Gasps' others stare at him in disgust] No! It's a lie.

Hat tip on the AFI Top 100 quotes: Bet at Dappled Things

What are some of your favorite lines?

Posted by JRC at 11:18 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

Sidebar additions II

Heads up on some new links in my sidebar.

Newly added blogs
At the beginning of the month I announced the beginning of Eric Anest's de facto and I'm finally adding it to the list of blogs I frequent.

For some months, I've been checking in periodically at Mounty's Corner. I don't really know Tom Mount, but he maintains a growing list of BJ-related bloggers that I enjoy following.

New links
It's not unusual for me to get questions about what digital camera to buy. I don't mind sharing my (limited) knowledge, but I almost always find myself sending people to Digital Photography Review to research camera models and features.

I've also added the link to the fascinating Forgotten NY website that I blogged about at the beginning of June.

Posted by JRC at 04:24 PM | TrackBack

Well-earned rest

Tonight we'll be going to a banquet in honor of one of my coworkers who is retiring after more than 40 years at the newspaper. That's impressive in any organization, but think of all the changes in the publishing industry in that time.

I know for a fact that she's been around Linotype machines (if not something older), Compugraphics typesetters, paste-up boards, and most recently computers using desktop publishing software.

She's earned her retirement, I'd say.

Posted by JRC at 03:36 PM | TrackBack

Back on the blog

Here it is. My haven't-blogged-much excuse. I've been (a) too busy and (b) somewhat unmotivated to blog.

Thankfully I haven't ever held myself to a blogging schedule or quota; it's only as I have time.

If you care, this is what I've done:

  • Spent two nights on the road at a seminar.
  • Managed the production (shoot/edit/paginate/layout) of an 8-page graduation supplement (a fifth section for our four-section paper).
  • Spent an afternoon doing my grandmother's lawn (spraying poison on poison ivy, edging/trimming, and mowing her incredibly thick grass). Thank goodness now it's so dry I'll get a reprieve.
  • Covered a barn fire on a remote farm, then watched the firefighters burn down a ramshackle abandoned house on the property while the barn smoldered. The barn was too far gone when they arrived, and the owner had been asking the fire department to burn down the old house. Since they had the manpower and equipment to do so, they did it while they were there.
  • Hosted my family as they passed through the Valley to and from New England.
  • Had my Dad and brother tag along while I worked the weekend photo beat. That took up most of their Saturday visit. More on that below.
  • Attended another part-day seminar

The weekend work assignments that I had involved a range of topics. Seemed like every few hours, I'd breeze into the house and change clothes and rush out for something else with some assortment of family coming along. We were trying to maximize our time together while I worked.

Busy weekend
One of the assignments was a Bible school in which the local fire department gave a fire safety demonstration/talk. There was also a medical helicopter that landed so the kids could see that service. Made for some decent photos, but the main excitement there was when I saved the day.

A couple was out for a walk in the area as the helicopter was descending to the well-marked landing zone. They were on the far side of the landing zone from the onlookers. I was also on the far side so I could get a photo of the chopper setting down with kids looking on.

The couple was seemingly oblivious to the descending chopper, the fire engine standing by and everyone focused on the landing zone. They started to walk right through the LZ as the chopper approached. Only when I called them back did they stop.

From there I rushed home to change clothes so that I could take a borrowed kayak out on the river for an outdoors story I was working on. Once on the river, I had the unique experience of interviewing some anglers in a canoe from my kayak as we floated downstream.

Such assignments are tough. :-)

The story turned out well, thanks to that trip.

Then I rushed home to change clothes again for a dinner with the family at a local steakhouse. I left the meal early to get to an interview with some baseball players. Then I rushed to the office for a bit before running off to take pictures of a choir concert.

The reward of that hurried visit with the family was seeing Dad in person on Father's Day for the first time in years.

Posted by JRC at 03:28 PM | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

The name fits


A week ago I was out of town at a professional development seminar. One of the six meals at the seminar was open for us to do our own thing, and I had a dilemma. Which of two barbecue restaurants should I try?

