Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Maryland WINS ??!




A short while ago I posted that the NCAA men's Division I lacrosse championship could be otherwise titled "Who is Maryland going to lose to this year?"'

They hadn't won since 1975, despite being in either the Final Four or the championship game numerous times.  So losing was habitual and winning not the norm.

Now, I like lacrosse, but I'm not a big fan, despite it being Maryland's unofficial state sport.  It's popularity has grown for years (it's no longer just a sport played primarily in the Mid-Atlantic states and at Ivy League schools), it requires significant athletic prowess in both stamina and skill, and it's got a lot of action.  With hockey scoring declining, and soccer never having enough scoring at the highest levels, lacrosse has enough scoring to keep everyone entertained, if you like scoring.  I pay attention to the NCAA championships, and I usually pick a favorite team, many times Maryland.  Most of the time my favorite time loses.  So it goes.

The problem with lacrosse, more than anything else, I think, is that it seems too easy.  Note that I said "seems", because it really isn't at all.  It looks like it's just running and tossing a ball around with a little stick that has a net on the end.  Even though kids play soccer and hockey and baseball, I think that lacrosse suffers from looking like a kid's game.

So, having said that, back to Maryland.  They played Ohio State, and they broke the losing habit, winning 9-6.   Amazing and finally.

Add to that, the Maryland women's team won another lacrosse title, not unexpected but the first time they won after not losing in the regular season.  So despite the DC travails in pro sports, the rare Baltimore titles (thank you Ravens, even though I don't pay attention to you at all), at least there's some winning going on in Maryland.  And the Mystics, with All-Star superstar Elena Della Donne, are 3-2 right now.

Yay.


Halep through French first round


With Serena Williams pregnant and Maria Sharapova not playing, as she didn't qualify off her suspension, Simona Halep was looking like the prohibitive favorite in the French Open, as she was playing really well.  Unfortunately she stumbled in the final of the Italian Open and tore an ankle ligament, putting her fitness into question.   The first round of the French would be a test.

Well, she tested out fine today, with a 6-3, 6-3 win over J. Čepelová.  And both Kerber and Konta were ousted in Round 1,  so she's got a good path to the later rounds.

If her ankle holds up.  On her side of the draw, the biggest challenge is likely to come from Pliskova. Of course, there's always a good chance in the French of an obscure clay court specialist plowing through to the semis.

Eugenie Bouchard also won her first-round match.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

The EPA isn't the target, the environment is


From an article in the Washington Post:

EPA remains top target with Trump Administration proposing 31 percent cut


Just a lovely example:
"The plan would eliminate several major regional programs, including ones aimed at restoring the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, as well as EPA’s lead risk-reduction program. The White House also proposes nearly halving categorical grants, which support state and local efforts to address everything from pesticide exposure to air and water quality, to $597 million. It would slash funding for the Superfund cleanup program, which helps restore some of the nation’s most polluted sites, despite the fact that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lists it as one of his priorities."

With budget cuts like these, there won't be an environment worth protecting in a few years.

Which is pretty much what the Trump Administration has planned.

I don't like the sound of this


I've written many articles about the dire straits of the bluefin tuna worldwide.  But they aren't the only fish stock in trouble.

Now, before I go further, note that salmon, in general, aren't endangered.  There are too many salmon farming operations around the world for that to happen.  This particular issue is about wild salmon, specifically in California.  But the really good salmon (taste wise) are wild salmon.

Several of California's Salmon Species to Go Extinct Within 100 Years, Study Finds


Quote:
"At the current rate, 45 percent of California salmonids are likely to be extinct in the next 50 years," said the study. "This includes 11 of 21 anadromous species and 3 of 10 inland species. In 100 years, 23 of the remaining 31 species (74 percent) are likely to be extinct if present conditions continue."

But:
"The study's authors remain hopeful that habitat restoration and other protective measures can reverse the damage already done and prevent a mass extinction, but time is limited. "We do still have time, and we are optimistic that with some effort, we can have a future that involves these fish," CalTrout executive director Curtis Knight told reporters, as reported by NPR."

