December 02, 2013

Christmas Present

By Daryl L. Hunter (originally published in 2005)

Growing up as a child in America, as all children, I loved the Christmas season, the Christmas tree, lights, lawn decorations, candy, mistletoe, cookies, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and most of all presents, it was a magical time of year.

It sure was a surprise at age 12 when I found out that Christ was the root word in Christmas, my secular home had never pointed out the connection. Today I remain more secular than anything else and I question myself, why do I get so flipping angry when ACLU types are trying to remove all vestiges of Christmas from the public square when I am not religious.

The answer must be, the homogenization of Christmas is just another symptom of the dismemberment of traditional American Culture, another victim of the Culture War, call me old fashioned but I liked the America of Christmas past, the time of the singular Scrooge. Today Christmas to me is a lot less about presents and more about turkey, tom and jerrys with friends, family and tradition, but embarrassingly with only a perfunctory explanation and observation of the meaning of Christmas to the kids.

When Christmas retailers insult the patrons of their biggest season by removing the Christmas greeting it makes me want to not buy, when I was told that a member of the Start Bus Board forbade the drivers from displaying the Merry Christmas programmed into their electric signs I was outraged, When Christmas trees became holliday trees I was apoplectic.

I have a hunch that the ACLU and their minions are offending more than just their sworn enemies, the Christian right. If their goal is "not to offend" it is a fool's errand as it is an impossible task because to accommodate the 15% of Americans who are not Christian you have a remaining 85% at risk of being offended as an unintended consequence. If their goal is to offend, they have aspired to a goal they have a gift for achieving.

My hope is my 8 and 11 year olds find the magic in Christmas that I had the privilege to enjoy as a child; I hope it is still possible in this increasingly divisive and hostile social climate. As for me and many others I suppose, I have had a giant intangible stolen from me by the secular leftists of the ACLU and their Christophobe allies and my Christmas's will never be the same.

All the people of the western world are going to have a Christmas on 12-25 of every year, most will have a day off from work whether they celebrate Christmas or not. It stands to reason that a Muslim, Jew or atheist would celebrate an extra day off so merry Christmas to you all.
I originally wrote this in 2005 for a Jackson Hole newspaper "Planet Jackson Hole" but it is a Christmas tradition of mine to repost it every year here on my blog.
Maybe with some additions ~

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Now for some pleasant Merry Christmas mood - watch wonderful video below

Introduction To Photography

Photography according to me

You can see my photography at

and you can hire my for a photo tour here =

"Photography according to me" I boiled down what I believe is the essence of basic photography into a 25-minute presentation which logically walks you through the photographic process from exposure to post processing.

In this “Powerpoint Presentation” converted to video I talk about Landscape Photography, Lifestyle Photography, and Wildlife photography and how to go about it – briefly!

I introduce the fundamentals of composition, exposure, photo library organization and post processing. Why should we shot in RAW? Why should we shoot video?

When I lead photography tours and workshops I get the same questions repeatedly, so here I try to answer them with additional helpful suggestions.

November 04, 2013

The Canadian Rockies where superlatives of grandeur become mute

Clearing storm, Peyto Lake, Banff National Park (© Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture"/Daryl L. Hunter)

Autumn along the Icefield Parkway in Banff National Park (© Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture/Daryl L. Hunter)The Canadian Rockies where superlatives of grandeur become mute in a landscape abounding with peaks competing to dominate the sky, psychedelic lakes that contend for the coolest colors of the light spectrum and rivers that appear to be a pleasing, yet reality defying mistakes in Photoshop.

