Thursday, August 15, 2019

Positively spriteful


Amazing picture of electrical sprites rising over a thunderstorm.  Since the instructions are "Retweet Only", you'll just have to click below on the caption:


Captured my most detailed jellyfish sprite lightning event last night over NE Oklahoma. A good 30 or so mile wide structure almost reaching to the clouds.

Below, a picture of sprites observed from above, in space.




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, August 11-17, 2019: Osinovezckiy Lighthouse



Obviously, the Great Lakes dominate the world in terms of the number of lighthouses on their coasts.  I wondered which other lakes in the world had lighthouses, and a few do - Lake Garda in Italy, Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Lake Baikal in Russia, and this one, on Lake Ladoga, also in Russia.

It's also a good-looking classic lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Directory says:
" 1905. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 70 m (230 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. ... The light marks the west side of the entrance to the southernmost bay of the lake, leading to the Neva entrance. Located on a headland near the southwestern corner of the lake near Kokorevo, about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of St. Petersburg."
It's supposedly the eight-tallest "traditional" lighthouse in the world, however that is defined.  While the Lighthouse Directory says it's 243 feet, Wikipedia says it's only 230 feet tall.    It was also an important landmark for people desperate enough to escape across the lake during the Siege of Leningrad.

Here are some pictures:






















Monday, August 12, 2019

Oh yeah - the Ashes


After England's crazy, unlikely to the max, victory in cricket's one-day format World Cup, expectations were high that England would do great in the Test season, especially the famed Ashes 5-Test series against Australia.

Well, maybe not so much, at least not yet.

They looked OK in a warm-up test against Ireland, but they lost their top bowler, Jimmy Anderson, to injury early in the first Ashes Test and they aren't sure when they're getting him back. England proceeded to lose that first Test, and it wasn't real close.

The next Ashes Test starts on August 14.  According to the articles, England is thinking over their batting order and adding a hot bowler, Jofra Archer.

Could be interesting.


One article, 50 beaches


I saw this article on the Daily Mail Web site, of course, and I expected that of the 50 top beaches in the world that it lists, I would not have been to any of them.  Now, I am not someone that seeks out new beach experiences on every vacation (I look for different things to do, and especially breathtaking scenery if I can find it), but I have been to a few beaches.

So it turns out that I've been near a couple of them (but not actually on them), and I've actually been on three of them.    Given that I haven't visited any really exotic places, I wonder if you can figure out which ones.

Have you been to any of them?

The 50 best beaches in the world for 2019 revealed, from a horn-shaped bay in Croatia to paradise in Australia and CORNWALL - so does YOUR favourite make the cut?

I haven't been to this one, but it's one I'd like to visit - in the Seychelles.  (This is a different picture than the one in the article.)




Julia Lescova has a baby, too


A couple of posts ago I noted that Eliza Dushku, Julia Lescova, and Amy Jackson were all very close to giving birth.  Well, soon after, Eliza reported she'd graduated to motherhood, and Lescova shared her first baby picture 5 days ago as I write this.  She put hearts over the baby's face but she had a girl, if you want to check out her Instagram.  Be warned - there are also pictures of a very pregnant, very pretty woman.  That's definitely not a bad thing, but it's not appealing to everyone.

https://www.instagram.com/julialescova/

Next on the list of very pretty, very pregnant women:  Joanna Krupa.


On Highway 41 - Manchester, TN's archaeological park



Manchester, Tennessee, has a nice park adjacent to it. So that's where we'll explore next.

Entrance to Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park. This place is a bit interesting, so in addition to the entrance here, I'll include a couple of panoramas. After all, if I was making this trip for real, I'd want to see what was here.



By the river



Big Falls



Little Falls



Remains of a building



Just past the park entrance, Highway 41 crosses the Duck River that runs through the park. The Little Duck River joins the Duck River in the park. Glad we cleared that up.



Next time we'll get to Murfreesboro.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bianca Kmiec continues to amaze


She's from California and she's extraordinary.  There should be no limit on what this young woman can accomplish.

I don't know what her breakthrough into major fame is going to be, but I'm still certain there will be one.

Recent contributions from the social mediasphere:






Lighthouse of the Week, August 4-10, 2019: La Caravelle, Martinique


I've always been a bit fascinated with the Caribbean island of Martinique.  This is mainly because of the stunning tragedy of the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, which killed about 30,000 people or so, and also introduced the world to the term nuée ardente, now more commonly (and properly) called "pyroclastic flows".