Let's hope so (as I always seem to say about these stories).

Just like art



I've held off commenting on this "new" model for awhile. But now I just can't hold off any longer.

Meet Ekaterina Zueva (if you haven't already).

And also here.

She's Russian, she's insanely hot, she's apparently married (based on a comment she made responding to comments on one of her pictures), and she can be found via searching wearing little if any clothes, and wearing no clothes at all. She's very slender, but has the curves that make the boys wild. She poses in lingerie, sometimes, and posts pictures on Instagram (as "zuueva". She must be pretty young. She has pictures taken of her all over the world.

I will leave it to you interested readers to conduct searches for the lovely Zueva, if you are so inclined. The subject of this post was a very recent Instagram picture, shown below. The reason I'm posting it is to compare it to three wate color paintings authored by the late Steve Hanks. I have mentioned Hanks before, I know, and posted some of his stunning nude studies. (Surprising, only once: Sensuality and Artistry, Part 2). If you like that kind of thing, search for his works, too. Hanks was a wizard with watercolor, and he also got the most luscious models on the planet to pose for him. His death was a definite loss of an outstanding talent (and he didn't just paint nudes, he painted seascapes, babies, kids... so sad that he's gone).

So here's the picture of Ekaterina.




















This particular pose was a favorite of Hanks, and shown below are six (!) examples that are quite similar to Ekaterina's picture. So, as the saying goes, one man's art is another man's ... fascination.


















Definitely a lovely theme.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lighthouse of the Week, May 21-27, 2017: Point Amour, Newfoundland, Canada



You know, happily, when you search "oakden wolf" and "lighthouse", the return is a lot of lighthouses -- takes a long time to reach the first babe. So, to continue the contributions in the lighthouse genre, I thought I'd go back to Newfoundland for another one, because one thing that Newfoundland has is a lot of lighthouses.

This one is romantically monikered on Point Amour ("Point Love" for us English speakers).  Here's a locator map.



Lighthouse Friends says:


  • "Point Amour literally means Love Point, but its original name was likely Pointe-aux-Morts, or “dead man’s point,” due to the numerous shipwrecks in the area. The establishment of a powerful light and foghorn on Point Amour reduced the frequency of shipwrecks, but some still occurred. On August 8, 1902, the 12,000-ton, 605-foot-long HMS Raleigh ran aground just west of the station. While visiting Newfoundland ports, the commander of the British warship decided to make a stop in Forteau Bay so the officers could try their luck in the Forteau River, which was known for its salmon and trout fishing. While approaching the bay in a heavy fog, the Raleigh had to sharply alter its course to avoid an iceberg and snagged its hull on a reef. A motorboat was launched to take a lifeline to shore, but it capsized in the surf, resulting in the drowning of ten sailors. One sailor did manage to get the lifeline to shore, and with the help of men at Point Amour, it was secured allowing the nearly 700 men aboard the Raleigh to come ashore."

Oops.

It's 155 feet above the water, and the white tower with a red cap and one black stripe is 109 feet high, supposedly the tallest lighthouse on the Atlantic coastline of Canada.

Pictures!







Unique way to date (but not really a unique way to mate)



If The Bachelor (or The Bachelorette) ratings start to slip drastically, they could always try going this route. Superfast Dutch swimmer Inge de Bruijn, now retired, is looking for love -- naked. There's this TV show where Inge, in the flesh, meets guys also suitably unencumbered by clothing and as the show goes, is going to determine if they're suitable or not. Birthday-suitable -- well, they've already accomplished that.

Regarding de Bruijn, when she was swimming competitively, she was quite fetching, but also incredibly muscular. The guys in the buff can't be intimidated by that, even if she's softened a bit since.

The article says that she was the oldest person to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, at 31, in 2004. That can't be right -- Anthony Ervin had to be older than that in 2016. Maybe the oldest woman? I'll have to check on that.

I did check - Ervin is the only older gold medalist in swimming than de Bruijn, so she is the oldest female swimming gold winner.



