Friday, September 21, 2018

Into Georgia on Highway 41

Yes, we have finally left Florida.  Our first view is of Long Pond, in Lake Park. There are still a lot of lakes around here.  This happens to be the Valdosta Yacht Club.  That is not a joke.

Next we'll take a look at Dasher Park, in Dasher, Georgia.

Valdosta - Business 41 through it, or Highway 41 around it?

Well, put it this way. If I was doing a road trip, cycling or driving (or roller skating or hiking, but hiking would be REAL slow), I'd rather go into Valdosta, the first medium-size city we've seen since Tampa, rather than go around it where there's much less to see and visit. So, Business 41 it is. It rejoins Highway 41 north of Valdosta.

Hip Hop Fish and Chicken

Downtown Valdosta - has some charm

Business 41 is Ashley Street through Valdosta, by the way.

Valdosta - Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce

Michael's Deli

Now leaving Valdosta.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hayabusa-2 dropping probes onto Ryugu

Friday, September 21, the Hayabusa-2 satellite orbiting mini-asteroid Ryugu will drop two min-rovers onto the asteroidal surface.  The rovers are going to hop around the asteroid, using a motor-powered internal weight to drive them.

Should be fun. And they've got cameras, too.  And there are more landers, and more interesting maneuvers, coming up, if everything keeps working right.

Hayabusa-2: Japan's rovers ready for touchdown on asteroid

Here's a picture of Ryugu I had not seen before.  It's quite bouldery, which might make asteroid hopping a bit more interesting.

A new hot rock

According to this article, the Whitney Flame Topaz is the finest red topaz on planet Earth.

Next time I'm in Washington (maybe when the dinosaur hall reopens), I'll have to check it out.

There appears to be only one or two pictures of it so far, so rather than repost them, just read the article.

The Whitney Flame Topaz Smolders in Vibrant Red

It's on display now in the same room as the Hope Diamond and the Dom Pedro Aquamarine, which is pretty fine company.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A new Washington political thriller

It's like a novel (because no one would believe this is non-fiction):

Here's what it says on the back cover:

The Washington power struggle continues -- and the Supreme Court is at the center of a battle between the forces of good and Republicans.  Every player has a stake in the Supreme Court nomination...

The President -- Vicious, vindictive, venal, and vain, his remaining faithful followers expect him to deliver a Supreme Court majority with his picks. And he just wants to be liked, loved, and adored, and to keep his base happy and gullible, his choice must be the key to a monocultural Christian society, even if they'll overlook his own record of sins and scandals to get them there.

The Senate Majority Leader -- Malevolent, Machiavellian, manipulative, magisterial, he has twisted the Constitution and the rules of the Senate into a Möbius band that has only one side -- his. His brash political gambling and gamesmanship has taken him to this point, an achievement he treasures above all others, his legacy.  And he'll do whatever it takes to make sure it happens.

The Speaker of the House -- Once thought a nimble politician, now he's a spineless wimp. Ignore him because he doesn't matter at all. He's getting out of Dodge with his tail stuck into his butt crack.

The Senator on the Committee -- Once he spoke for justice as he prosecuted a President. Now he speaks for unfairness, partisanship, misogyny, and malfeasance. And every single day, he looks more gay, but he can't admit his hidden passions.

The Nominee -- A child of privilege and a student at a prestigious private school, the nominee achieved the top of his law school class and an esteemed judgeship despite a fondness for beer and baseball tickets. No one disputes his legal mind and his conservative Republican bona fides, but now his past may return to haunt him, and deny him the position he covets and thinks he deserves.

The Accuser -- As a young woman, she and the Nominee had violent sexual encounter she tried for decades to forget. Rebuilding her life in California and academia, she was haunted by the memory, and told her story in the privacy of a physician's office.  But circumstances forced her story, and herself, into the news, and now she must determine what she can remember, and decide if she can face the man she never wanted to see again -- in front of Congress and the American public.

The Witness -- A famous alcoholic and a high school drinking buddy of the Nominee, the Accuser said he witnessed the encounter and managed to stop the Nominee before it went too far.  Now the Witness says he can't remember and doesn't want to, yet he can verify the Nominee's pretty boy, party boy life in high school, and everyone knows he can. The Witness is the wild card that can keep the Nominee from ascending to ... THE FIFTH SEAT.

Realizing the danger that the Witness poses, the Senate Majority Leader makes an untraceable phone call to a contact known only as "Davy Crockett".   "Davy," the SML says in his slow, infuriating rural Southern accent, "can you still hit a dime-sized knot in a pine board from 100 yards with Ol' Betsy?  If you can, I might have a job for you..." 

Read THE FIFTH SEAT -- because the last chapters have yet to be written, and reality is even stranger than fiction.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Full blast

Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's esteemed columnist, has no love for President Trump, his administration, Trumpists in general, and the chumps in Congress.  So in this column, she tells it like it is regarding what Congress and Trump are doing to make the Supreme Court another agent of their collective will.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation went seriously off track weeks ago

Here's her blast:
"Surely there is blame on both sides regarding the politicization of the federal courts, but the damage to the Supreme Court itself is largely the work of the Republican Party, specifically of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans brag about their power play in denying Judge Merrick Garland a vote, and then doing away with the 60-vote cloture requirement. They are downright delighted with McConnell for having pulled this off (almost)."
Exactly right.  So if Kavanaugh's nomination goes right off the rails, it serves them right.