However, there's a lot more to Martinique than that.  It's got beaches and resorts and scenery and French flair.  Plus, it's got Presqu'île de la Caravelle (click there to see where that is), which sounds like an island but is actually a peninsula, and on this peninsula is the best lighthouse on the island, La Caravelle.

Most of the other lighthouses are just towers, but this is a nice cute building, and it's high on a hill, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Specifications from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1862. Active; focal plane 129 m (423 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red with white trim; lantern white. Clamshell Fresnel lens in use."
Cool, another lighthouse still using a Fresnel lens.  I like that.

Pictures and drone-shot video below.




























Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Catching up on Nature's best science images - April 2019


Second one of my catch-up posts, so here's what Nature featured for April.

Hippos, haloes and black holes — April’s best science images

Just about everyone scientifically-minded in the world saw the image of the black hole, and muddy hippos are always amusing, but I have to go with this fairly remarkable image of hydrothermal mineral towers in the depths of the Gulf of California.

This could be taken in the depths of an ocean on Europa and Enceladus - and it might even look like this down below the icy crust of the moons.




Catching up on Nature's best science images


A few months ago I said I'd take a look at the images that Nature magazine picked as the best science images of the month - every month.

I somewhat forgot to do this for a few months.

So I'm catching up, starting with March and April 2019.

This post features March 2019:


Squid, spacedust and sonic boom — March’s best science images

The sonic boom image made the rounds on the various science news and social media outlets, so I won't show that one.

Instead, I'll show the lightning over Santa Barbara.  There were some storms in California.




Monday, August 5, 2019

Eliza Dushku is unpregnanted


Or something like that.

Actress Eliza Dushku and her husband became the proud parents of a bouncing bundle of baby boy joy, who they named Philip Bourne (and actually released the name fairly soon after the kid entered the world, too).  Happened around the end of July/early August.

Eliza Dushku Gives Birth to Baby Boy Philip Bourne

Lighthouse of the Week, July 28-August 3, 2019: Screw-pile Lighthouses


A thematic week (a little late).  Here are examples of screw-pile lighthouses:  real, replica, and historical.

Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge, MD (Replica)

Middle Bay Lighthouse, Mobile Bay, AL (active)

Roanoke River Lighthouse, NC (historical photo)

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Baltimore, MD (historical exhibit)

Thomas Point Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay, MD (active)


Sunday, August 4, 2019

I found out "porge" is a word


Every now and then I'll type a word that my imagination conjures up into the Google search box.  A lot of time this random created word ends being an entry in the Urban Dictionary (which has some really strange, and that's putting it mildly, entries), but every now and then my creativity comes up with an actual real English word.

The most recent example of this is porge.

This is what porge means, from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

transitive verb
Definition of porge -
-- to make (a slaughtered animal) ceremonially clean by removal of the forbidden fat, veins, and sinews according to Jewish ritual

If you want to know more, and I mean a LOT more, here's a link to the article on porging from the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906).   Not for the squeamish.

PORGING (Hebrew, בורחה, lit. "incision"; Judæo-German, "treibern" 




Who were the Polovtsians?


It occurred to me the other day, while listening (again) to Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from his opera Prince Igor, that I did not know who the Polovtsians were or are.

So this being an era when such questions can be answered, I addressed my lack of knowledge on this topic by looking it up.

Turns out that the Polovtsians are more commonly known as Cumans, because that's what the entry explaining who they were -- yes, past tense -- is entitled on Wikipedia.

It starts like this:
"The Cumans, also known as Polovtsians, were a Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confederation. After the Mongol invasion (1237), many sought asylum in the Kingdom of Hungary, as many Cumans had settled in Hungary, the Second Bulgarian Empire, and Anatolia before the invasion. 
Related to the Pecheneg, they inhabited a shifting area north of the Black Sea and along the Volga River known as Cumania, where the Cuman–Kipchaks meddled in the politics of the Caucasus and the Khwarezm Empire. The Cumans were fierce and formidable nomadic warriors of the Eurasian steppe who exerted an enduring impact on the medieval Balkans. They were numerous, culturally sophisticated, and militarily powerful."
Here's a picture of two Cuman warriors on horseback, from this article about the Cumani (which is another way to pluralize their name, I guess).