Friday, May 19, 2017

NCAA D1 Lacrosse Championships, otherwise known as...





The NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championships are underway, with quarterfinals taking place tomorrow (Saturday, May 20) and Sunday, May 21.

Here's the bracket.

Now, you will note in the title I said that the championships are "otherwise known as".   Which means, "otherwise known as" ... who does Maryland lose to this time?

Here's the history.

You will note that in 1975, Maryland won the NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship.  You will also note that ever since then, they haven't.

And further, note how many championship game runner-up finishes they have had since then (meaning that Maryland lost in the title game).  10 times.  Twice in overtime, including last year to North Carolina.

It should be pointed out that schools from Maryland (Johns Hopkins, notably, and also Loyola of Maryland, in a defeat of -- you guessed it -- Maryland) have won the NCAA lacrosse championship.  And Salisbury over on the Eastern Shore has won the Division III championship numerous times, as recently as last year.  So all is not lost in the "home state" of the game.  All that is lost is -- the chances of Maryland winning it.  Why should this year be any different?

Well, if it is, I'll be stunned.


Well, on to the next supermodel


Quite recent news:  Leonardo DiCaprio has just had an amicable split with the glorious, luminous, svelte yet curvaceous, stunningly hot Nina Agdal.  They're both "moving on".

Word on the breakup is that he's just not ready to settle down yet.  Let's put it this way -- if you can't find domestic happiness and tranquility with Gisele Bundchen, Bar Refaeli, and Nina Agdal (and Blake Lively and Erin Heatherton and Toni Garrn), it's not going to be easy, if you want to live your life with a 9+ on the 1 to 10 scale.  But perhaps he might borrow a page or two from George Clooney's playbook and move on to a top level talent with both looks and brains.

Meanwhile, though, he'll probably 'date' a few more supermodels.

Leonardo DiCaprio, 42, and Danish model Nina Agdal, 25, break up after a year of dating

Why Leonardo DiCaprio and Nina Agdal Split: 'He's Not Ready to Settle Down'


Obviously a post of this nature requires a picture of Nina, just to establish what Leo is moving on from.




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

About 100 shots of Emily Ratajkowski in the same bikini


Prior to the Cannes Film Festival, starlet and figure-fabulous model Emily Ratajkowski got outside in an aqua-hued bikini.

The Daily Mail has an article with lots and lots and lots of pictures of her in said bikini.

It's worth it.

(Also has a picture of her topless, covering her essentials with her hands, wearing what must be an extraordinarily expensive necklace.)

Bikini-clad Emily Ratajkowski flaunts her incredible toned figure and ample cleavage in bondage inspired two-piece ahead Cannes Film Festival

Example:




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Truer than you'd want to think


When you read about an impending dangerous volcanic eruption near a populous city in the Daily Mail, it's OK to be dubious.  The Daily Mail, despite its voluminous output of articles (frequently and happily featuring lovely women in bikinis, lingerie or even not wearing a THING), isn't a definitive source on scientific topics.  (But it has occasionally brought scientific topics to my attention, in between the bikinis.)

Such is the case here.  Even though the Daily Mail breathlessly hyped the possibility of a volcanic eruption near Naples, it is grounded in reality.  Becausue the area around Naples is volcanically active, it's entirely possible there will be another eruption there eventually.

Well, eventually might not be as far off as the Neopolitans would like.  Because that Daily Mail article is reporting basic facts, similar to the Science Digest article linked below.

Campi Flegrei Volcano eruption possibly closer than thought

"By studying how the ground is cracking and moving at Campi Flegrei, we think it may be approaching a critical stage where further unrest will increase the possibility of an eruption, and it's imperative that the authorities are prepared for this," explained Dr Christopher Kilburn, Director of the UCL Hazard Centre."  
(UCL = University College London)

So, it is possible that the Naples caldera could be gearing up for an eruption in a future that is nearer in time to the present rather than it is to the farther future.  In other words, it could be getting ready to erupt soon (soon in the geological sense could still be within a century, but still...)