Lighthouse of the Week, September 16-22, 2018: Vulcano, Italy

This week's lighthouse is on the island of Vulcano, near Sicily, from which all other volcanoes get their general name.  Vulcano is still considered active, though it last erupted in the late 1800s, 1888 to be more precise.  Not many people live there, so while it may have geological tourism interest, it doesn't have a lot of basic tourism interest.  And if they interest is in active volcanoes, Stromboli (the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean") or Etna are where the volcanophiles should go.

However, Vulcano does have a lighthouse.  And I used Google Maps to the utmost to find it.  So here is both a panorama from Google Maps, and a map (3D image).  It took a moment for me to see the lighthouse until the 3D "popped" for me.

Panorama first:

And then the map:

Where is the Vulcano lighthouse?

So let's get some details from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1887 (station established 1853). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 31 m (102 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic."
It seems strange that the lighthouse was built a year before Vulcano's last recorded eruption.  By the way, the lighthouse is also known as the Faro di Gelso, as there is a small community named Gelso just up the slope from it.

And now to the pictures.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Both the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears have new coaches

One of the surprises of the Washington Capitals surprise season, winning the Stanley Cup, was that a couple of weeks after they won, Coach Barry Trotz resigned, and ended up getting hired to coach the New York Islanders.  Assistant coach Todd Reirden was promoted to head coach.

Well, I knew that.  But I also knew that the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate team that has been a big, big reason for the Capitals success, didn't have a great season last year, and they fired their coach.  So obviously they had to hire a new one.  I hadn't remembered to find out who he was until a few days ago.

His name is Spencer Carbery.

Spencer Carbery Named Head Coach of the Hershey Bears
"The native of Victoria, British Columbia has ties to the Chocolate and White [Hershey's colors, of course], serving as the head coach and director of hockey operations for Hershey's ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays, from 2011-2016. In his five seasons at the helm, Carbery compiled a 207-115-38 record with the Stingrays, making him the all-time winningest coach in South Carolina history. "
Sounds good.

Well, I wish him luck.  B-E-A-R-S Bears!  Bears!  Bears!

World class

What else can you say when someone beats the world record in the marathon by more than a minute?

And runs by himself almost the whole way?

World class.  World standard.  World-beating.

And things like that.

Eliud Kipchoge smashes marathon world record by 78 seconds in Berlin

I'd like to say that this is Beamonesque, but Kipchoge might still be capable of something faster.

Which is somewhat astonishing to even contemplate.

Friday, September 14, 2018

It's about time!

NASA has been building a system that can defend the Earth against dangerous asteroids, and it is nearly ready to go into space!

I will sleep easier when that happens.  Hey, I don't lose sleep worrying about a catastrophic asteroid impact, but it could actually happen.  And if it did happen, boy would we feel stupid if we had the technological capability to defend against it, and yet didn't make the capability operational.

Well, it appears that we might have that capability.  Still must be tested, but at least they're trying.

The experiment that could save the Earth: Nasa's spacecraft made to deflect incoming asteroids has entered the final stages and will launch 'by 2020'

Here's the more technical description of how it will work.

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission

And a schematic:

So, don't you feel more relaxed about this now, too?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Evaluating the line-up for this season of 'Dancing With the Stars'

This doesn't seem fair - Alexis Ren??? Have you seen what she's capable of? (I don't mean modeling in skimpy, barely there bikinis - I mean her physical capabilities.)  She took dance training and her flexibility is top notch, right up there with the pros. And every heterosexual male who likes girls limber and yet curvaceous is going to vote for her with all ten fingers, every night.

Now, there are other potential contenders - gymnasts and football players always seem to do pretty well, and there's one of each, though the gymnast has been out of competition for a long time (Mary Lou Retton). Singer Tinashe probably can do some moves. I've been pulling for Sharna Burgess to win the mirror ball, but I have no idea if her radio personality partner Bobby Bones has any coordination or rhythm. Other than that, it's the usual collection of older stars (John Schneider, Nancy McKeon), younger stars (Milo Manheim, Evanna Lynch), and sundry other personalities.

Ren has all the advantages at the starting gate.

Here's an article with a picture of each pair.

'DWTS' Season 27: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton, blind skier in new cast

Here are the three articles I've written about Alexis Ren prior to this:

And here's what she's capable of, dance-wise.  That's pretty amazing;  so is she.

Great River Bluffs State Park, Minnesota

Another StreetView roadside scenic location.

Panorama on the bluffs

Panorama from the road

Not a horror story; a science story

"Ghost Fishes from the Deepest Ocean" sounds like a B-movie title, but it's actually a real scientific discovery.

