Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Mentor

A Text Message Received:  Monday, November 28, 2011 at 4:45pm

Sorry I've been distant lately Carl. I've been very busy between work, school and Alicia, but I wanted to say hi and let you know that I've accomplished the first section of my goals that you made me. I've got a whole lot of Spanish and Guitar ahead of me, but I practice in the meanwhile. I don't know that I would have ever gotten my head out of my ass enough to do that, let alone think of those as potential things for me to do and act accordingly. You are the first person in my life that has taught me how to make impossible dreams into achievable goals and then into my life. When people ask me how my day is: "I'm living the dream" - without sarcasm. For that, I thank you. I still read my list every day, and every day my world gets a little clearer. You're a great mentor and a greater friend. Please know that I don't take that for granted. I hope you are well, as well as the dogs and the cacti. I'd like to catch up with you soon. Let me know if you're down.
Thanks again Carl, for everything.
Michael Lee Melton

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Carbon Conundrum

I packed the last of my things with an adventurous enthusiasm.
In my last phone call before leaving, my friend Jim told me to
find three empty seats on the plane from Miami, to lie down and
sleep on the long flight South. With seventeen hours of flying ahead of
me, I though it good advice.

What I anticipated would be a reasonably carefree excursion would
begin with a traveler’s worst nightmare - Gluttony.  As my seat row was
finally called, I made my way through the line at the gate.
Standing not ten feet ahead of me in line was an extremely
huge girl. As I watched her from behind, I said to myself,
"Please God, don’t let her sit next to me."

As insensitive as it sounded at the time, even to me, I just
didn’t want to start the worst part of my trip, trapped in my
seat, pressed against the sultry flesh of a squishy human being.
Sure enough, by the time I found my way aboard the plane, she’d
already pulled up the seat divider between our two seats and
oozed a good half-way into my prepaid space. Be "Zen," I thought
to myself, as I climbed over toward my seat.

What an obstacle I thought, should there actually be an
emergency. We’re all going to die because the emergency exits
over the wings were plugged up by a passenger. She couldn’t fit
down the aisle without having to straddle and waddle at unusual
side angles as she walked.

For the first time in my life I was inspired to bitch to the
airline and insist that she pay for the part of my seat that she
was occupying. When I looked over at her, I could tell
immediately that she felt horrible, was completely
self-conscious, and that if I said anything at all, not only
would I be cruel and insensitive, but she’d probably start crying
or something and make the whole thing that much worse.
I ordered a Wild Turkey instead, turned the air toward my face,
and endured the flight out of Austin.

As I sat in the Miami Airport waiting for the last long leg
south, the terminal was filled with Bolivian businessmen and
travelers, laden with bags and boxes and trinkets of all kinds.
Three empty seats to lie down on and sleep, Jim had said. That
would be a tall order. When the cabin door closed, I would be the
last and the only gringo to move, destined to remain in my
assigned seat for the next ten hours.

It was an all night flight from Miami to La Paz. At sunrise the
next morning, I would land at the world’s highest airport and on
the longest commercial runway. Despite the hours, I could find no comfort in
sleeping. I leaned quietly against the cabin window, staring out
occasionally at the complete darkness. Not even a moon would
bless the sky on the long and lonely flight. We flew across the
Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, across the coastline of Columbia,
then into the descending Amazon Basin of Peru and Brazil and not
once did I see a light on the ground.

After flying for hours in the darkness, and just as I began to
drift to sleep, I was startled by a bright light shining from
beneath the plane onto the ceiling above the cabin. The entire
cabin glowed with the warm and familiar light as if from a city
below. With hours still to go to La Paz, I figured we were over
some eastern Peruvian City. When I looked down out of the window,
I was surprised to once again find no sign of civilization, or at
least as I knew it.

The light was shining from a vast forest fire, blazing in the jungle.
Wealthy ranchers in want of barren grazing land were burning
thousands of acres of forest. For miles I could make out huge
fires that lit up the sky. I was nearly six miles up in the air
and the sky was as bright as daylight from the fires below.
My God, I though. They really are burning the forests. I was
looking down upon a sign, a sign of Armageddon, and the
Revelations were playing out before my very eyes.

On November 7, we will all know who has been chosen to lead our
nation as well as the world toward our human destiny. Throughout
the presidential race and in the continuing debate, we have
muddled through myriad opinions about abortion, about the role
and consequences of religious fundamentalism in government, about
responsibility or the lack thereof, morals, ethics, political
reform, the influence of big business in government, healthcare,
partisan and bipartisan politics.