A sonnet in early August: "the difference between images and life"



the difference between images and life


In all her views — at all her sites — each time
that she provides the glory of her sheer
existence, she is never less than prime
and fine and effortless in grace and mere
perfection, so much that we might be led
to integrate this normalcy as part
of daily life if we did share a bed
with her — and if 'twas true, would we be smart
enough to recognize our fortune? I
am sorry to believe her excellence
might become seen as commonplace if eye
and mind dissolved the awesome awestruck sense
she should at all such times engender; then
I would not be so tempted with this ken.


Highway 41 near Manchester


I promised candy on Highway 41, so here it is!


Russell Stover Candy Store, Manchester, Tennessee



Crossing the Little Duck River the first time




Manchester, Tennessee downtown, by City Hall




Crossing the Little Duck River again - there's a sign that says so



Next stop, an interesting park with some pleasing sights.



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Izabel Goulart on summer vacation


Well, she won't be walking the runway in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show this year (or likely any year in the future), since this homage to lace and lust was canceled, likely because the statistically unlikely models are far out of the "normal human" range, but that doesn't mean that Izabel Goulart is retiring.

But she is currently on vacation.  Two pictures demonstrate this quite well.  There's a theme, too.

And it's not about wearing sunglasses.


























The second picture could easily be a winning entry in the Greatest Summer Vacation Picture Ever Taken contest.


This is a smart, good trend


News about another major hotel operator switching to bulk dispensers and dispensing with those little plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion.


Holiday Inn group's owner to ditch mini shampoos in its nearly 843,000 hotel rooms to save seas

According to the New York Times, this move may peeve some people who like to take home more expensive shampoos and soaps.   So bring your own little bottle if you want to take some home, right?

Are mini shampoo bottles the new plastic straw? 

(To answer the question, I think not.  I think this basically makes a lot of sense, environmentally and economically.)


The Glanzlichter photography contest


The Daily Mail alerted me to this photography contest, which although it is not billed as a nature photography contest, is in fact a nature photography contest with many different entry categories.


A family of orangutans, brawling bears and a meteor in the sand: Mother nature is captured in all its glory in top global photography contest

One thing about that headline before we proceed:  the "meteor in the sand" is not a meteor at all (if it was in fact in the sand, it would be a meteorite), but it is a rock in the sand photographed with a colorful aura of flowing water around it, so it looks like a meteor.   Glad I could clear that up.

After you've read the article, if you did, you can go to the Glanzlichter site itself and examine the contest winners in their various categories, which are listed on the left side.

They discourage downloading of the pictures (there are ways, of course), so I grabbed some of the small versions of shots I like it.  To see them larger, visit the site.
















'Underwater Garden' by Franco Banfi















'Gletschercanyon' by Jurgen Moll





















'Let's share' by Stephen Chan


Monday, July 29, 2019

Hands off, or tubes cut, Peter


Abbey Clancy is ab-normally pretty.  And very soon after having another child with dutiful (and apparently fertile) husband, now-retired footballer (soccer player) Peter Crouch, she looks abnormally amazing.

Abbey Clancy showcases her incredible post-baby body in revealing swimwear

Well, we know what that means -- hubby Crouch, looking for something to do, will spy Abbey's abnormal amazingness, and will want to resume normal marital activities as soon as possible.

And we know what happened the last time they were in this situation;  pregnancy.

Therefore, I believe Abbey -- based on her comments that their lovely baby boy wasn't exactly part of their family plan prior to his conception -- is fully within her rights to insist that Peter curtail his procreative capabilities prior to once again demonstrating his copulative compulsions.

And there are additonal bonuses that accrue from such a step.  Fare thee well, Peter.



Moving toward Murfreesboro on Highway 41


Just a couple of places to see on Highway 41 in this stretch.


Highway 41, Tennessee 2, and Dixie Highway is a mountain road; look at this hairpin turn in winter.




Pelham, Tennessee




Hillsboro, Tennessee




Near here, Highway 41 goes by the May Prairie State Natural Area, but I can't find a good view of it.


Crossing I-24


Next time we look for candy. Murfreesboro is ahead.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, July 21-27, 2019: Old Mackinac Point, Michigan, USA


When I posted StreetViews of the Mackinac Straits bridge, I discovered the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.  It's no longer an operational lighthouse, but it is a lighthouse museum, showing what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper (with quite good accommodations for lighthouses).  It also still has the Fresnel lens light.  So I think it would be worth a visit if someone is in the neighborhood.