New species of ghostly fish found in ocean's deepest depths

Includes a video.  They're definitely real.  They're also probably three inches long or so.

Here's a picture of one of the new fishies.

Before and after

In this era of Instagram, occasionally lovely young women post selfies taken when they are in a casual state.

As in nude.  In a hotel room.

Alexina Graham is a high fashion model from England who just got picked for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show for the second time.

I harvested this picture from her Instagram account, which is here.   She's nude, in a hotel room.

I thought it could use a little brightening, so here's my version.

I think it's an improvement.  Nice tan lines, Alexina.

She also did a Sports Illustrated Casting Call last year.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, September 9-15, 2018: Coquille River, Oregon

I was looking for lighthouses on rivers.  I didn't find one (yet), but I'll keep looking.  What I mean by that is a lighthouse on an actual river, not at a river mouth or in an estuary that was a river further inland, much like the rivers on the Chesapeake Bay.

While I was casting around, I found the Coquille River lighthouse in Oregon.  It's where the Coquille River enters the Pacific Ocean at Bandon.  It's been there a long time -- 1896, to be exact.

According to Lighthouse Friends:
"James F. Barker, the first head keeper, and John M. Cowan, his assistant, were transferred to Coquille River from Heceta Head and took up residence at the new station during the first part of 1896. The fourth-order Fresnel lens was first shown from the tower on February 29, 1896, and a snowstorm settled in the next day, necessitating the first use of the fog signal."
Here's some excerpts from the esteemed Lighthouse Directory on this lighthouse:
"1896. Inactive since 1939 (a decorative solar-powered light has been displayed since 1991; charted as a landmark). 40 ft (12 m) stucco-clad brick tower attached to an unusual "Victorian Italianate" fog signal building. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black.

The lighthouse was restored beginning in 1976 by Oregon State Parks. However, violent weather in the early 2000s damaged the site, and a new restoration effort was launched. Progress was slow, however, and in 2005 there was fresh concern about the poor condition of the building. Restoration was finally completed by Oregon State Parks in 2007."
So there are lots of pictures available;  here are five.

A September sonnet: "journey of commitments"

journey of commitments

She looked at me with diff'rent eyes when I
presented my own case to her. I think
she knew my life would change right then, and pry
myself away from what might quickly sink
a speeding ship -- the obstacles of strife
and danger which must be avoided, steered
around and navigated 'til my life
was in the centered channel which appeared
unreachable before I sailed from
my safety harbor to her wind-tossed sea.
And on the waves and crests, as we both come
to shared awareness and bright ecstasy,
I find a simple reason to sustain
her gaze upon my life, and there remain.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Faroes are like another world

These pictures in the Daily Mail of the Faroe Islands are truly stunning.  There are superlatives like "jaw-dropping", "mind-bending", "heart-stopping", or just the more common "magnificent", and if you choose to apply them, it's OK with me.

I'm likely never to get to this place.  There are other, more easily accessible places with fantastic sights that I hope to get to see, so in the case of the Faroe Islands, the pictures will have to do.

Are these the most dramatic islands in the world? Incredible pictures reveal the jaw-dropping ruggedness of the Faroes

Rather than use one of the pictures from the article, I'll repeat a picture from a past Lighthouse of the Week feature, Kallur Lighthouse.

It's not Velveeta Shells and Cheese

Some miners in Australia found some rocks -- rocks covered with gold.

I kid you not.   And not just some little rocks with a little bit of gold, but BIG rocks covered with a LOT of gold.

Given all the gold that we humans have extracted from the Earth, something like this is likely to be an increasingly rare occurrence.  And it's already pretty rare.

Huge gold-encrusted rocks unearthed in Australia
"The largest specimen, weighing 95kg (210lb), was found to contain more than 2,400 ounces of gold, Canadian miner RNC Minerals said.

The company said it had extracted gold worth about C$15m (£9m; $11m) from a mine near Kalgoorlie last week."
Here's some pictures of this short but impressive gold rush.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

You don't see something like this every day

Insane picture of sun dogs, halos, and arcs taken by Martin Male, over Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada, just a few days ago.

Well, there is a 'yes' in there

From the article "The Republican Charade on Roe v. Wade Just Got Unmasked", there was this verbatim dialogue between Senator Kamala Harris and illegitimate Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  (Illegitimate because he has been nominated by the illegitimately elected President Donald Trump.  That's the first time I've ever written that.  But sufficient evidence is there -- between the Russians helping and hacking, the breaking of campaign laws, and the deliberate disenfranchisement of voters in key states, Trump was elected illegitimately.)

HARRIS: But do you agree that it can do that? [ It = Supreme Court. That = overturn any precedent ]

KAVANAUGH: There are times, but there’s a series of conditions, important conditions that if faithfully applied make it rare …

Let me translate that:

So the answer, hard as it is to ferret out, is that yes, "there are times" that it can. Of course there are.

And given the chance, they will.

Blue Tsunami.  Coming this November.