The last eruption in the region was 1538, which built Monte Nuovo, shown below (and a locator map below that),





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lighthouse of the Week, May 14-20, 2017: Sumburgh Head, Shetland Island, UK



I was looking for Scotland but ended up on the Shetland Islands instead. Sumburgh Head is another stunningly situated lighthouse in the UK -- way way way way out on the southern extension of the southern island. About as far south in the Shetland Island as you can go.

It has it's own Web site:  https://www.sumburghhead.com/

And it's own Webcam (which I have not watched in daylight yet).

From the Lighthouse Directory:
1821 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 91 m (300 ft); three white flashes, separated by 2.1 s, every 30 s. 17 m (56 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. Rotating 1st order Fresnel lens (1914). 1-story keeper's houses and other buildings enclosed by a stone wall. This is the oldest Shetland lighthouse.
There's a lot more from the Lighthouse Directory here, on the Shetland page.

And now for the pictures.









Outstanding cast


I recently watched the 1981 movie Excalibur again.  I realized while watching it that the actor in the role of Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father by way of wizardry, looked familiar.  I was somewhat surprised to find out that the actor was Gabriel Byrne, not necessarily the first person that comes to mind to play a legendary English king.

While the movie featured an actor and actress already recognized for their high level of talent -- Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren as Merlin and Morgana -- I hadn't realized that there were a few other actors whose names are now well-known in the movie, which was early in their career.   The three names that this applies to are Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, and Ciarán Hinds. If you don't recognize the last one (I knew the face but not the name), he's most recently been noticed for playing Mancy Rayder on Game of Thrones.

Excalibur is noted for a lot of things -- the score, which used excerpts from Die Gotterdamerung, Carmina Burana, and Tristan and Isolde -- the fact that director Boorman wanted to make The Lord of the Rings, but made this when that didn't work out (thank God) -- and the sets, all over England -- and finally, it has what is likely the best MIFANW  (Man in Full Armor, Naked Woman) sex scenes in the history of cinema.

Unfortunately I can't show you that here (but if you think it's hard to find, you would be wrong).  Instead, here's a GIF of when Merlin gets Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake.


Crystal Palace vindicates its effort



After nearly reaching the end of the season (there's one game left), Crystal Palace vindicated their remarkable effort to stay in the Premier League (which included massive upset wins over Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool, and a draw with the defending champions Leicester City) by finishing off Hull City 4-0. The win knocked Hull City down to the Championship.

For a team that was struggling to win a game in the winter, it's pretty remarkable. They have some quality players, but in order to stay up more comfortably and perhaps try to get another Top 10 finish, they're going to have to get more quality players. They have American investors; they should figure out how to improve the team. Relegation struggles are uneasy.

But for now, they're safe for another year.

Report: Crystal Palace 4-0 Hull City


Crystal Palace surviving the drop was harder than any other relegation battle I have experienced, claims Sam Allardyce after beating Hull to stay up


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Checking in with Curiosity


I happened to notice this image somewhere in the last couple of days.  It's from the plugging-along-intrepidly Mars Curiosity rover.   And it recently encountered a field of "megaripples" on the slopes of Mount Sharp.   So I went to the Curiosity Web site and found the article about the encounter.

Here's the update:  March to the Megaripples

And the accompanying picture:

























While looking around, I found this fantastic panorama, which includes the Bagnold Dunes area.

More info on that:  Curiosity's Bagnold Dunes campaign


Not the usual sonnet


This sonnet is a tribute to someone who was very important to me.

in the form of an elegy


You never knew the value that you had
for me -- I never had the chance to tell
you what I felt and thought, how truly glad
my soul would be when it had chance to dwell
inside of yours, those endless moments when
we were connected beyond words and there
our harmonies became a single ken
and twice accordant with naught else but bare
awareness -- and now I wish my words
of explanation could be heard by you,
so you could grasp how vivid mem'ry girds
my future visions -- yet 'tis sadly true
that you have gone beyond my furthest reach,
are lost though even God I would beseech.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Regretting his stand against nuclear power



Here's an interesting op-ed from Robert Thorson about the current state of the environment, energy, and climate, with respect to nuclear power.

