A Fad For Fidgety Folks
Posted on 05.05.17 by Danny Glover @ 8:26 pm

Soon after one fad fades, another quickly arises to take its place. And as sure as the whipper-snappers of the day embrace it, the old fogys ridicule it and lament it as the demise of civilization. Fidget spinners are the latest fad to inflame this generational divide:

I don’t know who planted these devices in our country, but it was clearly a malicious act intended to distract us from more important issues, like the latest versions of smartphones and foreign countries itching to invade America.

Many fidget spinners are manufactured in China — I know this because my extremely focused son recently bought a pack of 10 spinners from a Chinese distributor. (I wish I was making that up.) So I suspect China is behind this so-called fad.

At the rate things are going, the Chinese military could overrun the West Coast and our children would be too distracted with their fidget spinners to notice anything, and we adults would be too distracted by our annoyance with fidget spinners to care. There have been times lately, amid the incessant whir of spinners and the occasional yelp of a sleeping dog struck by a dropped spinner, when a Chinese invasion would have been downright refreshing.

A fidget spinner is now on its way to our house from China via Amazon.com, so I guess we’re about to learn what all the fuss is about. What I want to see is a youngster playing with a fidget spinner while scooting through town on Heelys to hunt digital monsters on Pokemon Go.


Filed under: Culture and Family and Technology
Comments: None

The Myth Of The Impala Mama
Posted on 02.18.17 by Danny Glover @ 1:50 pm

Finnish photographer Alison Buttigieg loves cats. The Internet loves cats. But these days Buttigieg hates the Internet because it’s lying about one of her cat photos.

It all started Feb. 11. Someone who knows her work as a wildlife photographer recognized a cheetah picture of hers online. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise  —  Buttigieg published the “remarkable” photo on her blog, Facebook and Instagram last November after it won an international award. But the flood of messages that started pouring in from strangers that day stunned her.

An intellectual property thief had stolen her photo, invented a feel-good back-story for it, and engineered a viral sensation  —  one that wasn’t exactly flattering to Buttigieg. The tall tale portrayed the three cheetahs in the photo as heartless killers, their impala prey as a self-sacrificial mother and Buttigieg as a fragile soul who sank into depression after documenting a feline feast.

“In the beginning I thought it was absolutely hilarious, even the trolling,” she told me in an email interview six days after the hoax spread. “But then it was suddenly really overwhelming when I realized there wasn’t much I could do.”

Buttigieg is an information technology consultant whose passion for animals and for wild places inspired a foray into photography. She has carried a camera on wildlife journeys around the world for 13 years and started taking the photographic aspect of her observations more seriously about four years ago.

“I see my photos as a means to spread awareness about wildlife and the need to protect them and their habitat,” she said.

Buttigieg has shot pictures on three continents  —  Africa, Asia and South America. Her favorite places include Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana and South Africa, and the Massai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. In September 2013, she was near the latter location, at the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, when she saw a family of cheetahs trap a lone impala.

Cats of all kinds fascinate Buttigieg because of their beauty and expressive faces. Cheetahs stand out in the felidae species for their speed, quirks and sounds. The guides at the conservancy knew she loved cheetahs, and a mother and two adolescents were near the camp during her visit.

Read the rest of the story at Medium.


Filed under: Blogging and Human Interest and People and Photography and Social Media and Technology and Travel and Wildlife
Comments: 1 Comment

Airscape Photography Is Ready For Takeoff!
Posted on 01.21.17 by Danny Glover @ 12:28 pm

The image to the right doesn’t look like much, but what it means is that I passed my remote pilot’s test. I’ll soon be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (where I also happen to work as a contract editor and writer) to fly small unmanned aircraft for clients.

I’m in the process of creating a new brand within my communications company, Tabula Rasa Media, which I organized as a limited liability corporation four years ago. This entails registering the offshoot as a DBA, which is short for “doing business as.”

Under the name Airscape Photography, I will offer drone photography and video services to clients who want to capture aerial images of their homes, businesses or properties. I’ll also shoot photos and videos of scenic landscapes and architectural landmarks to sell individual prints.

I plan to take regular road trips to shoot footage, just like I did with my first professional camera three decades ago. My home state of West Virginia will be a regular destination because the scenery doesn’t get any better than in “Almost Heaven.”

Below are recent pictures from my hometown of Paden City and of New Martinsville, including one of the Wetzel County Courthouse:


Filed under: Aviation and Business and Photography and Technology and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

OneFootWandering Through Life On Instagram
Posted on 01.19.17 by Danny Glover @ 6:16 pm

This is one photo of many posted by a young woman who had to have her foot amputated because of cancer. She kept the foot and now takes it with her as she journeys through Instagram life under the moniker “OneFootWander.”