The Highway 41 trek FINALLY reaches Georgia

Only a few stops left in Florida on Highway 41 -- it's a long state.  I expect to move through southern Georgia pretty fast, because it's fairly rural, without a lot of landmarks.  We'll see.

But first, we'll finish with a few more locations in Florida.

Jasper, Florida - important intersection, because 41 heads due west briefly right here. Don't miss the turn.

The Alapaha River Bridge

Jennings, Florida - by the Post Office, just to prove that's where it is

The Florida-Georgia State Line!!! Really! That's what the sign says!

The first stop in Georgia will be Lake Park.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

This could very well become a major problem

The topic of this article is quite concerning.

At water-starved Lake Mead and Lake Powell, 'the crisis is already real,' scientists say
"The Colorado River basin, which stretches from Wyoming to Mexico, has been drying out during what scientists say is one of the driest 19-year periods in the past 1,200 years. The river has long been over-allocated, with the demands of farms and cities exceeding the available water supply, and the strains are being compounded by growing population, drought and climate change.

The scientists, who say their group presents an "independent, scientific voice for the future of the Colorado River," detailed how much Lake Powell has gone down in less than two decades. By the end of this year, Powell's levels are projected to have dropped 94 feet below where the reservoir stood in 2000, when it was nearly full."

So, to sum up, more water is coming out of the Mead-Powell reservoir system than is going in. I apologize for re-stating the obvious. The result of the process is dropping water levels.  When the lakes reach a designated level, then a water shortage is declared and the per-state allocations are reduced.

No state wants that.  But all the states may have to accept that.  So why is it happening?
"Scientists have found that higher temperatures have contributed significantly to reductions in the river's flow since 2000. They call it a "temperature-dominated drought." In one recent study, scientists projected that warming will likely cause the river’s flow to decrease by 35 percent or more this century."
Ah yes.  Climate change.

We're going to keep feeling it, more and more. This could get quite real.

The Capitals, OK. But the Mystics?

The Washington D.C. area was in a collective state of sports shock when the Washington Capitals defied 44 years of incomprehensibly bad luck, heartbreaking losses, playoff collapses, etc. and managed to win the Stanley Cup, led by the finally recognized for what he is (fantastic) Alex Ovechkin.  Probably no one in the region imagined that another professional sports team with a jaded history would suddenly reverse course and make it to the championship round of their sport.

But that's exactly what the Washington Mystics (the Women's National Basketball Association team) have done. And they did it somewhat in the same manner as the Capitals did in the Cup semifinal round.  If you'll remember (if you were paying attention), the Capitals fell behind the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in the series, but rallied to win Games 6 and 7 and go to the Finals. 

The Mystics, partly due to a not-as-bad-as-feared knee injury to nothing-but-a-superstar Elena Delle Donne, fell behind 2-1 in their best of five series with Atlanta.  But Delle Donne came back after missing game 3, some less heralded players stepped up (like Andre Burakovsky did in Game 7 against Tampa) to help, and the Mystics won games 4 and 5 to make the Finals.

Oh, by the way, it doesn't hurt to have former Maryland standout Kristi Toliver on the team backing up Delle Donne.  She can downright play.  (I guess the proper term in basketball is ball. Well, she can.)

So this is somewhat uncanny.  It would be nearly the same level of incomprehensible for the Mystics to win the WNBA championship as it was for the Capitals to win the Cup.  But you can't win it unless you're in it -- the Finals, that is.

And they are.

All aboard the Washington Mystics bandwagon

So they might.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Let's just celebrate Kate Beckinsale, again

My admiration for Kate Beckinsale knows few bounds -- just search in my blog with her name to see that.  She's a remarkably skilled (and perhaps underappreciated) actress, as well as an extraordinary beauty.  Still can't figure out how former husband Len Wiseman could make enough mistakes to split them up, because there was lots of photographic evidence that they liked each other's company when they were together.

So bringing us back to the present, the Daily Mail had three articles about Kate recently, and it seems that I must bring it to the attention of my meager readership.  Not sure if you, dear readers, are as interested in her as I am, but hey, I have to give you the opportunity.

Kate Beckinsale flashes her abs in a tight PVC crop top and pencil skirt as she leads the glamour at fitness event

Kate Beckinsale looks sensational in a sparkling crimson gown as she accepts 'The Talent Award' at the 44th Deauville US Film Festival

Kate Beckinsale, 45, stuns in crop top and high-waisted dress pants as she accepts award at American film festival in France

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Highway 41, Lake City and beyond (but not to Georgia quite yet)

Next stop - LAKE CITY!

You might wonder why Lake City is so exciting. Well, if you're driving up Interstate 75 - and this becomes very important now, because Highway 41 and I-75 start to parallel each other pretty closely north of Lake City - this town is one of the last places to get off the interstate before Georgia.

However, there is not actually a lot in Lake City, tourism-wise. We're staying on Highway 41, not 441 through Lake City.

Which is why this next location caught my eye.

Chinese Restaurant - not kidding.  I'm not sure if it's great or not.  (Zoom in to see the name.  Yes, it is moderately famous.)

