Saturday, January 16, 2021

I Seem to Annoy Some Folks, Imagine!

OK, Facebook is a sewer of misinformation and faux science, and folks who repost the fauxhood du jour without a lot of critical thinking.

This morning I came upon a local "private" group who had sent out a load of anti-windmill information with "unanswered questions" for any "township officials" considering adding this variety of green energy.

It ended with, "This isn't Texas and you aren't in Kansas!"

I felt it my obligation to respond, with all the sincere sobriety the posting deserved:


Plop one - two! - in my back yard RIGHT NOW. Just think of all the grocery money I'll save with all those free dead birds. I love flicker! It reminds me of television, and who doesn't love the secret messages sent in the flicker of televisions (it must be true! I heard it on Coast to Coast last night!) And every township official, each a science-based individuals, has lots of money for third party sound testing, and my, none of those third-party reviews would ever, ever, ever have an agenda. And decibel levels? Whoa, think of the money I can save on sleepytime sound machines! Yep, this isn't Tahiti, but I can sure feel the Guam!!!  

Somebody replied, but I don't think he understood my joking:

Jim Middleton I think you need a little bit more research on this subject. They have thousands over on the other side of the state and they not complaining about the royalty check every month.

So I felt it necessary to expound:

Yes, I love to be treated like royalty! And have extra poultry and enough electricity to run my 21 inch Zenith Chromacolor ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. Bring on the windmills! Love 'em love 'em love 'em! Proof we're in the 21st century!

And, after a moment's thought, wrote another response:

And then our little town could have Don Quixote festivals! Tilting at windmills! Who can tilt the furthest? Or is it farthest? Or is it farthing? How many leaks to a farthing? Or is that a furlong? How long is my dog's fur in a headwind? And her tailwind redefines downwind. It's all gravity based. Not gravy based, although my dog LOVES gravy. Nom nom nom nom she says. You may quote me. (How many quotes to a gallon, by the way....never can keep that conversion straight, but that goes down the road of conversion therapy, and that's another can of words.)

I hit "enter" only to find that the original article had been deleted by the first poster.  And dawgunnit, I was on a roll....  

Well, it was fun while it lasted!  

Oh that internet!

Friday, January 15, 2021

More mini-movies from the 2000s - Bear Country

 All this footage from the past 20 years, but available technology then didn't permit any affordable editing.  So here are some trimmings from tapes digitized before fading completely....

Bear Country (2001) - South Dakota

(cc) 2021 Jim Middleton, Animating Apothecary
(Music: "The Teddy Bear's Picnic," from a 1905 Edison recording)

Monday, January 11, 2021

Everett J. Nienhouse, 1936-2020

Sometimes news travels far too slowly - this notice is from the Big Rapids Pioneer, dated January 7, 2021:

CARLSBAD, CA -- Everett James Nienhouse, 84, of Carlsbad, CA, passed away peacefully on Nov. 17, 2020.

Ev was born in Oak Park, IL, the son of Edward and Gladys Nienhouse. He attended Oak Park High School where he was a national champion hurdler. He graduated from Hope College with B.S in Chemistry, and earned an M.S. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo.

Ev participated in the Hope Vienna Summer School abroad program in 1956 and counted it as one of the fine experiences of his life.

He was married to the late Elaine Vanderbrug for 33 years. They had two children, Eric and Jonathan.

Ev taught at Ferris State University for 30 years and took advantage of numerous sabbatical leave opportunities which took him to the University of Groningen (Neth.) to UNC (Chapel Hill), the SE MO Crime Lab (Cape Girardeau), Dartmouth (Hanover), Montana State (Bozeman) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

During his tenure at Ferris State University, he was the youngest faculty member to be promoted to full professor in Ferris State's history. He received multiple other honors including being named Distinguished Professor of the Year by his Ferris State colleagues in 1975 and Professor of the Year by Ferris State students in 1980; the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State College and University Award for excellence in teaching, research and scholarly activities in 1984; and elevation to Distinguished Merit Professor in 1992.