One was a small hole-in-the-wall place with a small (5-gallon?) smoker on the back porch. The other was an established restaurant that had a significant pile of hickory wood out back.

I went with the bigger restaurant, and got some real smoked pork. It was dry and I was in a hurry, but it was nice to get the real stuff. Decent fries and hush puppies came with the meal. The entrances and exits to the parking lot at the restaurant were cleverly labeled "Pig In" and "Pig Out."

...Kinda fits that The Smokey Pig was in the town of ASHland.


In a strange twist of "fate," I found myself at Harrisonburg's The Smokin' Pig this week. The guy there saw the business card I had in my money clip from The Smokey Pig. He was glad to know the Ashland restaurant's meat was too dry. The two similarly-named joints are close to three hours apart, but the Harrisonburg guy constantly gets calls via directory assistance looking for the Ashland place.

Posted by JRC at 10:16 PM | TrackBack

June 08, 2005

Cool catalog

I'm a guy. I like toys--I mean, tools.

And I've found the grownups' version of the Sears wish book.


I came across a company while looking for a special tool to for my father. They had what I wanted and seemed to have a professional operation. I placed the order and became even more satisfied with my choice. The customer service was good, and several weeks after my order, I got what has quickly become known in the family as "The Famous" catalog from Forestry Suppliers.

For weeks in my spare time I've studied the catalog. About 600 pages long, the catalog is packed with interesting items, and it takes several read-throughs to notice everything in it. And yes, it is a catalog, but there's plenty in it that could be potentially useful or, at least, educational. (They seem to be pretty proud of the catalog themselves.)

For example, the catalog includes (I won't bother linking to it all.)

  • reasonably-priced, quality outdoor gear (tents, packs, sleeping bags, GPS, etc)
  • nice hand tools (crosscut saws, pruners, specialty tools, and a wealth of shovels for any special use)
  • weather-related tools (weather stations, gauges, handheld anemometers/other sensors)
  • logging tools (log hooks/tongs, portable mills, winches, chainsaws and chainsaw safety gear)
  • pest control items (traps, decoys, sensors, needles to prevent roosting pigeons, repellents, etc)
  • scopes (binoculars, distance calculators, night vision, remote wildlife cameras)
  • measuring tools (specialized rulers, extra-long tape measures, lasers, measuring wheels)

There are some interesting items that you might have used or seen in use, but never given thought to where they come from, such as

  • campground/picnic area fire rings/grills

  • paint and marking tools for placing trail blazes on trees

  • spikes for climbing trees or power poles

  • hard hats (traditional hat brim, all-the-way around brim, and cowboy-hat-style)

  • wildfire firefighting gear (Indura/Nomex clothes, packs, hand tools, helmets, goggles, boots, water pumps, fire shelters, etc)

  • geology tools (hammers, picks, chisels, guides)

  • surveyors tools

  • utility line detectors

And sincere science tools

  • lab gear (dissection tools, beakers, sensors, microscopes)

  • forestry tools (instruments to measure all sorts of tree-related things, planting tools, soil moisture testers, soil pH testers, etc.)

  • water-quality tools (including any number of sensors and guages)

I don't think it's a stretch to say that there's something for everyone in the family in this catalog. Mom can get gardening tools/gear. Dad can get yard tools and outdoor gear, and the kids can get some educational science equipments and probably even books and videos.

Posted by JRC at 06:20 PM | TrackBack

June 05, 2005

Forgotten NY


The beauty of exploring forgotten places is that it can be done anywhere--even the big city. My time in New York City introduced me to some historic places. I've seen the remnants of an old fort along the coast of Staten Island on a Coast Guard facility. Another interesting fort is still part of an active Army post. Then there were preserved buildings from as far back as the Revolutionary War.

Other more modern properties had fallen into disrepair, such as the old mental institution on Roosevelt's Island in the East River or the old buildings down under the Manhattan Bridge.

A guy named Kevin Walsh has created an incredible resource about some of these sites, along with many, many more at Forgotten NY. He's got in-depth information about all sorts of history that's hidden in plain sight in the city--old advertising, old streetlamps, abandoned airports ... you name it. Of course, there are some sites, such as abandoned subway stations that aren't in common public view.