However, there are a couple more notable places (depending on your definition of notable) up Highway 41 before we get to Georgia.

Intersection with Interstate 10, Gateway to the Panhandle of Florida, Texas, and Los Angeles.  And Jacksonville.

Crossing the Suwannee River, just south of White Springs

The Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park includes the Stephen Foster Antebellum Museum, shown here ready for Christmas.

(For some reason, Highway 41 is also called Highway 100 in this stretch.)

By a gypsum mound.  Gypsum is a phosphate mining by-product.  The most mounds from phosphate mining are in Polk County, but obviously there are some others.

Almost to Georgia. Hang in there!

Forgot she was pregnant

Rachel Weisz, 48 years old, just gave birth to her child with Daniel Craig.

That's impressive (though she didn't surpass Brigitte Nielsen).

Rachel Weisz, 48, and Daniel Craig, 50, welcome their first child together as they reveal they are 'very happy' at birth of baby girl

Congratulations to the happy couple, because it isn't always easy to have a child under these circumstances.

Lighthouse of the Week, September 2-8, 2018: Port Sanilac, Michigan

If you think of Lower Michigan as a mitten for your left hand, Port Sanilac (map) is on the thumb on the shore of Lake Huron.  On the other side of the southern extension of Lake Huron is Canada, and at the far southern end of the lake, the St. Clair River drains the lake toward Detroit.

If Sanilac sounds familiar, it has a lot to do with milk.  Sanilac is a baby formula, and Sanalac is a powdered milk.  And that part of Michigan has a lot of dairy farms.

So let's find out more about the lighthouse.

Web site:  Port Sanilac Lighthouse (great history)

It was built in 5 months in 1886 for $20,000. A bargain.  It went automatic in 1928.

Port Sanilac, MI at Lighthouse Friends
"Situated 130 feet from the lakeshore, octagonal Port Sanilac Lighthouse stands fifty-nine feet tall and is connected to the nearby two-story keeper’s by a covered passageway. The eight-room dwelling had two, 2,200-gallon brick cisterns built beneath its kitchen that were used to collect rainwater for domestic use. Ile aux Galets Lighthouse is the only tower that resembles the one at Port Sanilac."
At the end of the Lighthouse Friends page, this status is stated:

"Carl Rosenfeld, of Carl’s Chop House fame, purchased the dwelling portion of Port Sanilac Lighthouse for $4,000 in 1928, four years before opening his popular Detroit restaurant. The tower, which still contains its Fresnel lens, was sold to the Rosenfeld family in 2000, though the Coast Guard is still responsible for the light. The light station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

In 2012, the Rosenfeld family placed Port Sanilac Lighthouse, along with a three-bedroom guest cottage, on the market for $1.599 million. The keeper’s dwelling, which was thoroughly renovated in the mid-1990s, now features three nautical-themed bedrooms, one full bathroom, a half bath, a kitchen, living room, dining room, and a Florida room added in the 1940s with a wall of windows facing the lake. The historic brick oil house, wooden outhouse, and well also remain on the property. The lighthouse, without the guest house, was still on the market in 2013 with a sale price of $999,800."
So I wondered if there was anything more recent.

And there is!

Port Sanilac Lighthouse now open to public
"Jeff Shook, lighthouse owner and Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy president, purchased the lighthouse in late 2015 and privately funded the restoration. The home attached to the lighthouse at 81 S. Lake St., is used by Shook’s family as a summer home, but the lighthouse tower will be open to the public on Fridays for tours."
So, it's possible to get inside the tower.  And based on one of my pictures below, it still has a Fresnel lens as its light source.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Panoramas at Palouse

I'll end the month with two StreetView panoramas of Palouse Falls in Washington.  Not exactly a roadside landmark, but not hard to get to, either.

Amazing place that I'd like to see in person someday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

30,000 pounds of bananas? How about 7,000 pounds of lobster?

Harry Chapin was an enormously talented singer and entertainer.  He could be humorous, too;  he write an entire song about the crash of a truck carrying 30,000 pounds of bananas outside of Scranton Pennsylvania -- an event that actually happened.

30,000 pounds of bananas - Wikipedia

The Banana Truck Crash - 50 Years Later

YouTube video, from Greatest Stories Live by Harry Chapin (the best version)

SO AFTER ALL THAT, all I really wanted to say is that if Harry was still with us today, he could write a sequel of sorts:

Truck carrying 7,000 pounds of live lobster crashes in Maine

"Authorities say the driver drifted off the right shoulder and hit an embankment, causing the truck to roll over. The driver has been hospitalized with minor injuries.  
The truck was carrying 60 to 70 crates of lobster, and traffic was backed up for hours as crews worked to clean up the crustaceans. 
Police say the lobster cannot be eaten because of how long it was unrefrigerated."
So I guess the accident could actually be termed a lobster roll.

 Practically writes itself !!

We see what you're doing, DeSantis

Florida Representative Ron DeSantis is such a big fan of Donald Trump that he fancies himself as a smaller version of the Trumpster.   And he has already got one aspect of Don's style down -- speaking in code.