I'll give the Lighthouse Directory a break this week and get the info directly from the Mackinac State Historic Parks Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse Web site.

Established: 1889
Years of Operation: Fog Signal completed 1890; Lighthouse completed 1892; Radio Beacon installed 1937-38; Station closes 1957
Height of tower: Approximately 58 feet from ground to lightning rod (about five stories).
Focal Plane: 50 feet
Height above low water: 62 feet
Lens: Fourth Order Fresnel
Light characteristics: Red light, flashing every ten seconds.
Distance visible: 16 miles


So, enough with the numbers, let's get to the pictures.























StreetView:


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Amazing races


There have been several flat-out FANTASTIC races at the FINA World Championships of Swimming (OK, well, Aquatics) in Gwangju, South Korea.   If you haven't heard before this, a 19-year-old Hungarian swimmer broke the long-standing 200 meter butterfly world record that was held by Michael Phelps.

Both the Australian women and the USA women broke the existing world record in the 800-meter freestyle relay, but the Australians just managed to touch out the over-achieving Americans.

Federica Pellegrini of Italy won the women's 200 meter freestyle again. She knows her distance.

Olivia Smoliga, formerly of the Chicago suburbs and the University of Georgia, won the 50-meter backstroke over somewhat-favored competition.

The woman who was in last place at the end of 100 meters in the women's 200 meter butterfly (Boglarka Kapas, another Hungarian!) won the race.  Her back-half turnover rate was phenomenal.

Katie Ledecky is ailing, but she's still Katie Ledecky.

I saved this one for last:  Caeleb Dressel powered his way to the fastest 100 meter freestyle in a normal swimsuit.

You can see it above and below the surface in the video below (and also from the roof):





Back on Highway 41 in Tennessee


I truly PROMISE to make a lot of PROGRESS on Highway 41 over the next couple of weeks.  We've been in Tennessee quite awhile.    So a few more stops along the way today.


A small lake by Hank Foster Lane.  This is just north of Foster Falls Recreation Area. Something tells me that the the Foster family was somewhat well-known in this locality.




Tracy City, Tennessee




Entrance to South Cumberland State Park




College Street, Monteagle, Tennessee - very neat and orderly.




The Depot Cafe, Home of the Bigfoot Burger (zoom in and read the sign!)


We'll get more distance on Highway 41 in two days.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Bikini models are pretty


As if we didn't know that.

Because Venus Swimwear keeps offering me ads for swimwear (I have NO idea why), I took a look at this one.

She's cute.
























Really cute.








Oh, if you want to buy this piece (actually, this two-piece):

V-wire low rise bottom


Let's have a sonnet


Here's another sonnet recently written.

If anyone cares, I started posting sonnets with illustrations on my Instagram account.   Only 3 as I write this, but I'll add more.  Tell your friends.



if you didn't think, think again

If wisdom marks the path to places we
should go, what do we call it when our acts
ignore direction from its height? The free
and unkempt will that overrides the facts
which wisdom contemplates can guide our ways
to destinations we do not expect
and situations which create a daze
of apprehension -- wisdom must correct
these vain positions to amend the place
where we have placed ourselves, yet energy
must be expended to create a face
of confidence despite the perigee
of ill-advisement which became our fate
because we heeded wisdom rather late.

Exactly what we don't want


This is interesting news, considering that Trump just agreed with Congress to do a lot of spending over the next two years -- so nobody should get complacent until the booby is voted out of office.

Now, I am an advocate of fiscal restraint, and that means entitlement reform.  But anybody who talks that kind of sense won't get voted for.  That's why Biden might be the best bet -- he could be a one-term President with a good solid VP who could run in the next election, and without having to worry about re-election, he could make the hard choices no one else is willing to make.

Trump tells aides to look for big spending cuts in his second term [perish the thought], seeding confusion about budget priorities
"Particularly troubling to budget experts is the steep drop in taxes paid by businesses under the law, which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The year before the tax law, the United States collected about $285 billion from corporate taxes — a number that dropped by more than 30 percent last year, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonpartisan organization."

About to drop


Three very beautiful women -- Supegirl's Amy Jackson, Buffy's Eliza Dushku, and goddess/model Julia Lescova -- are all due to give birth in a few days.