Climate Change and the Nuclear Power Riddle

Here are his concluding three paragraphs:
"This is the scary part. That previous interglacial sea level at the same temperature was 16 to 27 feet higher than the present shorelines. This is based on a variety of undeniable markers for interglacial shorelines such as elevated beaches and wave-cut cliffs. They cannot be explained away. This is where sea levels are heading.

It's not a matter of if, but when. We've already taken Earth's three largest ice cubes (Greenland, East Antarctic, West Antarctic) out of the freezer. They're melting at rates faster than the politicized international predictions. We can't put them back into the freezer because the excess CO2 in the atmosphere will last for centuries, and because ice-sheet disintegration is an irreversible process. The only thing we can do is wait, watch, retreat and adapt.

I'm still on the fence with respect to nuclear power. But I wish I'd been more careful what I wished for. "Go Fishing, Not Fission" has impoverished the seas and is flooding our shores."

I think I'd like to tell him to get off the fence, tell our reps and Sens and PTB to invest in all forms of clean (non-CO2 releasing) energy. ASAP.

Candice is back (and her front, too)



Candice Swanepoel is in fine post-baby form and doing her modeling work again for Victoria's Secret.

Obviously good news for those of us who appreciate fine forms and fine lingerie.

Candice Swanepoel goes topless for sizzling new Victoria's Secret fragrance campaign as she flaunts her incredible body in sexy lingerie


Lighthouse of the Week, May 7-13, 2017: Corsewall, Scotland, UK



Around the world there are several lighthouses that have been converted to unique hotels, which offer a fairly unusual vacation getaway experience. The Corsewall Lighthouse in Scotland, which is still a working lighthouse, offers 11 suites and rooms, as well as a dining room, WiFi, nearby golf, and nearby park areas. It's located on Scotland's southeastern coast.

Link to the Lighthouse Hotel site

Here are the basic details, acquired from the esteemed Lighthouse Directory:

"1817 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); five white flashes every 30 s. 34 m (112 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 2-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. The keeper's house has been converted into a small hotel."

And below I have several pictures and a short video. Looks like a good place to get away if you want to get away, but I expect it gets a wee bit windy at times.












Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Return of the X-37B


The X-37B is an Air Force satellite that looks like a mini Space Shuttle.

We don't know much more than that.

It was launched, went into orbit, orbited the Earth for two years, and just recently returned to the Terra Firma from whence it came.

What did it do for those two years?  Hell if I know.

X-37B: The Air Force's Mysterious Space Plane (with informational video)

Back with a bang! Top secret Air Force X-37B lands with a sonic boom after spending two YEARS in space but they still won't say what it was doing up there

The X-37B, about which little is known (publicly)

So what happened?


Just saw this news article today that Joanna Krupa and her husband Romain Zago are in the midst of a split.   Apparently it's been underway for a few months.

Hard to understand what happened (as with most marital breakups.)  I hope he didn't tire of seeing her naked, because it's hard to see how anybody could get tired of seeing her naked.  And I hope he didn't want her to be naked more often, because she's naked a lot.  (Recent example here.)

Well, maybe now there's a chance for the rest of us to go on a date with her.

Not really.

Split! Real Housewives Of Miami star Joanna Krupa 'broke it off with husband of four years Romain Zago FIVE MONTHS ago'

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fodor's Top 10 State Parks


In my lifetime, I've been to some pretty great state parks.  Too many to list here.  But because it's a big country and there are a lot of state parks, my forays account for only a small percentage of what's out there,

Still, I was interested in this Fodor's Top 10 List of America's Best State Parks.  I was somewhat curious if they listed any I had actually visited in person.

Here's the list:

America's 10 Best State Parks

OK, so how many have I visited?

FOUR for sure, and I've either been to, or been really close to, a fifth.  So yeah, they're good state parks.  But I've been to several others that I think deserve mention, so hopefully I can put together my own list to complement this one.