Being one of the most photogenic landscapes on earth, we have all seen photos of its break away stars, iconic landscapes like Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, and Maligne Lake, but there is so much more. No matter which direction you go, it as if you had the Colorado’s San Juan Range on one side of the road, Idaho’s Sawtooth Range on the other and California’s  Sierra Nevada around the bend. All surging with prodigious streams and waterfalls spilling out of the glaciers like the Chugach Range of Alaska. Of course, all the water feeds the panoply of the colorful lakes that make the place famous.
Moraine Lake , Banff National Park (© Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture"/Daryl L. Hunter)

I have had the pleasure of visiting Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Yoho National Park, and Waterton National Park, and they have wet my appetite to see more. Kootenay National and British Columbia’s Glacier National Park I’m sure are as good as the rest, hosting their own endless procession of pyramid-shaped peaks hemming in broad alpine valleys and glacier feed lakes
I have written how, where I live, close to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone has an embarrassment of riches, but I’m afraid the Canadian Rockies has hoarded more that its share of wilderness splendor relegating northwest Wyoming a notch or two down on the “embarrassment of riches scale, and I wish the Canadian Rockies weren’t so far away.

My Canadian Rockies Gallery - click through to purchase print or license photo

Canadian Rockies - Images by Daryl Hunter

September 25, 2013

Yellowstone Dinner Party - grizzlies and wolves

A grizzly bear boar, grizzly bear sow, her three cubs dine on the bounty of Yellowstone with a pack of wolves in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park

April 23, 2013

Grizzly 610 and cubs emerge from hibernation

April 8, 2013, famous Grizzly sow 610 emerged from her den with three fat, happy and rambunctious cubs. Below are the spring photo sessions with the Grizzlies. To the delight of many grizzly 610 one of 399’s cubs from her 2006 crop of cubs,  Grizzly 610 continues to be emulating her mother as she seems to be comfortable near park roads and relaxed with yet attentive with her cubs. She seems comfortable with people and vehicles as is 399 as she straddles her between wilderness and humanity. For those who see 610 and her brood the experience will be as special. And those who know her family history will likely be even more appreciative.

To learn more about these great bears visit 

April 08, 2013

Godspeed Lady Thatcher!

The world has lost one of its greatest champions of freedom. Margaret Thatcher led Great Britain courageously for more than a decade. During that time, she rolled back the suffocating blanket of Big Government, sparking an economic revival. And she implemented a foreign policy based on the principle that British sovereignty and the freedom of all those under the protection of Great Britain shall not be violated. Nicknamed the "Iron Lady" by the Soviet press after a 1976 speech declaring, "the Russians are bent on world dominance."

Margaret Thatcher has her place in world as well as British history. Her very name is used to denote a way of thinking: Thatcherism. Thatcherism as a powerful collection of beliefs about the capacities of human beings in a political society. The ideas were not new but were put into operation by a very remarkable woman. It was the happy coincidence of the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

It was Thatcher’s partnership with Ronald Reagan that we Americans think of first. It was characterized by loyalty, commitment and a jauntiness that proclaimed success was inevitable. As it proved to be, both in domestic policy and in bringing down the Evil Empire of the Soviets without firing a shot. Mrs. Thatcher spoke constantly of freedom, and the absolute need for America to exert international leadership in the cause of freedom. Thatcher was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Her achievements were remarkable, starting with the fact of being the only woman Prime Minister in British history -- something America has yet to achieve. She enjoyed 11 and a half years in office, longer than any other 20th century politician. She won three successive general elections, two of them being landslide majorities, and lost none. The secret of her success lies in a combination of qualities, which both saw her into leadership and were the essence of her period in power.

When she became leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, Britain was on the brink of disaster, threatened by total collapse. The weak Labour government with a small majority presided over a bankrupt economy in hock to the International Monetary Fund and threatened from within by a challenge to law and order itself. When she was forced from power in 1990, she left a sound economy and a confident and well-ordered society. She loved the jokes claiming she beat her all-male Cabinet ministers with her handbag, and reveled in being the "Iron Lady."

Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Yes, the special relationship Obama turned his back on since the beginning of his presidency.

Margaret Thatcher was a conviction politician and left a remarkable legacy.

Godspeed Lady Thatcher!

April 06, 2013

Two Christians Beheaded in New Jersey By Muslim Man: Media, Silent!


Authorities in New Jersey allege a Muslim man beheaded two Coptic Christians, burying their bodies and heads and hands in separate graves near Philadelphia, bringing the horror of the persecution of Christians in Islamic nations to the United States.