Just thought you'd like to know.

If you want to keep track of developments, here are their Instagram accounts:

I Am Amy Jackson

Official Eliza Dushku

Julia Lescova 

A quick inspection of recent content will reveal the truth of my words.


Friday, July 19, 2019

A StreetView view of the Mackinack Bridge


A few days ago the daily image on Bing.com featured the Mackinack race, which is a sailboat race from Chicago to Mackinack Island (basically most of the length of Lake Michigan).  This is stated to be the longest freshwater sailing race in the world.

By the way, if you don't know, "Mackinack" is pronounced "Mack-ih-NAW".

This made me wonder if the famous Straits of Mackinack bridge could be see from Mackinack Island.  Now, there are no cars on Mackinack Island, but they got a StreetView rig out their somehow.   So here is a view of the bridge from the island, and view on the bridge.  I'm saving the Mackinack Point lighthouse for next week's Lighthouse of the Week.

I'm going to get back on Highway 41 this weekend.  I still need to get to Michigan that way.


Straits of Mackinack Bridge from Mackinack Island




On the bridge.  If you turn the viewpoint of the view to the right,  i.e., that way →, you can see what I think is Mackinack Island.  At least that's where it should be.



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hey, this role should have gone to an English white guy


Indian actor Dev Patel, who's a pretty good actor, has been cast as David Copperfield.

David Copperfield was not from India.  He was an English bloke.

Now, there has been a recent outcry about someone who is of one ethnicity playing a character that is a different ethnicity.  Or a character of one sexuality (there are quite a few available now) playing a character of a different sexuality.  Or a character of one skin color playing a character with a different skin color (i.e., racial descent).

The director of the David Copperfield movie who cast Dev Patel say that his movie is "color blind". So what's wrong with that?  The biggest musical hit of the past decade has African-American (black, Negro, whatever the best term is) actors playing historical personages that were of European descent, at least in most cases.  That doesn't seem to cause a problem.

So why such a big deal in some cases, and not in others?  After all, a human actor is playing a felid (a lion) in a really big movie this weekend.  Why no major stink about that from the tigers and the leopards?  I mean, seriously ...

The point is ... actors play characters.  Sometimes they stretch and play characters unlike them.  A good actor is important to make a good movie or a good play.  A bad actor (think Sofia Coppola in Godfather III) can ruin an otherwise top-notch effort.  (Note that Sofia Coppola is an excellent screenwriter and director.)

So if a director wants to make a good movie or play, they should be allowed to cast whoever they think can act the role.  Because of the production is bad because of the acting, it doesn't matter what message is being sent or what is being portrayed -- less people will want to see it and less people will see it.  So the goal should be, and what the producers and investors want, is a movie that people see and make money.  And that requires the best actors money can pay.

I think that's simple.  So ScarJo can play whoever she wants, in my opinion. 




Lighthouse of the Week, July 14-20, 2019: Lyudao, Green Island, Taiwan


I pondered whether I had exhausted the world's main locations where lighthouses are prevalent, wondering if I would have to return to a previous locale (there are still many, many lighthouses around the world).

I realized that I had missed a large, developed island - Taiwan.  I surmised that the rocky coastal island would have a significant number of lighthouses.

I was right.  So I'll show a couple of lighthouses from there over the next couple of weeks, especially since the first one, while famous and noteworthy, isn't actually on Taiwan.  It's on an island, Green Island, just offshore.  This map shows where it is;  zoom in if you desire details.

And it also possesses a lot of history.  I'm going to excerpt a bit more than usual from the marvelous Lighthouse Directory.
"1949 (station established 1939). Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 30.5 m (100 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete keeper's cottage. Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof black. ... The original lighthouse was built with American contributions after the U.S. liner President Hoover ran aground on a nearby reef in December 1937; no lives were lost due to heroic rescue efforts by the islanders. Huelse has a historic photo showing the Nationalist President Chiang Kai-Shek visiting the original lighthouse before World War II. Sadly, the lighthouse was destroyed during the war."
It was apparently rebuilt after the war, resulting in what is there now.

So here are pictures of what is there now.






















Monday, July 15, 2019

The effect of global warming on sports


Good article, with many areas of concern for the sporting world, about how increasing temperatures are affecting sporting events, and how they may affect them even more in the future.