Oh yeah, he denies he meant anything by it.  But it's appallingly obvious.  By saying what he says, he gets the voters he wants not just to want to vote for him, but to actually think that he's like them.  Sharing their values (if they can be called that), their beliefs, opinions, and especially, their prejudices.

So here's what he said.

'The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state. That is not going to work,' he said.

But that's not all he said.
[DeSantis] called Gillum, the Tallahassee major, 'an articulate spokesman for those far-left views' while also referring to him as a 'charismatic candidate.'

Where have we heard that kind of phraseology before? If you don't remember, it was how candidate Barack Obama was referred to.  So what DeSantis is doing here -- and don't worry, I'll support it -- is making the voters he wants think that Gillum is pretty much the same thing as Barack Obama, that he's a black man trying to act white (white people don't like that), and well, that he's not white, implying that he doesn't share the values of white people.

Support  time:

An inarticulate kickoff, by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, written in 2007.
"I realize the word is intended as a compliment, but it's being used to connote a lot more than the ability to express one's thoughts clearly. It's being used to say more, even, than "here's a black person who speaks standard English without a trace of Ebonics."

Articulate is really a shorthand way of describing a black person who isn't too black -- or, rather, who comports with white America's notion of how a black person should come across."

Or, to put it another way, it means "a well-spoken black man", by which it also means, most black people aren't well-spoken.  Meaning they don't speak like us (the white people).  Meaning that they speak a different language.  Meaning that they are members of a different tribe, a foreign tribe, a tribe and culture that is not white and American.

That's exactly what DeSantis wants his voters to think -- and by thinking that, they will have to vote for him, because he is a member of their tribe.

But wait, I'll provide a second concurring opinion.

Former RNC Chair on DeSantis 'monkey' comment: 'It's how white folks talk about black men who are successful'
“… It’s how white folks talk about black men who are successful,” [Michael] Steele said on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Steele also criticized DeSantis for calling Gillum “articulate.”

“I heard that he’s ‘articulate,’ that ‘he performs well,’ … he’s checking off those boxes. Why do you have to describe him that way?” he said. "Doesn’t happen to a lot of white candidates," he added, echoing host Chuck Todd's comment.
Steele is also black, and also successful.  He can see exactly what DeSantis is doing.

As can we all.

It's too bad we can't all tell him that trying to emulate Donald Trump is a very bad idea.  But I'm hoping the Florida voters -- the ones that aren't in the Tribe of Trump -- will send DeSantis a message he needs to hear and understand.

(One way of stating the message is this:  "Shut up and get out.")

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, August 26 - September 1, 2018: Holland Harbor, Michigan ("Big Red)

Since there is a lot of information about this famous lighthouse, I'll excerpt from the Lighthouse Directory first:
1936 (light tower added to the 1907 fog signal building; station established 1872). Active: focal plane 52 ft (16 m); flash every 10 s, alternating red and white. 45 ft (13.5 m) square cylindrical steel-clad wood tower with lantern and gallery (1936) mounted on a 2-story steel-clad brick fog signal building (1907); 250 mm lens (1932). Entire building painted red. The 6th order Fresnel lens (1907) is on display at the Holland Museum. The second (1907) lighthouse was relocated in 1937 as the Calumet Harbor Breakwater South End Light in Indiana. The building was painted a buff color for the first four decades of its life; it acquired its trademark red in 1956. In 2005, the lighthouse was offered for transfer under NHLPA; the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission was the only applicant. In February 2007 title to the lighthouse was transferred to the Commission. By 2012 the lighthouse had faded to Big Pink; it was repainted for free by Lamar Construction using donated paint and supplies. Located on the south pier at the harbor entrance in Macatawa, west of Holland.
Big Red Lighthouse Web page from Holland, Michigan's Web site.

Holland, Michigan locator map (Google Maps)

Lots of pictures!

From Fine Art America by Michelle Calkins

It's cold there in the winter

Collectible 1

Collectible 2 

The Fresnel lens that used to be Big Red's light

Mount Etna is back in action

With Kilauea volcano cooling off after decades of activity and a final (apparently) climactic rift zone eruption that burned and buried a bunch of houses, it's time for another volcano to get hot.  (Of course, there are active volcanoes all around the world, all the time.  But it's more fun to find one that has reactivated.)

In this case, the volcano is Sicily's world-famous Mount Etna.  Put simply, there is activity in the summit craters again.

Sicily's Mount Etna Erupts, Spews Lava Chunks and Ash

Picture from a distance:

Florida towns and springs on Highway 41

Highway 41 and 27 are the same highway for awhile out of Williston.

Archer, Florida Historical Society Railroad Museum

There isn't much in Archer, Florida, especially right on Highway 41, so I turned off for a block to look at the Archer Historical Society Railroad Museum.  It must mention Bo Diddley, because this is his home town.

Newberry, Florida, by the Post Office

Approaching freight train

The train disappears!

Pretty spring flowers on the side of the highway.