The report said investigators alleged Ibrahim killed the victims then severed their heads and hands, and buried the remains in the back yard of a home in Buena Vista, N.J.
The report said the victims were from the Coptic Christian community in the area. One of the victims had come from Egypt not many years ago of story

April 05, 2013

Cunningham Cabin

John Pierce Cunningham built this home on the frontier in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 1885. Grand Teton National Park.

The Cunningham Cabin is a double-pen log cabin in Grand Teton National Park. The cabin was built as a homestead in Jackson Hole and represents an adaptation of an Appalachian building form to the West. The cabin was built just south of Spread Creek by John Pierce Cunningham, who arrived in Jackson Hole in 1885 and subsisted as a trapper until he established the small ranch in 1888. The Cunninghams left the valley for Idaho in 1928, when land was being acquired for the future Grand Teton National Park.

Cunningham and his wife grew about 100 acres of hay, later irrigating another 140 acres to provide feed for 100 cattle and eight horses. His brother, W. Pierce Cunningham, settled his family nearby. By 1924 the Cunningham ranch comprised 560 acres. By 1926 Cunningham had moved out of cattle and was raising sheep on the land.

J. Pierce Cunningham was one of the original county commissioners chosen when Teton County was organized in 1923. He was also, at various times, justice of the peace, postmaster and game warden.

After 1895 the Cunninghams, who had built a more commodious house, used the cabin as a barn or a smithy. A small fortification was erected in 1895 during unrest involving the Bannack Indians. Traces of foundations survive. The cabin was the scene of a shootout in 1899 between a Montana posse and two horse thieves, who were killed at the scene. The dead men, who had worked for Cunningham the previous season, were buried in unmarked graves nearby.

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March 28, 2013

Physical concepts of our National Debt

A One Hundred Dollar Bill
$100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.

Ten Thousand Dollars
$10,000 - Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car. Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.

One Million Dollars
$1,000,000 - Not as big of a pile as you thought, huh? Still this is 92 years of work for the average human on earth.

One Hundred Million Dollars
$100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone. Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.

One Billion Dollars
$1,000,000,000 - You will need some help when robbing the bank. Now we are getting serious!

One Trillion Dollars
When the U.S government speaks about a 1.7 trillion deficit - this is the volumes of cash the U.S. Government borrowed in 2010 to run itself.Keep in mind it is double stacked pallets of $100 million dollars each, full of $100 dollar bills. You are going to need a lot of trucks to freight this around. If you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now...but ~$700 billion - same amount the banks got during bailout.

Comparison of $1,000,000,000,000 dollars to a standard-sized American Football field and European Football field. Say hello to the Boeing 747-400 transcontinental airliner that's hiding on the right. This was until recently the biggest passenger plane in the world.

15 Trillion Dollars
$15,000,000,000,000 - US national debt (credit bill) has just topped the 15 trillion 2 months before Christmas 2011. Today 4/1/2013 =$16.8 Trillion Dollars. The statue of Liberty seems rather worried as United States national debt passes 20% of the entire world's combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In 2011 the National Debt will exceed 100% of GDP, and venture into the 100%+ debt-to-GDP ratio that the European PIIGS have (bankrupting nations).

$ 114.5 Trillion Dollars
$114,500,000,000,000. - US unfunded liabilities
To the right you can see the pillar of cold hard $100 bills that dwarfs the WTC & Empire State Building - both at one point world's tallest buildings. If you look carefully you can see the Statue of Liberty.
The 114.5 Trillion dollar super-skyscraper is the amount of money the U.S. Government knows it does not have to fully fund the Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, Military and civil servant pensions. It is the money USA knows it will not have to pay all its          bills.
If you live in USA this is also your personal credit card bill; you are responsible along with everyone else to pay this back. The citizens of USA created the U.S. Government to serve them, this is what the U.S. Government has done while serving The People.
The unfunded liability is calculated on current tax and funding inputs, and future demographic shifts in US Population.
Note: On the above 114.5T image the size of the base of the money pile is half a trillion, not $1T as on 15T image. The height is double. This was done to reflect the base of Empire State and WTC more closely.