Athlete vs. heat
"The ACSM [American College of Sports Medicine] recommends halting any training and practice activities at 90 degrees. That’s a familiar temperature in the Mojave Desert, but Grundstein, the Georgia climatologist, led a 2013 study that suggests the entire country will be experiencing more dangerously hot days in the future and the sports world needs to ready itself.

“Expected climate change will lead to a considerable increase in the frequency of days with conditions deemed unsuitable for sports activity across much of the U.S.,” the study found.
Get used to that concept, because its reality is coming.


This year's UNESCO world heritage sites


I saw this article about the newly-designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, of course) World Heritage sites.

(Of course, the United States pulled out of UNESCO, due to our present Presidential predicament.)

From Babylon to Rajasthan, here are the newest UNESCO World Heritage sites


Places on the list that caught my eye:

VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK, ICELAND

JAIPUR CITY, RAJASTHAN, INDIA

JODRELL BANK OBSERVATORY, GREAT BRITAIN

FRENCH AUSTRAL LANDS AND SEAS, FRANCE

BUDJ BIM CULTURAL LANDSCAPE, AUSTRALIA (where an Australian aboriginal culture raised eels)

MEGALITHIC JAR SITES IN XIENGKHUANG, PLAIN OF JARS, LAOS

Here's what it says about the French Austral Lands and Seas:

"The French Austral Lands and Seas comprise the largest of the rare emerged land masses in the southern Indian Ocean: the Crozet Archipelago, the Kerguelen Islands, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands as well as 60 small sub-Antarctic islands. This “oasis” in the middle of the Southern Ocean covers an area of more than 67 million ha and supports one of the highest concentrations of birds and marine mammals in the world. In particular, it has the largest population of King Penguins and Yellow-nosed albatrosses in the world. The remoteness of these islands from centres of human activity makes them extremely well-preserved showcases of biological evolution and a unique terrain for scientific research."

Here's a picture from NASA of Amsterdam Island.

Actually, St. Paul Island is more interesting. 



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hayabusa2 lands on Ryugu


In case you hadn't heard this news, read about it and be impressed.

Japan lands spacecraft on distant asteroid to collect samples

It will be there for a few months, then take off to come home to Earth with a piece of Ryugu.

This picture shows Ryugu's surface with Hayabusa2 on approach.




Lighthouse of the Week, July 7-13, 2019: Bovbjerg Fyr, Denmark


This Lighthouse of the Week is, according to the Lighthouse Directory, one of the most popular lighthouses in Denmark.  And it still uses a Fresnel lens, too.

And it's made of red brick, quite distinctive.

Let's learn a little more about it.

It's on the west coast of Denmark, where there aren't a lot of major cities to act as reference points.  It's about the same latitude as Edinburgh, Scotland. (Click here to see where it is.)

Below, the basics:
1877. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); two long (2.5 s) white flashes every 15 s. 26 m (85 ft) round brick tower with stone trim, lantern and gallery, attached to a pair of 1-1/2 story brick keeper's houses; one of the houses is renovated as a café. The original 1st order Fresnel lens remains in use. The lighthouse is unpainted red brick with gray stone trim; lantern painted dark red to match the brick.
Below, some pictures (including the lens):








Friday, July 12, 2019

And after all, he has to help with the kids


Just read that soccer player Peter Crouch, who I've followed sometimes mainly because he is married to the luminously delectable model Abbey Clancy, has retired after a long and pretty successful career.

PETER CROUCH RETIRES: If you had told me I would get 42 England caps, play in finals for Liverpool and score to fire Tottenham into the Champions League, I would have had you locked up... I've had the time of my life


He says it's due to being relegated to limited playing time as a substitute.  But considering that he just had his fourth child with the aforementioned Abbey, maybe there was some urging on the homefront to call it a career and stay home with the tykes.  This last one (who apparently he wanted to name Divock after a championship-game-goal-scoring Liverpool FC player, but Abbey might not be on board with that) was apparently a bit of an unplanned surprise, given that they also have a one-year-old, too.





So half a brain isn't half-bad


Half-baked.  Half a loaf.  Half-assed. Half-hearted. Half-empty. Half-pint. Halfway house.  Half asleep.

Face it, there are a lot of phrases starting with "half-" that aren't exactly complimentary or encouraging.