In 2012, Hope College awarded him the Distinguished Alumni of the Year for his significant impact as an educator. His passion for teaching organic chemistry contributed to countless of his students' academic successes and made a difference in the lives of over 4000 students while serving at a variety of schools.

He lost his late wife to cancer in early 1998. Later, while attending his 40th college reunion, he met his lovely wife Erika who also participated in the Vienna Summer School Program in 1956. A reunion romance ensued which magically culminated in their marriage in October of 1999.

They lived a "two coast" life, enjoying lovely Carlsbad California winters and cool Northwestern Michigan summers at his beloved Farm House property. Ev and Erika were married for 21 years and enjoyed many adventures together.

Ev's Dutch background included a kind of mysticism that helped to explain his deep religious faith. He loved sacred choral music, researching the backgrounds of writers and composers of the Great Hymns of the Faith, and playing interesting piano arrangements of these hymns.

He also enjoyed researching topics from the History of the Navajo Code Talkers to the Use of Poisonings in Contemporary Detective Fiction.

His love of life stemmed in large part from his close brush with death at age 39 which led to implantation of a nuclear powered heart pacemaker, his being one of very few in the world. He felt that each day was a gift from God and lived it to its fullest, never shying away from difficult tasks.

He will be remembered by many as a very special and unusual friend.

Ev is survived by his wife, Erika; and his two sons, Jon and Eric.

He was an enthusiastic, multi-talented and good man. We will miss him.

A memorial service is planned for Summer 2021 in Ellsworth, MI. For more information see and search for "Everett Nienhouse".

Charitable donations may be made to the "Everett Nienhouse Endowed Scholarship" at Rehoboth Christian School, Rehoboth, New Mexico.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Middleton Gardens, Clips from 2002

Edit in 2021, some pup named Toscanini conducting Respighi in 1917 for the background.  Narration after one too many hot mint juleps.

(cc) 2021, The Animating Apothecary

Sunday, December 27, 2020

2021 Greeting for 2021

 For ASIFA International, hoping for a better 2021

(cc) 2020 The Animating Apothecary

New Year 2021 Greeting Experiments

A test series to see what Vegas can do with masks and assembling rotoscoped images...

And digging back to 1978 for a background:

Christmas 2020


Sparrow Greeting as a GIF

Because Atticus demands attention, too

And for the video inclined, the following distractions are offered:

Friday, November 27, 2020

Unexpected Version of an Old Classic

 Will see if this is permitted on the blog - it isn't public domain by a long shot, but a 1940 version of a very familiar song performed by an unexpected artist.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Ed Counts, Animator

We lose track of some folks, and then discover the lost track will be forever derailed. I met Ed Counts at an animation retreat in 1998 where we swapped techniques and tapes. We had some nice conversations after that about his experience getting Stephen Webber as a composer for his (then) latest project, the mysterious recording process at a remote Skywalker Sound studio, how he aged his print - and how exhausted his dot matrix printer *and* his daughter as his enlisted colorist. The result was "Zoetrobics," and until I can find my VHS copy of his work (Joey Learns to Fly, some Sesame Street clips), this youtube link will have to suffice.
I discovered today that Ed apparently passed away in 2009, at the age of 63. He had been instructing animation courses at Western Kentucky University. Here is "Zoetrobics," from 1998:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Another 1979 revisit - experimenting with color balance filters and PD music

Two minutes of your life you'll never get back:

Vegas Studio V15 (anything after that is a hard drive suck!) and music from an Edison diamond disc from 1924.  Don't snore too loudly, you'll wake the neighbors....

Friday, August 21, 2020

Another GIF test...

...eventually, these will be strung together into an incoherent narrative... it's all the rage these days... 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

1971 - Trying to Merge Chaucer and Marx

I meant well.  2000 drawings later, still didn't know what it meant.  But this bit was worth saving, IMHO.
Goodbye, Mr. Marx.  I feel fortunate to have stomped on the same planet as you for 22 years.