False Pride, Foolish Lies & Mermaids Cries

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The endurance of the legend of mermaids (one of the earliest known reference to mermaids was recorded around 800 B.C. in Homer’s epic, the Odyssey) is perhaps the most apt analogy to human’s capacity to stubbornly maintain beliefs and claims that suit their fancy and purposes despite the overwhelming facts and evidence against them. While many of us may have thought of mermaids as merely a fanciful fairy tale to lull a child to sleep, history records a long-held belief of the actual existence of these beautiful, voluptuous maidens with their luminescent scales and tails like fish that frolic in the ocean depths and lure many an unwary sailor to his doom.

“The day before, when the Admiral was going to the Rio del Oro, he said he saw three mermaids who came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men. He said that he saw some in Guinea on the coast of Manegueta.”
– From Diary of Christopher Columbus, Jan. 9, 1493

Had Homer and Columbus been aware of the scientific truths which eliminate even the slightest chance of the possibility of an actual mermaid species, would that have altered their fears or observations? As I am not familiar enough with the personalities and character of these men, I cannot say for certain, yet based upon an abundance of sociological and psychological research by others more knowledgeable than I (such as this, that & this one) it is quite likely that one of those men would have clung to their claims for dear life.

I am not talking here about religious faith or about optimistic beliefs in the face of all odds, as those I believe are an entirely different animal altogether and as such, topics for separate discussion. No, what I am getting at here is my being confounded by those who take such extreme positions that are not merely in conflict with every known fact and scrap of evidence, but which are often about events or details that would otherwise have little consequence in the vast tapestry of their lives. What kind of ego consciously chooses to insist, with a poker face, on the veracity of their statements even after they’ve been laid bare before all as vicious twists and lies? Whom do such people expect to believe them and on what basis do they portend others should accept their precarious views as truth? I am completely befuddled by such people, as I can see no purpose to their madness. To me, it is like a drowning man who insists he stands on dry land and thus refuses to take the hand of one who would raise him from the ocean to relative safety. While G-d himself warned against the evil of false-pride over five-thousands years ago and while self-preservation may be considered the most basic instinct of all living creatures going at least as far back as the dinosaurs, the fact is that dinosaurs are extinct. Apparently, this is still a lesson some people never learn.

Me? I prefer to keep life simple. Thus, the tale of beautiful, graceful ladies of the sea keeping our lonely sailors company remains a delightful prelude to sleep.

Free Desktop Picture of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the full-sized image file to your desktop.

Desktop Aquarium with Mermaid -1920x1200

Desktop Aquarium with Mermaid -1920x1200

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Giving Thanks (& Thanksgiving Art)

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There is so much I have to be thankful for this year. Things/situations/blessings that are so significant that words expressing my gratefulness seem so inadequate or, worse, sound trite. While it has been an extremely traumatic year for myself and for my little family, we have made it through both individually and together. It is that bond, our love and support for each other through both good times and bad that makes bad things bearable and all else possible. Those relationships, freedom, and good health are the ONLY things that really matter to me and I’ve been blessed with most. In the words of Jim Steinman, sung by Meatloaf, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ChicagoTurkey5

Chicago Turkey 2

Thanksgiving-Banner

Thanksgiving Banner - 1600px X 391px

Thanks-1-1600x1200 - Desktop Wallpaper

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #1

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #2

Desktop Wallpaper - 1600x1200 - Thanksgiving #2

“Escher Sketch” Redux

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Back around 1986 when I was playing around with my beloved Mac-Plus (that I had just upgraded to have 4 whole MB of ram!) and a 2400 baud modem (think of “Inch Worm” to get an idea of that connection speed), I came across a website that had some monochrome desktop pictures that could be downloaded for free. This was one of my very first encounters with the generosity of the early software and digital graphics pioneers. Not only were they offering the fruit of their labors for free to anyone stumbling upon their site but they would share with you their tricks and techniques, brainstorm with you on a new concept of your own, and introduce you to others with similar interests who may be of help. While I grew up in a family of extremely successful entrepreneurs going back several generations and consider myself to be a deeply ingrained capitalist at heart, my parents also taught me by example, how important it is to share your knowledge and skills as well as the fruits of your labors with those first starting out and hungry to learn and with those who simply have no where else to turn. So while the sentiment of the early freeware-shareware movement wasn’t foreign to me personally, it was a bit of an anomaly among the rest of the Me Generation when, according to the media, “everyone” was out for themselves and “Greed is Good” was their motto. I think this is one of the major reasons that I am proud to be a Geek. If it were not for this generous community, I would never have had the opportunity to learn as much as I have over the years nor have been encouraged to try my hand at skills that others outside of that online community told me were beyond my ability and that it was ridiculous to even try.

So, back to that first website I mentioned. It was one of those hosted by CompuServe(one of the earliest portals for us mere mortals with personal computers and not mainframes) and there was a desktop picture I came across that I thought was the most creative, clever concepts ever that was an Art Parody which merged the work of M.C. Escher and the popular toy by Ohio Art, the Etch-A-Sketch. While it was executed quite expertly, because of the state of the technology I owned at that time (limited to 2-bit graphics) it was incredibly crude compared to what can be done these days with 32 or even 64-bit graphics and millions of colors. Unfortunately, I cannot recall who had originated the concept of the “Escher-Sketch” to give him or her their proper due (if any of you knows, please put it in a comment to this post!). In honor of that anonymous wizard, I’ve created an updated version which makes a perfect backdrop for my Chiquita Series of icons. So without further ado, here’s tonight’s late night snack,..

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Peel & Insert MonkeyMonkeyFldr

Chiq_Family Fldr

BananaBananas

Carmen_bevel

Chiq_WorkGroupJust A Banana Fldr

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Escher Sketch Desktop (Resolution: 1600px X 1200px)

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Escher Sketch Desktop (Resolution: 1920px X 1200px)