Now, I don't get a lot readers on this blog, but I wonder if anyone would like to see if they can figure out which of the state parks on the list I've been to.

No Maryland state parks made the list, but Maryland has plenty of fine state parks too.  Here's Muddy Creek Falls in Swallow Falls State Park -- and I've been here as well.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

A sonnet about confirmation and memory



there is no doubt that I was there

These places and their spaces are discrete
and widely separated, so much that
I must envision they occurred, their fleet-
ness as elusive as a dislodged hat
upon a gusty wind, their imprint like
a footstep in the tidal sands -- I know
they happened yet they left no strike,
no mark upon a rock that would there show
a known event of notability --
so when my time has passed, they pass as well,
spectacular yet with no history
save this; and so 'tis here that I can tell
their simple story, that they let me take
all the naked love that we could make.


Win or tie or cry


Well, after a fairly tumultuous Premier League season that included a long losing streak, dismissal of a manager once thought promising, some late season upsets of Premier League powers under the new manager (Sam Allardyce), timely contributions from their stars, and considerable angst in the fans in the stands, Crystal Palace has a clear-cut choice next weekend against Hull City.

Win -- they'll stay in the Premier League.
Draw -- they'll stay in the Premier League.
Lose -- cry in the locker-room, because their future will remain uncertain, and they have to play Manchester United on the final weekend.

Months ago it appeared they were headed toward relegation.  But the surprising wins against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool got them unexpected and badly-needed points, and though they've dropped the last three against Tottenham Hotspur (tough), Burnley (not so tough), and Manchester City (real tough), they still, as the saying goes, control their own destiny. Given what they went through this season, that's quite an achievement, but it means nothing if they don't use said achievement wisely.

So, get at least a point, breathe easy, and then get ready for next season. Go Eagles!


Friday, May 5, 2017

Sharks and volcanoes and robots


No, that is not the name of a big summer movie.  It's about studying an underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands that sharks swim around in with a robot made of PVC.

Seriously.

This video demonstrates all three.  And it features some really great marine volcanic explosions.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Down by the old mill stream


The Weather Channel had an interesting click-bait feature a few days back;  the 'best' swimming spot in every United States state.  Being someone who swims for exercise and doesn't mind a dip in a lake, ocean, or river, I found this interesting.

I've actually been to eight of them (though I didn't necessarily go swimming at all eight), which somewhat surprised me.  And I've been close to three more, one of which really disappoints me that I didn't visit it (Oneonta Gorge Falls in Oregon).

Since summer is coming, this is a good reference for some good ol' time fun.

Best Swimming Spot in Every State

Here's one of the ones I've been to, but I wasn't there during the summer swimming season:  Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe.


A place I've been gives up a secret


In Ohio, there's a mound built by ancient Native Americans, in the form of a serpent. Years ago in my distant youth, my family and I visited there.

Here's a view of it from up in the sky.
















It's not a burial mound, so it's purpose is not to commemorate members of the ancient tribes. Rather, it's an agricultural indicator, with the head of the serpent and the orb in its mouth aligned to indicate the occurrence of the summer solstice -- the alignment points toward the setting sun on the day of the solstice.  According to numerous sources, for a successful corn crop, plant on the day of the solstice.

So what secret did the Science Channel find?  You'll have to watch the video for that revelation.

What is the purpose of this Serpent Mound?





A fantastical sonnet


Yes, this is fantastical, because it won't ever happen, but in spring a man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of ...


"pictured in an exhibition"

I have a simple fantasy -- that I
could demonstrate my masculinity
to those who would appreciate what my
indulgent and engrossed affinity
produces. I would then be there exposed
to many views, with each of them aware
of my significance to me, reposed
yet clearly not relaxed, possessed of bare
necessity that is both unmistak-
able and personal -- and as they see
what comes with me, they also know I make
no pretense of my rapture as my free
expression flows and shows fertility,
agility, and my ability.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's a cortado?