There are exceptions:  halftime, half dollar, half price, half life -- that aren't bad, or are at least neutral.

But let's face it, half-a-brain or half-brained isn't something anybody wants to be called.  Or actually have.

Except this guy:

Doctors are stunned to discover that 60-year-old ex-soldier has lived all his life 'with only HALF a brain'

Let's grab a quote:
'Radiologists performed a computer tomography of his head and were puzzled for some time – the part of the brain of the retired man where the ischemia attack was supposed to have happened was not there at all.

'Instead of the left side of the brain there was a black "hole" in computer images.'

Specialists concluded that all his life the remaining right hemisphere of the brain had performed all the brain functions.
Well, I don't recommend doing things half-hearted or half-assed, but I guess we'll have to rethink the half-brained insult.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Indeed, we have another active lava lake


Interesting article about the new volcanic lava lake discovered in the South Sandwich Islands, which are in the middle of the remote -- seriously remote -- South Atlantic.

Rare lava lake found on top of sub-Antarctic volcano

This article includes a map, which is useful in geo-locating these islands.

Now, an issue I have with this article is that they state that Kilauea in Hawaii is one of Earth's eight volcanoes hosting a lava lake.  They are listed in it. But as of right now, Kilauea doesn't have one, because of last year's dramatic, lava-lake draining and neighborhood inundating rift eruption.  So as of NOW, there's only seven.  (It seems to me that one of the Andes volcanoes had a lava lake for awhile, but I guess that was temporary.  Looked that up;  Villarica had one for about six years, 1995-2001 and hosts one off-and-on.  But not right now.)


It's a Michelle Keegan article! Life is good!



Everyone who reads this blog regularly (are there two of you?) knows that I admire/fancy/adulate/cherish/worship British actress Michelle Keegan, and consider her husband Mark Wright one of the most fortunate men in the world for two primary reasons: one, he's a spectacularly handsome man, and two, he's married to Michelle Keegan.

Now, Michelle has settled into a couple of regular gigs as an actress following her Coronation Street days, and Mark has become a talk-show host.  This required a bi-continental relationship, which I deemed unfortunate because if I was married to Michelle, I would want the chance to admire/fancy/adulate/cherish/worship her every waking hour of every day.  The problem with the regular gig and the bicontinental relationship is that they haven't been going on vacation enough, which means that there are far less pictures of her in a bikini on the beach than in previous years, which is basically a crime against humanity as far as I'm concerned.

(OMG - I found an article about Michelle and Mark's beach vacation in Barbados.  How did I miss that?  More on this later.)

She was in an episode of the Great British Bake-Off in March of this year.  She looked great. She was wearing an apron.  What can you do?

So this all leads up to the occurrence of a Michelle Keegan article in the Daily Mail today.  Not in a bikini, but in a very short pair of shorts and a crop-top shirt.

Michelle Keegan flashes her abs in a bardot crop top and tiny shorts as she shows off her summer style in a sexy Instagram snap

Because this is a post about an article about Michelle Keegan, it also requires a picture of Michelle Keegan.  So here's one from March.  Casually gorgeous as usual.





Wimbledon 2019 women's semifinalists


Wimbledon has reached the Final Four on the distaff side:

B. Strýcová, Serena Williams, Elina Svitolina, and Simona Halep.

So the semis will be Strýcová vs. Williams, and Svitolina vs. Halep.

Strýcová has reached her first Grand Slam semifinal, just like Svitolina.  So will the Wimbledon final feature two players that have never won a Grand Slam before?

I predict that it won't be.  Serena, sniffing history, will blast past Strýcová in straight sets.  On the other side of the draw, the Svitolina-Simona match will go three sets, possibly into extended games in the third, even possibly testing Wimbledon's new final set extended tiebreaker, and Simona will lose in a heartbreaking fashion and then require IV fluids.   Serena will then embrace her historical greatness in the final.

That's just how these things seem to work out.



Friday, July 5, 2019

A deeper truth


In this Washington Post article, discussing the ongoing Trump administration efforts to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census despite the Supreme Court saying they can't, a paragraph caught my eye.
“It’s kind of shocking that they still don’t know what they’re doing,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is representing some of the plaintiffs in the case in Maryland. “We’re in this posture because they don’t know what the real plan is.”

Doesn't "they still don't know what they're doing" pretty much apply to the entire Trump Administration at this point?