A photo posted by cancer foot (@onefootwander) on

Kristi Loyall explained the idea behind the foot and how it has helped her cope:

It was my cousin’s friend’s idea. They messaged me on Facebook and said they had an idea that I should start an Instagram for my foot. I wanted to do it to make other people and myself laugh.

I was excited when 100 people were following my foot. A lot of people have left positive and kind comments. I didn’t really expect that. It actually made me feel better about my situation. It’s made my outlook on life more positive. I used to be kind of pessimistic.

She has one twisted sense of humor. I like it.


Filed under: Just For Laughs and People and Photography and Social Media and Technology
Comments: None

Katherine Johnson: A W.Va. Success Story
Posted on 01.17.17 by Danny Glover @ 8:13 pm

My wife and I watched the movie “Hidden Figures” over the weekend, and the best part was discovering that one of the three main characters, Katherine Johnson, is a West Virginia native.

Here’s what WVU Magazine had to say in a story about Johnson and other “Barrier Breakers“:

You’ve likely heard about the new biographical drama film ‘Hidden Figures,’ about a team of three black female mathematicians who helped calculate flight trajectories for groundbreaking space projects, including the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

The leader of the group was White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., native Katherine Johnson, also the first black woman to desegregate graduate studies at WVU in 1938. At the time, she was one of three black students, and the only female, to attend graduate studies at WVU following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that required public universities to accept black graduate students if similar courses weren’t available at black colleges.

Although her stay at WVU was brief – she spent just one summer here – Johnson was awarded an honorary degree from the university in 2016 and is widely acclaimed as an American space pioneer. In 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the president. Following a historic career with NASA, Johnson, now 98, lives in Newport News, Va.”

I love learning the stories of famous West Virginians, especially those whose successes shatter the stereotypes of the great Mountain State as the land of hillbillies, rednecks and rubes. You can learn more about Johnson via NASA, which ended its story about her by saying, “Not bad, for a little girl from West Virginia.”

Here’s what President Obama had to say about Johnson when awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, followed by the text of the award citation:

Growing up in West Virginia, Katherine Johnson counted everything. She counted steps. She counted dishes. She counted the distance to the church. By 10 years old, she was in high school. By 18, she had graduated from college with degrees in math and French. As an African-American woman, job options were limited — but she was eventually hired as one of several female mathematicians for the agency that would become NASA.

Katherine calculated the flight path for America’s first mission in space, and the path that put Neil Armstrong on the moon. She was even asked to double-check the computer’s math on John Glenn’s orbit around the Earth. So if you think your job is pressure-packed, hers meant that forgetting to carry the one might send somebody floating off into the Solar System. In her 33 years at NASA, Katherine was a pioneer who broke the barriers of race and gender, showing generations of young people that everyone can excel in math and science, and reach for the stars.

Citation: With her razor-sharp mathematical mind, Katherine G. Johnson helped broaden the scope of space travel, charting new frontiers for humanity’s exploration of space, and creating new possibilities for all humankind. From sending the first American to space to the first moon landing, she played a critical role in many of NASA’s most important milestones. Katherine G. Johnson refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of humanity’s reach.


Filed under: Government and History and Movies and People and Technology and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

Lady Gaga’s Mom Was A WVU Cheerleader
Posted on 02.09.16 by Danny Glover @ 7:41 pm

I knew Lady Gaga had some West Virginia roots — she even gave the state a plug in her song “Born This Way” — but until today I didn’t know her Mom was a West Virginia University cheerleader.

That bit of history popped into my Facebook feed yesterday in the form of a picture of Mother Gaga in WVU cheerleading garb, and Lady Gaga herself confirmed it today by sharing the photo on Instagram. The family resemblance is obvious.


Mommy captain cheerleader at a football game for WVU years ago, so cool to see this floating around Facebook. ❤️🌭 by @ladygaga


Filed under: Music and People and Social Media and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

I’m A Registered Drone Pilot
Posted on 01.14.16 by Danny Glover @ 8:23 pm

As of today, I’m officially a registered drone owner! That means I’ve agreed to fly by these rules:

These rules already existed, and they are reasonable precautions to ensure safe skies. I’m not sure what the big deal is, so I readily registered before Jan. 21 to get a credit for the $5 fee.

(Full disclosure: I’m a writer at the FAA, but I’m speaking only for me.)