We have heard varied opinions about the state of and plan for
education, social security, our national security and defense
readiness, the booming economy, the budget windfall, and a number
of other important issues that will affect all of us in the years
to come. What we have not heard from the leaders of the western
world is how "we" will lead and manage the consequences of
overpopulation and pollution, the second exacerbated by the
first, the two universal issues that will affect all of mankind

Each of these issues is important. A moral and ethical society
that is employed and productive, reasonably educated, that has
purpose and direction, which, supported by a sound economy
creates stability, or an inherent lack of serious conflict. If
the United States is economically stable, so too, is the rest of
the world in general. People everywhere can live their lives
without much worry or fear that they won’t eat, have a place to
live or be able to raise and support their families.

This is, in part our government’s role, to keep things stable and
its people happy. However, with every new human being - and we
add them by the millions - we place a greater demand upon the
natural order and harmony of our ever-shrinking planet.
Population control and environmental responsibility and
management are issues that are not just important, they are
critically important.

The success of our democracy and free market economy is
completely dependent upon the availability and exploitation of
cheap fossil fuels, the Earth’s natural resources and economic
growth. To remain dominant as a world leader and economic
powerhouse, we must seek out new markets throughout the world and
take every advantage of the world’s economic opportunities. In
doing so, so to do we distribute our culture and values.
There is little escaping exposure to American culture and quality
of life anywhere in the world today. Our standard for and
exportation of a "quality of life" is based upon our naïve
understanding of our own quality of life, the most opulent,
resource and opportunity laden society ever.

As we expand into places yet untouched by development, we create
therein opportunity for other populations. With their newfound
wealth, there is always a corresponding increase in the quality
of life, facilitating better education, healthcare, housing and
living conditions of all kinds. An increase in the quality of
life increases both the spans of life and population in general.
As larger and larger populations are sustained, there is a
corresponding increase in the demand for goods, services and
natural resources.

Increases in the demand for all of these things, sustaining an
ever-increasing human population, keeps people employed and the
economy robust and most serious conflicts limited to religious
ideological dogma. The tragedy of this thinking and shortsighted
practice, unabridged by responsible leadership and universally
applied resource management, is the assurance of our own

There is little denial and mounting scientific evidence that our
planet is out of balance. Not caused by the natural ebb and flow
of "cycles" in weather, water and ice, or of the sun, but caused
solely by the influence of man and his ever increasing disposal
of green house gasses into the atmosphere, global warming is no
longer a debate. Everything about our economy is dependent upon
the exploitation of the land, trees, oil, minerals, and natural

The cast off of almost everything we do is Carbon Dioxide.
Billions of tons of carbon, otherwise trapped in the forests, and
underground reservoirs of coal, oil and gas, we expel as the
byproduct of our engineering and industrial efficiency. Radiating
less of the sun’s heat to the cold of space, Carbon Dioxide and a
few other well-known hydrocarbons warm our world. This is not to
mention the contribution of toxic and other dangerous chemicals
and substances to the land, sea and air, endangering life or
depleting the Earth’s protective ozone layer
We have already witnessed dramatic changes in the Earth’s
atmospheric and ocean temperatures, and as a result, changes in
moderate and reasonably predictable weather patterns. Glaciers
all over the world are receding at unprecedented rates. We now
know that in the years to come, our current behavior will alter
both the life and the stability of our planet in ever more
significant, dramatic and perhaps permanent ways.

Despite the emerging truth, it is not that surprising to find
that few Americans consider the management of population or of
the environment as critically important, pressing issues. Most
citizens are concerned more about their economic welfare, their
security, and that their retirement savings grow exponentially
over the years. Most citizens - and most American leaders - look

for short-term gratification and solutions with little regard for
the long-term consequences. And to make matters worse, in America,
our ideas are motivated not by information or by intellectual contemplation. Our government is motivated almost entirely by money and the desperate pursuit of more of it. No one is there to pay for the ideas that the world is finite, population has a limit and that global warming and pollution may have devastating consequences to all life on Earth.

All people, particularly the young, are aware and can sense that
we are living on borrowed time. The future of our planet looms in
question. A time will come when we must all face the consequences
of our conduct.

The preservation of the world environment and the balance of
nature are issues that cannot be ignored. It is however a matter
of such proportion that it cannot be managed by mere individuals
alone. Governments and responsible government leaders are the only remaining
forces with the power and influence to change the conscience of
the people and endeavor what must be done for the good of all mankind.
Even if we have no choice but to cling to the
relentless pursuit of wealth for our future, concocting economic
and tax incentive measures for citizens and corporations to
reforest their land, to recycle, to develop and utilize
environmentally conscious processes, transportation, and energies, or for
families to bear fewer children is no more difficult than any other legislative
government action. What makes them different is that these are issues that must
transcend politics, religion and selfish gluttony. The choice is completely ours.