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Eat more nutria


Nutria, as one might NOT expect, is nutritious, and there are recipes for gourmet nutria dinners.

Can't beat 'em, eat 'em Nutria page


Ragondin à l’Orange sounds pretty good. (Ragondin is the French word for nutria.)

Now, if you are unfamiliar with nutria, it might be surprising that I am commenting on recipes for a particular animal.  But there's a reason for this.  Nutria, you see, may be nutritious, but they don't look tasty.   That's because they look like 14-pound rats:















Another reason to eat nutria is that catching nutria in Louisiana is now more profitable.  The bounty on individual nutria went up from $5 to $6.   So now you can catch a dozen nutria, cash them in, throw them on the grill for a good home-cooked meal, and then have enough money in the pocket to eat dinner out the next night.

Which might be a tempting prospect after that gourmet nutria dish.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

About Mueller's testimony before Congress


The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin comments:

Four reasons why Mueller's agreement to testify is a big deal
"Second, while truth-telling is a benefit unto itself, Mueller’s testimony has the potential to move public sentiment. No matter what he says, he will not sway hardcore Trump supporters who believe nothing negative about their cult leader. However, it is not hard to imagine him shifting public opinion in the way that the Watergate hearings shifted public sentiment in favor of impeachment. That in turn would make it more uncomfortable for Republicans to defend him and more politically feasible for Democrats in the House to act — and then excoriate the Senate for not fulfilling its constitutional duty to remove him."

One can hope.

 Actually, a lot of us can hope.

Lighthouse of the Week, June 30 - July 6, 2019: Baily Lighthouse, Howth, Dublin, Ireland


As I noted I might be, I was inspired by a picture in my previous post to feature the Baily Lighthouse of Howth, Ireland.  Howth is a peninsular park adjacent to Dublin;  see where it is here.

Given it's proximity to, and prominence near, the city of Dublin, one would expect that lots of pictures have been taken of the Baily.  And that expectation would be correct, thus it is hard to choose just a few.  But I did that, if only to get started.

Here is basic info on this landmark lighthouse from where else - the Lighthouse Directory:

"1814. Active; focal plane 41 m (134 ft); white flash every 15 s. 13 m (42 ft) round granite tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a round keeper's house. Tower unpainted; lantern painted white, gallery rail red. 375 mm lens; the 1st order Fresnel lens used 1902-1972 is on display at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dún Laoghaire. 
This historic and famous light station, often called simply "The Baily," replaced a 1667 cottage-style lighthouse high atop Howth Head. The lighthouse is surrounded by buildings, including a 2-story principal keeper's house built in 1953 (occupied by a resident attendent), two 1892 assistant keeper's houses (sold as private residences in 1995) and a 3-story building used as a school for supernumerary assistant lightkeepers from 1973 to 1995."
So, yeah, pretty well-known.

We'll start with a drone video this time and follow that with pictures.  IN the video, never mind the misspelling.  I'm sure it's not the first time.




by Reuben Fields






You be the judge


This Daily Mail article shows several photographs from the AGORA app "Beauty" photography contest, including the winner.  Is it the best one?  Well, you can judge for yourself.

From a lion in full roar to a fairy tale forest: The top 50 stunning entries to a photo contest showing the world's beauty 

App-arently, the AGORA app lets photographers enter photographs in a multitude of contests.  So now you know as much as I do about it.  If this post gets someone interested in getting the app and entering a contest, then I am very happy to have been helpful.

Since I like lighthouses, and since I am looking for a Lighthouse of the Week for this week, the picture below, an entry in the contest, serves a greater purpose.





Monday, July 1, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, June 23-29, 2019: Lighthouses in the rain


Rather than feature a specific lighthouse this week (and I am posting this two days into the next week, but I'll catch up), this week's theme is lighthouses in the rain.   Now, tourists usually photograph them in good weather, and sunrise or sunset if really lucky and dedicated, so pictures of lighthouses in the rain are more rare.  But it does rain on the coast, and on some coasts, it rains a LOT.   So it should be possible to find pictures of lighthouses in the rain.

And there are many.  Not a huge number, but not difficult to locate, either.   So three are shown below.

Nubble lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine

















Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior, Minnesota



















Not sure where this one is, but it's moody (and a little spooky).  Reminiscent of Stephen King, who's from Maine, and where there are many lighthouses.