Saturday, April 30, 2016

Has Petra got a new man?

I've always liked Petra Nemcova, for her looks first, and then her courage after the Indonesian tsunami (which killed her boyfriend at the time, and she had to spend hours in a tree with a broken pelvis), then her looks again as she represented Ultimo.  And she's had a few romantic relationships since, but nothing stuck.

Well, she might be seeing how a champion Formula 1 race car can act as a boyfriend.

Lewis Hamilton is seen leaving Berlin hotel with supermodel Petra Nemcova morning after sitting side-by-side at Laureus World Sports Awards

Of course, they could just be good friends.  We'll see.

Daily Mail makes an interesting mistake

I look at the Daily Mail almost every day.  It covers the gamut from tragedy to triumph, science to society, plus boobs and buns.  Not a bad mix.

But I had to do a screen capture of a headline that they ran a couple of days ago.  Here it is:

Think about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

One of my favorite things

Girls wearing white shirts are truly one of my favorite things, especially when the photographs are good.  A few years back I did a post on this theme (though some of the links don't work any more).

Well, time to revisit that theme.  This post was motivated by Tillie Feather (also known as Tillie Model), a gorgeous Brit model who poses in everything, everywhere, and frequently in nothing, too, and looks good in any look.

Having got me started, here's a few more in this desirable genre.

Bar Refaeli

Blake Lively

Kate Upton

Miranda Kerr

Nicole Kidman

Selena Gomez, in the "Can't Keep My Hands to Myself" video

Another view of beautiful Bar

10 ways to tell climate deniers are losing an argument

Today I tweeted out 10 ways you can tell a climate denier is losing a scientific argument about climate change.  Here I compile them for easy reference.

1. Their responses get shorter.

2. They try to change the subject.

3. They start calling you names.

4. They mock people instead of discussing science.

5. They invoke economics or philosophy as scientific motivations.

6. They bring up unrelated data.

7. They repeat previous fully-refuted statements.

8. They block you from responding.

9. They insularly congratulate themselves within their own tribe.

10. They cite the same people over and over again.

Monday, April 25, 2016

First in a series: amazing wives

First in a series about wives who have successful lives, sometimes have kids, and look amazing doing it.

This one's about Jessica Alba.

Jessica Alba swaps billion dollar empire duties for bikini fun as she kicks of 35th birthday celebrations in Hawaii

Wow.  Just plain wow.

Was this smart?

If I were Hillary Clinton, I would have accepted the endorsement -- and still pointed out where the Koch Brothers are wrong.  If they still endorse you after you do that, you're definitely better than what the Republicans are offering.

Hillary Clinton REJECTS support from multi-billionaire Republican donor Charles Koch, saying she's 'not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science'

"In a scathing attack on Trump and Cruz, Mr Koch said he could not back either candidate unless they backtracked on some of their controversial policies.

The businessman singled out Cruz's vow to carpet bomb ISIS in the Middle East and Trump's ban on Muslim immigrants as policies he could not support.

'That's gotta be hyperbole, but I mean that a candidate - whether they believe it or not - would think that appeals to the American people. This is frightening,' Mr Koch said."

I agree -- and I've never said that before about anything the Koch brothers have said.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Did you see the big sunspot?

There was a big sunspot on the otherwise blank face of the Sun in mid-April.  I saw it once with a pair of solar-viewing sunglasses (which I hope to put to very good use next year).    But I didn't look at it with a solar filter telescope, like "mborman", who posted this striking picture of the spot:

Here's a site that has other pictures from the ground, and a short animation.

Giant sunspot turns toward Earth

Lighthouse of the Week, April 24-30, 2016: Crisp Point, Michigan

Moving up the coasts of the Great Lakes, I chose the Crisp Point Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Superior, specifically the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Crisp Point Lighthouse is just west of the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at the eastern end of Lake Superior.

Here's a history.  The lighthouse was completed in 1904.

I couldn't find a picture of the lighthouse in winter, but I imagine winters there are pretty fierce.  Here are three in other (milder) seasons.

Palace gains the FA Cup final

Well, despite having a "rough go" in the Premier League since January, Crystal Palace will have a shot at the FA Cup title after defeating Watford 2-1 in the semifinal at Wembley.  Given the Premier League disappointment, winning the FA Cup would be a great highlight for the season (and the American investors).