One old train line, the High Line on Manhattan's West Side, is especially out of place. It's an elevated train track, which is unusual in Manhattan (and has been for probably near 100 years). The so-called Outer Boroughs still have elevated subway lines in places. The High Line can be seen along the West Side Highway, with grass and trees growing from the abandoned track bed. Walsh's site has information about the line, which some in the city want to see made into a linear park.

Philip Eoute, who blogged about his semester-long tour of the Midwest, also tipped me off to a blog, which has more photos of the High Line in its current state.

Disclaimer: When I speak of exploring forgotten places, I do not mean trespassing or taking what my family calls "foolish chances."

Posted by JRC at 11:50 PM | TrackBack

June 04, 2005



I've almost always had an interest in history. As a result, I'm captivated by old relics and historic sites. It's easy for me to see an old abandoned building--even a foundation--and wonder what life was like back when the building had its heyday.

Where there children skipping around the house 70 years ago? Did snow drift six feet deep by the back door between the house and the outhouse that one bad winter? When the last shingle was in place, did the husband come down and put his arm around his wife as they stood and admired the frontier home they'd just built on their own?

As a photographer, I've found that many old sites lend themselves to great pictures. There's beauty to be found in derelict buildings, whether they are along the roads we drive everyday or in the middle of nowhere.

One of my hobbies (thanks to my Dad's introducing me to Bodie) is ghosttowning. Out west, there are still remnants of old mining communities. A little research, a good map, GPS, and a high-clearance vehicle can take you from the 21st century back to the 1800s or early 1900s.

Some towns are still quite complete. Others are hardly visible in the desert scrub. Some towns are high in the mountains, where the days are cool and breathing is tough. Some are down in the desert where temperatures soar over 100 degrees and lizards rule the area. Some are nestled in the trees while others have no shade save the buildings that remain.

But in all of them, stories lurk of better days.

On a hot day in some ghost towns, a cold blast of air may rush out of an old mining shaft. Often there is no sound in the town, but the wind which causes tin roofs and old equipment to creak and moan.

The stories want to get out, it seems.

Posted by JRC at 12:13 PM | TrackBack

June 02, 2005

De facto news

Congrats go out to a fellow Publishing grad, Eric Anest, on his first full-time job just out of college. You can read about his new gig on his new blog, de facto.

You may remember Eric's temporary blog from his days at Georgetown last summer.

Posted by JRC at 09:13 PM | TrackBack

June 01, 2005

On jackhammers and deadlines

For the past two weeks, the staccato cacaphony of a jackhammer dominated parts of the busiest two days of the production cycle at the newspaper. A crew was taking out a perfectly good curb across the street so that they could replace it with one that appeared to be identical.

The first week, it took them a day and a half to take out some 40 feet of curb. Thankfully the Lord brought rain on the actual deadline day so that we could concentrate. For yesterday's deadline day, the racket lasted only half a day as the crew took out another 40 feet of curb.

In writing classes, discussions about the writing process often turn to talk of writers creating an environment conducive for them to write in. But discussions about reporting often talk about being flexible. If these discussions were part of the rock/paper/scissors game, flexiblity would trump ideal writing environments like scissors beat paper or paper beats a rock.

Deadlines are deadlines, and they're always a part of the journalist's life. So whether it's filing a story from some new venue or trying to do phone interviews or write to the sounds of a jackhammer, the journalist has to be able to adapt.

Posted by JRC at 09:38 PM | TrackBack

Four years, and counting

Last Thursday was our fourth wedding anniversary. We managed to squeeze in a dinner at Red Lobster on the actual anniversary day before taking advantage of the holiday weekend to get away for a nice relaxing camping trip.

Seems like every year we hit that day saying how quickly the days have gone by, while also saying that it seems like we've been married for longer than that. Trust me, it's a nice thought that know each other so well (and we should after growing up together), but that we still don't get enough time together.

Posted by JRC at 09:36 PM | TrackBack