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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Five Fluffs

It's not often that you can make out all five heads in the nest box. This is one of the rare moments when you can definitely identify some part of five different chicks.

Click on the picture to jump to the full-size view.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day features moonrise over Stonehenge. APOD is one of the web sites that I visit every morning.

Good morning, who?

I realized when I got to the Germantown station this morning that it had been too long since I'd been on the train. My friend Harold, the ticket agent, couldn't remember my name.

I ride MTA's MARC train three or four mornings a week, and each time I walk into the station Harold greets me with a big handshake and a warm "Good morning, Daniel." But this morning he drew a blank.


"Good morning, uh . . ."

I thought he might be teasing.

I sat down to plug in my computer while waiting for the train, which was running about five minutes late. A few minutes later the other regulars were saying "see ya" and "so long" and "have a good day" as I gathered my power cord and stood up. "Help me out here!" Harold blurted as he reached to shake my hand again.

"Daniel," I said.

Monday, May 24, 2004

More Cicada Stuff

A friend at work provided this link. Be sure to see the other links listed at the bottom of their page.

Singing Cicadas

As I walked through the parking lot at work this morning, I encountered a few of our Brood X guests. I stopped to look closely at two of them. The first one sang for me, two brief songs, before flying away. The second one sang a slightly different, slightly lower song, and hopped onto my briefcase to sing to me again.

I'm pretty sure these were Magicicada septendecim, although I know little about them. In this area there are at least two species in Brood X. You can hear, very loudly, the individual drones of Magicicada cassini, which are what I expect cicadas to sound like. But I was surprised to hear a much higher-pitched song coming from thousands more insects, the songs blended together into an indistinguishable chorus. For the first three days I thought that a nearby store had a malfunctioning burglar- or fire-alarm.

This chorus is not prevalent near our home in Germantown, but you can hardly ignore it near our church in Clarksville, or here at my office building in New Carrollton. When I got off the freeway this morning I rolled down the windows so I could hear the chorus as I drove to our parking lot. I was wondering whether I would get to hear the individual calls of Septendecim, and what they sound like as compared to Cassini. So it was a gift to not only see them in the parking lot, but to get to hear two of them in personal recital.

I carried the one to a grassy island and shooed him off. He sang as he flew away, maybe "Thank you."

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Someone ups the ante

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Tucking them in


Anissa Housley, a friend from college daze, sent this sample of her recent art work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

FSYO Concert Friday, 5/28/04

WSB and NSO principal hornist, Marty Hackleman will be the featured soloist with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Lane, on Friday, May 28th at 2:00 pm at the Schlesinger Center of the Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 North Beauregard Street in Alexandria, VA. Marty will be playing the Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1, but the Youth Orchestra will also perform:
  ShostakovichFestive Overture
  TchaikovskySelections from "Swan Lake"
  TchaikovskyFinale from Symphony No. 5

Admittance is FREE! For directions, go to www.nvcc.edu/alexandria/schlesingercenter/directions.html

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

From CNN's front page

There are five!

Right-click on the image and choose to view the image individually to see it full-size.

. . . as a hen gathereth her chicks, . . .

from Birdcam

Saturday, May 15, 2004

William gets a mention

William (Boychild) wrote a message to the Griddlers team, and that prompted a news item quoting from his message. It made William's day: his hyperventilating interruped our devotions!

In related news, three of Vicki's single griddlers are on the most popular board, along with two of her multi-griddlers.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Weight tracking

226.5 this morning, although undeserved after a snack or two yesterday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Baby falcons are hatching!

see http://birdcam.kodak.com

Monday, May 10, 2004

Weight tracking

This morning, 228.0, after a weekend with ups-n-downs. We missed the bike ride (Beth's arm is still sore) and we indulged in soda and desert on Mother's day. But I think I managed to avoid taking seconds, and took only reasonable portions the first time.

Washington Symphonic Brass Concert May 12, 16 & 23

I received the following enthusiastic announcement:

To all Fans of the Washington Symphonic Brass:

The final program for the WSB 2003-2004 concert season, called "Wind and Song," is a blockbuster! Phil Snedecor has created a spectacular transcription of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" for full brass ensemble and 4 percussionists. The impact of this music is amplified vividly, when played by the professionals in the WSB. You absolutely MUST hear this rousing, earthy music!

The first half of the concert explodes with Phil's arrangement of the Chick Corea/Al Jarreau classic "Spain" with horn solos by Marty Hackleman and trumpet "scat singing" by Phil himself.

Hear the sumptuous setting of "O Magnum Mysterium" by California composer Morton Lauridsen; "Che Gelida Manina" from La Boheme of Puccini excellently played by Marty Hackleman, principal horn of both the WSB and the National Symphony Orchestra; and two movements (the Benedictus and the Gloria) from Missa Brevis by Washington's own Joseph McIntyre.

Eric Ewazen wrote his romantically inspired "Symphony in Brass" in 1992, the year before the Washington Symphonic Brass was founded. Amazingly enough, this is the first time that the WSB has included this brass epic in our repertoire. Eric's piece will be performed to round out the first half of our program.

As normal, in May we will perform the program three times. Choose the most convenient location and date for you.


Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m.; St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Annapolis, MD (Church Circle near the State House) Arrive early. Attend a pre-concert reception on the lawn. Get a choice seat inside.

Sunday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Saint Luke Catholic Church, McLean, VA (1/4 mile inside the Beltway on Rt. 193, the Georgetown Pike)

Sunday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.; National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC (On Nebraska Avenue NW, between Tenley Circle and American University)

Tickets can be purchased at the door or by contacting the WSB Administrator Margot Young at myoung9191@aol.com or by phone 703-243-1127. Adult tickets are a reasonable $20.00. Student tickets are only $10.00.

Milt Stevens, Principal Trombonist National Symphony Orchestra Conductor, Washington Symphonic Brass Artist in Residence, University of Maryland Adjunct Professor, Catholic University miltstevens@cox.net 703-256-6683 703-256-5442 (fax) 3500 Farm Hill Drive Falls Church, VA 22044-1237

www.miltstevens.com www.wsbrass.com
It's too bad that they're playing Carmina Burana in a dedicated church sanctuary. I'm not sure I'm ready to defend this concern, but I definitely have an emotional safeguard against performing or rehearsing blatantly secular music in a sanctuary. Comments?

Friday, May 07, 2004

Griddlers Success!

Vicki's Griddlers are receiving stellar reviews, and two have made it onto the best-ever listing! Look for puzzles by Vics.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Was Galileo Wrong?

I've recently found a great interest in the books of Brian Greene. This NASA article is on a related subject. Be sure to view the Evicting Einstein article too.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Weight tracking

I'm approximately 6' 1" tall, and my weight today is 228.5 lbs. Or 230.5 lbs, depending on which measurement you believe. According to earlier research, my target weight is somewhere around 180 lbs, so I'm in the market to loose about 50 lbs. If anyone can help me set a target weight more accurately, please add a comment below.

I've been reducing my sugar and caffeine intake, as well as eating reduced portions and fewer snacks. It's not fun, but I feel generally successful more often than not. I don't get a lot of exercise regularly, but I'm likely to get a 7-minute walk twice a day about three days each week, and we're getting into bicycle season, so we can hope to get in a decent ride about once each weekend, on average.