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: Conor Wickham heads Eagles into first FA Cup final since 1990 after Troy Deeney had cancelled out Yannick Bolasie opener at Wembley

Unfortunately they have to play Manchester United, who has definitely got more talent, and who after a slow start has been playing well in the Premier League lately (and they defeated Crystal Palace handily a few days ago).   So winning the FA Cup could be a long shot.  But in this year of long-shot Leicester City in the lead in the Premier League with four games to go (but not a sure thing), clearly anything is possible.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Oh, I just like this word so much

I like this word: décolletage.

So what does it truly mean, and where does it come from?

(Of course, there will be an instructional illustration.)

dé·colle·tage (dā′kôl-täzh′)
1. A low neckline on a woman's garment, especially a dress.
2. A dress with a low neckline in front.
3. The area of a woman's body that is exposed when a garment with a low neckline is worn.
[French, from décolleté, having a low neckline; see décolleté.]

So there you have it, definitively. Now for the illustration.

I knew there was a reason I liked this word so much. Thanks to Michelle Keegan for the visual demonstration of its meaning.

Palace looking ahead to the FA Cup Semifinal?

Crystal Palace played a forgettable game against Manchester United on Wednesday, losing 2-0. They might be looking ahead to what is probably their highlight game of their year, the FA Cup semifinal against Watford on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Given the disappointing course of their season thus far, getting into the FA Cup Final would be somewhat of a balm on their hurts. (Winning it would be even better, of course.)

If they win (not a sure thing, certainly), they'd play either Everton or the aforementioned Man U. in the final.

Here's the semi-final fixture "schedule" - it's pretty simple.

UPDATE:  Manchester United defeated Everton 2-1 on Saturday, so the winner of Crystal Palace v. Watford gets to face them -- and they're playing fairly well right now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Popocatepetl acting up

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano is always moderately active, but it has apparently entered into a more powerful phase of moderate activity.  On the night of April 17-18, it had a big explosion that covered many surrounding villages with a good coating of ash.

Here's the video.  It gets bright and hot at about the minute mark.

Christy Turlington runs another marathon (plus a picture)

The Daily Mail had an interesting article about former supermodel Christy Turlington running her fifth marathon, and why she does it.  Turns out she almost died during childbirth, so now she's an activist for better maternity care around the world.
Now, Christy at the height of her career was astoundingly sexy.  So I included one of the most astoundingly sexy pictures she ever took, which makes it (astoundingly sexy)2.

Lighthouse of the Week, April 17-23, 2016: Sombrero Key, Florida

Sombrero Key isn't your typical round cylindrical land-based lighthouse.  Instead, it's a steel frame screwpile model situated on top of the titular key, and a landmark for scuba diving on one of the biggest and best reefs in the Middle Keys.   The lighthouse itself dates back to the Civil War era.

Sombrero Key Lighthouse (at Lighthouse Friends)

It's a neat lighthouse, as it is situated above the beautiful waters of the Florida Keys. I included a map to show where it is located.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A place I haven't been (yet)

Even though I haven't been to Oregon's Crater Lake (I did fly over it once, though), it's a place that I am definitely going to try real hard to visit.  In lieu of that, though, for now I drove around the Rim Drive with Google Street View looking for views of the lake.  Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of places on the Rim Drive where it is actually close enough to the rim to see the lake.  See the bottom two for two locations where it is visible.  The top one is a view of "The Watchman", a peak that's on the rim of the crater;  at the top the overlook views the lake's Wizard Island cinder cone close up.

Science and romance in a sonnet

This one was fun to write.

Let's get physical 

Spectacular attraction -- far beyond
the norm which noted lovers could expect
between their planetary selves (a bond
resembling basic gravity's effect
because it operates at any range,
grows stronger with proximity, and will
not ever cease to pull). And yet our strange
entanglement is more -- a force that still
exists inside the orbitals, within
the nucleus, between the quarks -- so strong
that it cannot be gauged, a basic spin
on certainty that will remain as long
as stars shall fuse, for we are so entwined
that our distinctness will be undefined.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Play ball !

In honor of the beginning of baseball season, I give you Izabella Goulart playing paddle ball on the beach.

It's that time of the year.