The Book of Revelations predicts the demise of man. In the end,
the cause will not have been his sins or the wrath of God. Man will
cause his own undoing, wrought from both ignorance and greed. The
tragedy that will live throughout time in the heavens will have
been that, by the grace of God born into the Garden of Eden, Man
was given the mind and the body to save the World, but he didn’t.

Green Guy Recycling

Monday, November 14, 2011


Each day the next is surely towing, and time too quick is past us flowing.
Each day is shorter, shorter growing; no sign at all that time is slowing.

We know from tests of speeding that, Einstein was talking through his hat,
The scale of time but faster goes, for fact it cannot be it slows.

Perchance the Friesians did not know just how a clock is supposed to go.
And when they put their clocks in space, they set them at too fast a pace.

When large it is the rate of v, then small becomes the pace of t
Perhaps therein the answer lies, a piece that always with you flies.

For sake of theory must it be and faiths in science guarantee,
At the speed of light the time will still, and then will pass just as you will.

Carl H. Deal  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Give Your Best To Life Each Day

When you live with faith in others
Then you learn to trust and care
When you live with generosity
Or your instinct is to share
When you live with warmth and kindness
Then that kindness warms your heart
And it makes each day a sunny day
Right from the very start

When you live with peace and patience
Then you somehow find the way
Of turning frowns and troubles
Into happy hours each day
When you live with understanding
And you try to see the good
Then you never lose the hope you have
In lasting brotherhood

When you live with truth and honor
You have real security
For you know that you’re respected
And that you’ve a right to be
You can make the world a brighter place
And your own life happier, too
If you live with all these good things
For life gives them back to you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Old Main

The LXE Car

These are the things I did this week to the LXE Car. My mom asked where I learned to do all this stuff. I said, your husband taught me these things doing what he did. I guess so, she says. I am amazing, none the less. 

Spark plugs
Oil Filter
Oil Sending Unit
Timing belt
Timing Tensioner
Serpentine Belt
AC Freon
Front and Rear Brakes
Water Pump
Transmission Filter
Transmission Fluid,
Left Rear Brake Light
Left front headlight
Cam Shaft Seal
Main Seal
Radiator Fluid
Radiator Thermostat
Radiator Cap

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Lotto

Last night as I hastily cleaned my house in preparation of a Halloween Party, I was inspired to get a large diet Coke. I stopped at Lowe's and picked up two shower heads and some tile grout - went to Sac n Pac and poured the big drink. And at the register, the enticingly fronted TV screen said "Jackpot $19 Million". Crap - OK, so I bought five quick picks - three for the "Powerball" and two for the "Texas Lotto". This morning, after getting some coffee and after painting my kitchen cabinets, I checked my numbers. WOW......I did not get a single number - not one. And since that was my objective, I WIN! In fact, it seems that the odds were with me last night beneath the crescent moon.

But really, to put these things in perspective, the odds of drawing any winning sequence is about one in 195,249,054. Even though the odds of flipping heads on a quarter is one in two, I don't win that one very much either. And check out this cool fact - with 400,000,000 tickets in play, the probability that one winning combination exists is 0.0132%. And if you should win a grand prize, 38% goes to taxes. Given all of the prize options, the probability exists that you will get a return of 0.1358 cents per dollar invested. But then, of course, you could always never win for the odds of that are exactly the same - and that would just be the statistical luck of the draw. 

Odds that a person between the age of 18 and 29 does NOT read a newspaper regularly: 3 to 1
Odds that an American adult does not want to live to age 120 under any circumstances: 3 to 2
Odds of injury from fireworks: 19,556 to 1
Odds of injury from shaving: 6,585 to 1
Odds of injury from using a chain saw: 4,464 to 1
Odds of injury from mowing the lawn: 3,623 to 1
Odds of fatally slipping in bath or shower: 2,232 to 1
Odds of drowning in a bathtub: 685,000 to 1
Odds of being killed on a 5-mile bus trip: 500,000,000 to 1
Odds of being killed sometime in the next year in any sort of transportation accident: 77 to 1
Odds of being killed in any sort of non-transportation accident: 69 to 1
Odds of being struck by lightning: 576,000 to 1
Odds of being killed by lightning: 2,320,000 to 1
Odds of being murdered: 18,000 to 1
Odds of getting away with murder: 2 to 1
Odds of being the victim of serious crime in your lifetime: 20 to 1
Odds of dating a supermodel: 88,000 to 1
Odds of being considered possessed by Satan: 7,000 to 1
Odds that a first marriage will survive without separation or divorce for 15 years: 1.3 to 1
Odds that a celebrity marriage will last a lifetime: 3 to 1
Odds of getting hemorrhoids: 25 to 1
Odds of being born a twin in North America: 90 to 1
Odds of being on plane with a drunken pilot: 117 to 1
Odds of being audited by the IRS: 175 to 1
Odds of having your identity stolen: 200 to 1
Odds of dating a millionaire: 215 to 1
Odds of dating a supermodel: 88,000 to 1
Odds of writing a New York Times best seller: 220 to 1
Odds of finding out your child is a genius: 250 to 1
Odds of catching a ball at a major league ballgame: 563 to 1
Odds of becoming a pro athlete: 22,000 to 1