High Springs

On the map it looks like you can drive to the High Springs Museum right here. But I don't see it. So instead, get something sweet at the Secret Garden Bakery inside the Wisteria Cottage.

Since we're in High Springs, there's another famous springs just off the road, which we'll visit: Ginnie Springs. StreetView doesn't get close enough to see them from a road, so we'll use a couple of panoramas. First, Route 340 / South State Highway 236 does go by Poe Springs Park, but you can't see anything through the trees.

Natural side of Poe Springs

And here's Ginnie Springs.

What Ginnie Springs looks like underwater. (Didn't expect that, did you? Neither did I.)  This is the big spring, the Devil's Ear.  This is one place that you can do one of the world's most dangerous sports -- cave diving.

Santa Fe River Bridge, just north of High Springs.

Next stop - LAKE CITY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It matters where it erupts

No, not that rash you've been worrying about.  This is on the topic of  volcanoes and Earth's climate.

Volcano eruptions at different latitudes impact sea surface temperature differently

"Analysis of the simulations indicates that the Pacific features a significant El Nino-like warm SST anomaly 5-10 months after northern and tropical eruptions, with the Nino3 index peaks at the winter of next year.

Compared with northern eruptions, the warm SST anomaly is mainly confined to the eastern Pacific with a stronger intensity following tropical eruptions. Following southern eruptions, the Pacific shows a weaker warming anomaly over the eastern Pacific and the time at which the Nino3 index reaches its peak is about 4 months earlier than that after northern and tropical eruptions."

I find that intriguing.

Just to remind us all what a volcanic eruption looks like (in this case, Indonesia's Mount Bromo):

Not going as well as the last Test

England is playing India in the third Test of their five-Test series, and unlike the last, close Test that they won at Edgbaston, this time they haven't done very well.   They don't have any great batsmen, and that means they have to rely on their bowling, and if they can't get the best batsmen on the other side out, then they're sunk.

Tomorrow (as I write this), they'll be sunk.  They need 210 runs -- a lot -- and they're down to their last wicket.  And when that happens it means their bowlers are batting, so 210 is pretty near to impossible.

After this one is over, England is going to have to do some serious thinking about how to improve the batting of what's called the top of the order -- the guys who specialize in batting and not bowling.  If they don't, they'll be sunk -- again.

Here's the basic problem:  in their first innings, India's star Kohli had 97 runs, and Rahane had 81.  In their second innings, Kohli had 103 and Pujara had 72.   In England's first innings, the most any batsman had was 39.   In their second innings, Stokes had 62 and Buttler had his first "century" (over 100, he finished with 106), but after that, the best run total was 30.  That won't do it.

They need someone like Kevin Pietersen at his peak (but not when he wasn't).

England vs India, RECAP – Third Test, day four: Jos Buttler hits maiden Test century but tourists need just one wicket for victory on final day

Another sonnet: "when the Earth moves"

When the Earth moves

She sees me as I am, and as I hope
to be for her — enthralled, extended and
in special state — this reason to elope
is when two lives accede to life's demand,
the combination of a fervency
akin to passion in the broader brand
of love, creating seismic urgency
in a receding world as waves expand
and flow in convoluted forms, some spiked
and sharp, or in sonorous rolls, a grand
event of incoherency — the striked
tremendousness of nature breaks my band
and forms enduring bonds in distant lands
that rise above what once were coastal sands.

A sonnet for Anaïs


She has so many aspects that I like
that I cannot begin a lengthy list
while unaware of miles I would hike
before I finished it! I have not kissed
her lips, but I admire them; her eyes
are feline and hypnotic; she is long
and lithely slender, fit as a prize
awarded for decathlons  so both strong
and feminine, seductive, without know-
ing that she is. I only see her rare-
ly, so I'll never get the chance to show
what she inspires  I could not even dare
to make a soft suggestion, so I must
release this verse to quell my pining lust.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Next stop on Highway 41: Williston, Florida

Next stop on Highway 41 in Florida, heading north, is Williston, Florida.  Here's Main Street, which is also Highway 41, of course.

Just outside Williston is the Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring:

Here's what Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring looks like on the inside.

If you like lighthouses... you might like this

As you may have noticed, I feature a lighthouse from somewhere around the world as the Lighthouse of the Week.  Lighthouses are unique features of the world's coastlines, and they commonly end up in extraordinarily scenic locations.

Well, here's some more (and a book to go with it):

Fascinating pictures show some of the world's most stunning lighthouses

Here's one of the lighthouses in the article;  I got a different picture of it.  This is the Ko Sichang, aka Ban Tha Thewawong lighthouse, Thailand.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

It's probably over

I don't know if you've been paying any attention to the fissure eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, but if you haven't, after a few weeks in which a pretty large amount of lava was pumped out (by Kilauea standards, not necessarily what Mauna Loa is capable of), the fissure eruption waned quickly and shut down.  As each day passes, it's less and less likely that it will restart, which could mean the end of an eruptive sequence that began in 1983. 