Alton Brown of the Food Network occasionally posts about having a cortado to get him going in the morning.  I was pretty sure that a cortado was some kind of coffee-based drink, confirmed when he posted a picture of himself drinking it.  But I didn't know what it really was.

Then I found this article:

What's the difference between a flat white and a cortado?

It includes a picture of a flat white and a cortado.

Now that I know what it is, I want to try one.  (I've had a Starbucks flat white a couple of times.)  Apparently, "nearby" me (meaning either the ~90 minute drive to Baltimore or the ~60 minute drive to Washington) there are coffee shops that serve up cortados.  Though I don't have any trips to the "big city" scheduled this month, even though I might suddenly get a call to do a report, I should be in Baltimore in June.  I'll have to remember then to get myself a cortado.


What one version looks like:




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Invest in avocados (well, maybe not)



Reduced supply and increasing demand mean that avocado prices are going up fast. Too bad they are perishable; stockpiling a ton or so for when the real shortages hit probably won't work.  You'd end up with a lot of brownish green goo.

Avocado prices are skyrocketing
"A 10-kilogram (22-pound) box of Hass avocados from the state of Michoacan, Mexico’s biggest producer, cost 530 pesos ($27.89) Thursday, according to the government. The price, which is subject to seasonal swings, is more than double what it was a year earlier and the highest in data going back 19 years.

The jump in demand in recent years has been dramatic. American per-capita consumption was 6.9 pounds in 2015, versus 3.5 pounds in 2006, according to the U.S. government. People are being drawn to the fruit not just for its taste but also for its healthy oils and fats, a trend borne out in the U.S. by Starbucks Corp.’s announcement last month it’s selling avocado sandwich spread.

“You have increased consumption in China and other areas of the world, like Europe,” said Roland Fumasi, an analyst at Rabobank in Fresno, California. “They’re pulling a lot more of the Mexican crop, so there’s less available for the U.S.”
Green gold?



Also causing price pressure is reduced California avocado production due to the recent drought, and uncertainty about Donald Trump's trade policy with Mexico. The Daily Mail also says that there was a grower's strike in Mexico that isn't mentioned in the Bloomberg article.




I might have to eat more salsa on my tortilla chips for awhile.

Many of us are not surprised



President Donald Trump admitted a few days ago that the job of being President is hard work, and that he thought it would be easier than it is turning out to be.

Article: Trump now agrees with the majority of Americans: He wasn’t ready to be president
“I love my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life,” Trump said. “I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a … I’m a details-oriented person. I think you’d say that, but I do miss my old life. I like to work so that’s not a problem but this is actually more work.”
Gee, what a surprise. (Not really.)

It may also be more golf. But not as much golfing as William Howard Taft.

We'll see how he does when the job actually gets difficult.

Lighthouse of the Week, April 30 - May 6, 2017: Tannowa Kō, Japan



This lighthouse is in the category of "unusual design" and "red". It's the Tannowa Kō lighthouse, in Sennan, which is supposed to resemble a sail to celebrate the sailing heritage of the town. Sennan is on Osaka Bay, across the Bay from Kobe and southwest of Osaka. It's basically at the southern outskirts of the Osaka urban region. It's 28 feet high and the light from the lighthouse is red, too.

There are only a couple of pictures of it, none from the water, but I did find two small ones taken from a distance.





Admiring Alexis



Alexis Ren is a 20-year-old free-spirited model, who happens to have an exquisitely shaped, nearly impossible body. She frequently posts pictures of herself on Instagram, somewhat more than occasionally wearing body-conscious clothes or swimwear, and occasionally with hide-the-nipple nudity (delightful example below).



















She just had an article about her in the Daily Mail, about her life (which hasn't been real long on experience) and how she overworked and undernourished herself before realizing that wasn't a good way to live and getting healthier.

She should stay healthy and be happy, because she sure looks healthy. Also, Alexis was a candidate for the SI swimsuit issue this year, but didn't make the final cut. Darn it. Here's a link to her "Casting Call" feature. Better luck next year, hopefully.

Alexis Ren - SI Swimsuit Casting Calls