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Little "Deal"

Affordable Neon

In my museum like house, I possess and display a uniquely cool neon sign, "Carl Deal Photography", which in bright red both lights my house as if a Bordello or "Amsterdam Alley", and can also been seen in the living room from the street. It is both art and ad I suppose. Alas, this past week, enough molecules of NEON escaped from the tube to compromise the circuit of the sign. And so I was forced to call the Doctor - the King of Neon himself, Ray Lynch - proprietor of "Affordable Neon." Ray by the way happens to be one among a small clan of the most interesting people in the World - but then that's another story. Yesterday morning long before the sun crested the horizon I transported my little "Deal" to downtown San Antonio. As a cursive glass sign, it is built into four parts - each requiring the stability to maintain the electric plasma arc circuit through all four pieces.

Ray was waiting at the warehouse door - the last hot day of the year - smoking a cigarette and talking on the phone. Little "Deal" went inside and waited on the workbench. "Ahhhh" he says, making an analytical observation that it was not in fact the demise of Neon in the tube but perchance a bit of dust and detritus which over time vibrated its way to an electrode - cooking like spilt milk on a stove. A quick fix he says.

With a small file he breaks off each blackened electrode and burns a new one on. Not so easy it turns out - these strange twists and turns only a "Deal" can make - even a misadventure or two. But in the end, my little "Deal" was whole again - absent a charge of gas. For me, science really is a cool thing and so I could not be a very good Republican - ignoring all the those meaningful fantastic facts. And so the process for sustaining a plasma arc inside of a glass tube really is the shiznit. And I'm not a science dork and so I was able to keep pace with the process intellectually - asking some good questions. I thought of course that just filling the tube with neon was adequate. It turns out that not only must you burn the tube clean with blazing voltage, but the neon presence must be far below atmospheric pressure.

Ray attached my "little "Deal" to a transformer, the likes of which you might find on a telephone pole. He'd attached small flakes of Mica in places the forthcoming charge might lurch out through the glass. Not only is it a big charge, but it seems it carries a hefty magnetic field as well - skewing electronic devices like expensive Canon cameras and Android phones - and so I stood back.

With a normal Oxygen and Nitrogen content, the tube glowed a bright green white light. I imagined this was not unlike the red and green of an Aurora but at a much higher energy. The point of course was to cook the insides out of the glass in anticipation of it being evacuated of atmoshere. Attached to a vacuum, it was soon void of gas. With a small charge of Neon, the tube was melted shut - glowing again in its familiar red.

It was still morning in Downtown San Antonio, and along the river walk there was the most magnificent aroma of onion, grilled chorizo, pepper - and breakfast taco in the air. After a long drive home, a few wire twists - the little "Deal" was back home.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

George Gries Photography

This blog is nearly always dedicated to my own writing and photography. Yesterday afternoon my friend George Gries drove up upon a chance - a rare, rare chance to photograph a mountain lion in the wild. He's lived on his ranch for decades and seen signs of a lion's range - and even hunted a few back in the day with a team of tracking dogs. George would much rather see one living and in the wild now as he no longer has to tend to his sheep. This image - one of six or seven - is a great find. George said it was a male and both huge and healthy.