It's been a very eventful run, and resulted in the destruction of many homes, the natural paving-over of a great black sand beach (that I visited a couple of years before it happened), and a couple of fatalities, unfortunately.  And it also provide a huge volume of volcano pictures featuring flowing, glowing fountains and rivers of lava, as well as chunky a'a flows, lava lakes and ponds, spectacular and varied ocean entries, lava bench collapses, and a lot of acidic vapors. 

I've collected several pictures, and to note the apparent (not for sure) ending, here's the Fissure 8 cone on June 30th, in full flow.

Lighthouse of the Week, August 19-25, 2018: Chiram Hang, Busan, South Korea

With the Little League Baseball World Series underway, and Major League Baseball is in the playoff run, this lighthouse (which I hadn't heard of before), seemed appropriate.  It comes from Korea, the world's home of creative lighthouses.

This one is called Chiram Hang, and it's on a breakwater for a harbor north of Busan, which is on the southeast coast of South Korea.  (Here's a map.)

So here's what my guiding light (ha), the Lighthouse Directory, has to say.
"2011. Active; focal plane about 11 m (36 ft); green light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round tower shaped like a baseball bat. Next to the tower are sculptures of a baseball and a baseball glove."
Well, that pretty much gives it away.  Here's a very short article about it:

"Baseball City" Busan lights up a baseball bat-shaped lighthouse

All they need now is a gigantic box of Cracker Jack to go with it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thought I remembered her

As is my wont, I was perusing the articles in the Daily Mail when I spotted this one about British soap opera actress Kara Tointon:

Kara Tointon cups her prominent belly as she joins boyfriend Marius Jensen at The Festival premiere... months after sparking engagement rumours

When I saw her name, I thought I remembered writing something about her in my blog.  And I was correct about that -- I did, way back in 2009.

Cute Soap Opera Actress Appreciation Day #2  (that never really did catch on)

In this most recent article, she looks suspiciously like she's been pregnant for a few months, and fortunately for that supposition, she has a boyfriend who could have supplied the male contribution to the formation of the zygote.

I'm such a romantic.

Oh, final thought: In that 2009 article, I linked to an FHM article about her, but that link doesn't work now.  So I found what was in it elsewhere.

Kara Tointon Sizzles in Burlesque

Since it hasn't been officially announced, we'll just have to wait and see if an announcement is forthcoming. 

One thing's for sure

One thing is certain for Crystal Palace in this year's Premier League season.

They'll win more games and score more goals in their first seven games than they did last year.

(That's because at the beginning of last year's season, a season in which they finished a remarkable 11th place, they started 0-7-0 and didn't score a goal.)

In the opening game of this season, they defeated Fulham by a score of 2-0.  So they've won a game and scored two goals already.

It's a step, at least.

Fulham 0-2 Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp give hosts reality check on Premier League return as Eagles soar in opening day London derby

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, August 12-18, 2018: Phare de Gatteville, France

On the Cotentin Peninsula, where Cherbourg is located, on the coast west of the Normandy beaches where the Allies landed on D-Day, is the Phare de Gatteville, a big and tall lighthouse.  The nearest village is Barfleur. (Barfleur is cute.)

It has it's own Web page;  if you mainly speak and read English, click right here.

If you read and understand French:

What are the important characteristics?

From this Web site, the significant information:   "Built between 1829 and 1834, the Gatteville lighthouse is the second highest in France, with a height of 75 metres. Climb the 365 steps and admire the magnificent panorama of the Saire as well as the English Channel."

75 meters is around 230 feet or a little higher, so yes, it's tall.

There are videos, if you are interested feel free to search for them.  Below are some selected pictures.

On Highway 41: Dunnellon

North of Inverness, Florida, is Dunnellon, Florida.  And there is a very interesting location really, really close to Highway 41 in Dunnellon.

First, going into Dunnellon, we cross the Withlacoochee River.

Just up the river from this crossing, the Withlacoochee joins the Rainbow River.  Don't forget that.

Because just 3.7 miles up the road (I checked), turn off Highway 41 onto Southwest 81st Place Road, and ride over to the Rainbow Swimming Hole.  This is where the Rainbow River starts, and is a great place to start a tubing trip down the clear waters of the Rainbow River.  Which is something that a lot of people in Florida do.   (Picture example here.)

And here's a StreetView panorama of the swimming hole.  This is one of the most accessible of Florida's famous springs.  There are more north of here.

After cooling off in the swimming hole, the next stop is Williston -- and another spring.  I'll get there quickly.

Hot engineer

Lindsey Morgan plays youthful engineering whiz Raven Reyes on the CW Network's post-apocalyptic show The 100.  Below is how she appears in the role of Raven.

In this role, Lindsey's youthful sexiness, as well as her great smile, are not exploited to their fullest extent, which is probably in keeping with the tone and theme of the show, but which is definitely not taking advantage of all of Lindsey's attributes.

Which is probably good for Lindsey's career, because it proves that she's more than just a great body and fabulous smile.

Did I mention she has a curvaceous figure and stunning smile?

Yes, I guess I must have.

Seriously sexy

See?  Great smile!

Smile + sexy together