Filed under: Aviation and Government and Technology
Comments: 1 Comment

What A Weasel!
Posted on 03.03.15 by Danny Glover @ 8:13 pm

Here’s the hijacking that had everyone on the Internet tweeting today:

The weasel terrorist lost this battle, according to photographer Martin Le-May, who captured the once-in-a-lifetime flight in England. After the bird climbed about 10 feet with the baby attack weasel on its back, he said, the bird landed, ditched the weasel and fled.

No weasels or woodpeckers were harmed in the making of this meme — unlike the incident in West Virginia earlier this year when the roles were flipped and a hawk snagged a squirrel in its beak.


Filed under: Human Interest and Photography and Technology and Wildlife
Comments: None

The Enlightened OECD vs. Redneck America
Posted on 10.07.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:54 pm

Hey, West Virginia is movin’ up in the world. The Mountain State bested not only Mississippi but also Alabama and Arkansas on a list of worst places to live based on factors such as health, education, jobs, technology and the environment.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development assigned the ratings. West Virginia scored a 52.2 out of 100 overall, putting it fourth from the bottom. Courtesy of a redneck-hating writer at The Washington Post, here’s the breakdown by category and on a 1-10 scale:

  • Politically engaged: 1.3 (50th)
  • Health: 1.8 (48th)
  • Safety: 4.5 (22nd place)
  • Job opportunities: 5.8 (45th)
  • High-speed Internet: 6 (43rd)
  • Clean environment: 6.6 (39th, tied with Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri)
  • Earn a living: 7.6 (43rd, tied with New Mexico and South Carolina)
  • Best educated: 8.6 (39th, tied with North Carolina and Tennessee)
  • Finding a home: 10 (one of 15 states with the top score)

That last one is the only bright spot for we hillbillies, but of course, we could have told you our state is a perfect 10 for places to call home. Now ask any of us whether we care what the elitist snobs at the OECD and the Post think of our state.

All of their brains put together are incapable of comprehending the intangible factors that make the redneck region of America, and especially West Virginia, the best place to live.


Filed under: Business and Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: None

There’s Gold In Them There Cans!
Posted on 03.01.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:19 pm

Imagine taking the dog for a walk one day and coming home a millionaire. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s reality for one Northern California couple.

The world only knows them as John and Mary. They understandably want to remain anonymous after finding a stash of gold coins that had been buried on their property in eight cans for decades. The 1,411 coins are worth $28,000 face value, $2 million if melted for the gold and an estimated $10 million in collectible value.

The Los Angeles Times reported these details about the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” the largest ever found in U.S. history:

All dated between 1847 and 1894, 13 of the coins are the finest of their kind. One “miraculous coin,” an 1866 $20 piece made in San Francisco and missing “In God We Trust,” could bring $1 million on its own, Hall said.

When the motto was added to the coin in 1866, some were still minted without the phrase, he said. Had the couple attempted to clean the delicate surface of the piece, they could have reduced the value to $7,000 or $8,000 in under a minute, said David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin’s, who evaluated the hoard.

The last big find was uncovered in 1985 in Jackson, Tenn. It had a face value of $4,500 and was eventually sold for around $1 million.

When I heard the story on the news one morning this week, I told our daughter to go get our son and tell him to take the dog for a walk. You never know what you might find!

The story also got me excited about using my metal detector again. My wife bought it for me for Christmas in 2012 and gave me some accessory equipment this past Christmas. I’ve only used it once on my father’s property in West Virginia, and the only coin I found was a wheat penny from the 1940s. (I also found an old, rusted pocket knife and other metallic odds and ends.)

But we’ve only just begun. We have more than 30 acres to search. National Geographic’s coverage of the Saddle Ridge Hoard says there are few hoards of gold coins in the United States.

Here’s a quote from Douglas Mudd, the director and curator of the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum: “You get a lot of hoards in Europe — coins buried for hundreds or thousands of years, but they’re less common in the U.S. Our history isn’t that long, and for most of the time we’ve had banks, so people have tended to put their money there. … Sixty, 70, 200 coins — yes. Fourteen-hundred? That’s exceptional.”

But that’s OK. I’d be happy to find a few random silver coins and maybe an Indian arrowhead or two. It’s all about the hunt to us diggers. And as National Geographic says, “People who sweep metal detectors over fields as a hobby, and backyard dog walkers casually kicking up a bit of dirt, can always hope for a lucky strike.”


Filed under: Coin Collecting and History and Human Interest and News & Politics and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: None

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