Carl Deal - Halloween

Our test image of "Hydropyrotechnics" for the Halloween Party Invite. Mastered in three shots whilst disassembling an old mortar shell for powder. Iso 100, 2 seconds, F-11.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dilemma

It's a Sunday and a pleasant cool morning. Alas, I have arrived at a point in life where sleeping much past 6:30 is a chore - but I do get to witness the birth of the day and so it's OK. After eating a bit of left over calzone and running a load of laundry, I headed out for a cup of brew at the Wake the Dead coffee shop. As I meandered back home, I saw this guy out in his cactus garden across from the Sac n Pac there at Sarah Dr and so I stopped to chat with him. He complained about his hoarse voice and allergies. I complimented his garden and then.rolled slowly down Ranch Road 12 toward home along the long iron fence of the cemetery. At the entrance there on the side of the road was a beautiful red shouldered hawk sitting on the railing seemingly unconcerned by my slow trek by. I turned in to see if I could get a closer look. Holy Crap - there was a whole show underway. A screech owl was on the ground with his wings outstretched guarding what looking like a small squirrel. The hawk was watching the owl - swooping off the railing toward the owl and then flapping furiously up to a nearby branch - the own growling and curling his wings around his head like a big fan. Mocking birds - the name - and there were about ten of them hooting and hollering, jumping around while heckling the entire affair. And here I was with no camera - 30 feet away from all of this and no camera. Dammit - I was torn. Should I sit here quietly and watch this fantastic spectacle play out and put it to my memory, or should I sneak home and back - a seven minute trip and capture the expressions on their faces for posterity's sake? It's like being the fourth guy in line at the register during an armed robbery and having left your Sig out in the car next to the driver's seat. You feel a little bit anxious, a little bit dumb, a little bit "shoulda woulda coulda". And then, from up the hill came a long line of bicyclers - all dressed to the nines with shiny helmets - fifteen or eighteen of them I think - all peddling up a storm. You could hear that high pitched race bike sound as they passed - almost a whistle. And back lit by the sun, long shadows ahead of the glistening racers - even the hawk looked up as they passed. And there it was - the opportunity to make the break. The owl flapped up off the ground and sailed away with squirrel in foot - one mocking bird chattering all the way - and it was over. The hawk was caught watching the racing team. He sat around for a bit longer, and then sailed across the street to the phone line. I took a sip from my coffee and went on home. Hmmm...I said, good thing it wasn't the hold up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Alex came by today complaining that he couldn't turn his head, couldn't sleep and was "sick as fuck". When I checked his lyphnodes, he winced in pain. And so with flashlight and spoon and glasses, I looked inside. Holy Crap!! - a gross swollen adenoid with gewey pustules. Where have you had your mouth I said. He smiled...
Cephalexin for ten days little Chav - that should knock out whatever you have. I could not resist the opportunity to practice marco-photography.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Economy

I have just returned from a trip to West Texas - far West Texas. My purpose in going there was two pronged. "Tex" left his car here in San Marcos for repairs and I drove it out to him in Marfa. It's a long drive out there - about seven hours or so. Even though the speed limit on I-10 is 80, it can tire you out and makes for a long day. I had my camera with me too, and I seldom go anywhere without my camera.

That part of Texas is the high desert - about a mile high - with magnificent light and big sky. It's no wonder that the small town of Marfa has attracted an odd and eclectic set of visitors and/or transient residents who live among the lesser population of cowboys and ranch hands and oil service folks and poorer Hispanics. And there is the Border Patrol people too. But times are hard in this country right now and in this distant patch of grass and trees and adobe houses, there is a lull there too. Although I could easily imagine living in a place like Marfa in a small warehouse with a loft and garage, wood shop and gallery space, I can see its tattered edges. Life is going on there - like it is everywhere - but the margins are thin. In far West Texas people are just barely getting along. And as far away as they are from everywhere else, there isn't much rescue in store for them either.

There is the drought, which seems to be the aggravated circumstance to it all. Trees have died, lawns are dry, and ranchers have sold off a good bit of their livestock. But people just aren't going places like they used to, and they aren't spending a lot of their money either. Every place I went to spend the little bit of money I had, conversations were afoot about who was having a hard time, who was just breaking even, and who was going to lose their business. In Washington of course, there is the jobs bill, and the angry republicans, and so little constructive, intellectually based, long term thinking underway that any rescue is a long way off. I suppose that our system facilitates a culture of short term thinking and short term gratification for those whose grasp on power is at risk every four years. How possibly, when your objective is to stay in office - and absent the high moral sense of duty and honor these offices call for, can one think of anything that is not going to benefit you within that term. How sad that the real World doesn't work that way. It's no wonder that the loudest voices in Washington are the ones who walk in there with the deepest pockets.

As long as our Domestic multi-national corporations are allegiant to themselves and not to the country from which they were born, and Wall Street, banks and insurance companies, energy producers and automobile manufacturers are allegiant only to their stock holders, and cities and counties and states continue to pursue their economic objectives by raising funds by ever more imaginative means - bleeding the turnip and trekking forth into debt on the promise of future growth, and when we just print more money on the printing press to pay the light bill, and when across the land the stock holder has the power and the absence for foresight to plunder the customer, we are all sadly doomed and "Camelot" will fall into rusted ruins.