Just heavenly! Victoria's Secret model Izabel Goulart sizzles in a teeny bikini as she plays paddle ball on the beach in Brazil

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Needed that

The Crystal Palace Football Club got their first English/Barclays Premier League win yesterday - in April.  Not exactly a great start to the new year.  But it's probably enough to insure they won't be relegated.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Norwich City: Jason Puncheon scores crucial goal to give Alan Pardew first victory in 15 Premier League games

Lighthouse of the Week, April 10-16, 2016: Milwaukee Breakwater Light, WI, USA

I decided to head up the Lake Michigan coast from Chicago, where I had a Lighthouse of the Week a couple of weeks ago.

This lighthouse was only recently turned off (according to Wikipedia), and is currently under private ownership which intends to renovate it (also according to Wikipedia).

This is correct;  here's the Web site for it -- The Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse

Here's more info about, from U.S. Lighthouses:  Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse

A couple of facts about it:  it was built in 1926, and it is made of steel plates on a steel frame, to resist the occasionally powerful Lake Michigan wave action (like the picture below taken by Tom Wright).

Here's a couple more, under calmer conditions.  The third one looks back at the city.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The simple SCOTUS vacancy rant

OK, I'm sick of the righteous posturing of the Republican senators who are refusing to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Because they're quite simply lying.

What they say is... that the voters should decide who picks the next Supreme Court justice, because President Obama is a "lame duck". A "lame duck" with nearly 10 months in his Presidency left. The result of this will be a hobbled Supreme Court for nearly two years, and a couple of decisions already have shown why this is a problem.

The Washington Post editorial board said this:

Dear GOP: Stop playing politics and give Merrick Garland a confirmation hearing

First paragraph: 
"AS PRESIDENT Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the country’s second-most powerful court, to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Republican leaders immediately accused the White House of playing politics. In fact, it is Republicans who are putting politics above their essential responsibilities. Mr. Garland should get confirmation hearings, and after those a straight up-or-down vote. Any political damage Republicans endure for refusing will be self-inflicted and well-deserved." 

Now, if they would just admit it ... if they would just say, "we don't want a Democratic President who we haven't liked and have tried to obstruct at every turn since he was elected, picking a justice that will change the makeup of the Supreme Court in terms of its conservative advantage, and since we're the party running Congress and the Senate, we can just tell him to bug off", then at least they'd be honest about it.

Because here is the question I'd like to ask them and see if they could answer it honestly. Because there's only one honest answer. And if they answered ANY OTHER WAY, they would most certainly be lying.

Here's the question.

"If the President was a conservative Republican, would you hold hearings on his Supreme Court justice nominee, under these same circumstances in an elecion year?"

If they said "NO, we still wouldn't", they'd be totally lying. The only honest answer to this question is "YES, of course we would". (Historical precedent bears this out, by the way.)

If there was a conservative Republican president in office now, and the election circumstances were looking like they do right now (advantage Democrats, somewhat), the Republican senators would beg the President to nominate the youngest, most conservative candidate they could find, in hopes of having this ideologue on the Court for maybe the next 60 years or so. And they'd rubber stamp him onto the Court faster than you can say Oral Roberts University Law School. (And yes, they have one.)

Doesn't matter if the young pup is qualified. Clarence Thomas can school him on how to follow the Ways of Scalia.

Now, as I was composing this rant in my head, I got confirmation of my suppositions in the form of another Washington Post article:

Key conservatives pushing Mike Lee for the Supreme Court

Lee, you'll remember, is a Republican senator from Utah, and one of the few senators that doesn't detest Ted Cruz; in fact, he was one of the few senators that supported shutting down the government in a futile attempt to "defund" Obamacare, at Cruz's behest.

Umm... he's only 44 years old. And he clerked for Samuel Alito. Not exactly Scalia, but close.

Who's suggesting him? Oh, the Heritage Foundation, for one.

And here is a short synopsis of Mike Lee's legal views (from Right Wing Watch)

"Lee is a fervent “tenther,” someone who believes the 10th Amendment to the Constitution radically restricts the authority of the federal government. As Jeffrey Rosen wrote in the New York Times Magazine in 2010, “Lee offered glimpses of a truly radical vision of the U.S. Constitution, one that sees the document as divinely inspired and views much of what the federal government currently does as unconstitutional.”

Among the areas that Lee has suggested it is unconstitutional for the federal government to be engaged in: 
Social Security,
Medicare and Medicaid,
child labor laws,
food safety,
disaster relief,
food stamps,
the Violence Against Women Act,
and, of course, the Affordable Care Act."

For the Republican senators, he'd be perfect for the job, and if there was a Republican President right now (thankfully there isn't, and this shows why), you can bet Lee would be getting a hearing if he was nominated.

So, Senator McConnell, Senator Grassley, and all you other do-nothing gasbags who say you are making this decision "on sound principle", please do me a favor and shut the f*ck up. Because it isn't principle, it's political, obviously and baldfacedly. And to lie about why you're doing it just makes you scummier and more crass than you already are.

And that's hard to do.

Erotic sonnetry for April

In springtime, the thoughts of an erotic poet turn to ...

the privilege of a beautiful woman

Her nudity -- an inspiration to
just contemplate -- it leads us to a place
where we envision joys that shall accrue
to fortunate beholders of her grace
when she presents herself in living light,
illuminating her affection with this true
enaction of an oft-repeated rite;
an act to which her lovers surely hew
(as we instinctually would). So while
we wish we could enjoy what she bestows, 
we know it is her choice whom to beguile,
seduce, and demonstrate that what she shows
devotedly means more than just her skin,
for love resides in hidden depths within.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Unfortunate news for breakfast

If you like breakfast staples like pancakes and French toast, slathered in butter (or a suitable substitute) and maple syrup, I have to relay some unfortunate news.

Maple syrup may not taste as good, due to climate change.

Climate change is coming for your maple syrup

"Selena Ahmed, a researcher at Montana State University who is spearheading the project, said maple producers have told her team that weather within the season is becoming more variable, causing more erratic sap flows and impacting quality. The vagaries of sap flow may not mean much to the average waffle enthusiast, “but what is happening to changes in quality? That’s the big research gap and consumers can relate the most to that,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed is conducting a chemical analysis of syrup from the producers in the network to see how temperature shifts affect the compounds that give maple syrup its distinct flavor."

So, it isn't certain.  But it might change.  So enjoy your French toast and maple syrup, and remember how it tastes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's just cool

It's just cool when the Opportunity rover snaps a picture of a dust devil on Mars (which have fortuitously and occasionally provided the rover with a solar panel cleaning).

Just a few days ago Opportunity caught a picture of this almost-legendary Martian phenomenon, off in the distance.  Almost like being there.

March TLT and SST: Remarkable parallels

I've been tracking the Temperature of the Lower Troposphere (TLT) and the sea surface temperature (SST) in the El Niño 3.4 zone for each month since October 2015.  I'm doing this primarily because the TLT was the cited data set that skeptics used to claim there was "no global warming" post-1998, which is when the last big El Niño took place.   Even though this claim was made with little or no grasp of the climate system, and the manifestations of climate and Earth system warming are observable everywhere and have been for years, the claim was still annoying.

Well, as we have seen, the now-clearly-waning 2015-2016 El Niño drove the TLT to never before seen high temperature anomalies.  So the next question is:  how long will these anomalies persist?

The most recent plot shows truly remarkable parallels between the 1997-1998 event and this one.  I'm really excited to see what happens in April, because if the dip in TLT after the high peak in February, (with a timing and magnitude almost exactly the same as for 1997-1998) is actually related to atmospheric circulation, the TLT might go even higher this month.  The cold snaps of early April may be indicative of a lot of energy in the atmosphere from the El Niño heat, so it's possible.  But much of the month remains to take place.

So here's the plot.  Note that this month's TLT anomaly is only about a hundredth of a degree lower than the 1997-1998 event's highest temperature.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The fall of Nicklas Bendtner

Once upon a time, Nicklas Bendtner seemed to have it all as a sportsman.  He was young, he was in love, he was a hot soccer player, he had a baby with a gorgeous incredibly rich woman, he was an important prospect for Arsenal -- sky was (or seemed to be) the limit.

He's fallen from the stars to the Earth.

Nicklas Bendtner faces sack at Wolfsburg after former Arsenal striker is told not to turn up for training

He's only 28 years old, and still appears to be a decent player, if he could stop being a naughty boy. He's still listed on Denmark's World Cup team, so I assume he will still want to play for them.  If nothing else happens in Europe for him -- he may have burned his bridges -- he could still end up in the MLS.

Lest we forget

Once upon a time, wet T-shirt contests were all the rage.  Perhaps they still are;  I haven't been on a college spring break for a long time.   So maybe there are still lots of wet T-shirt contests going on.

The thing about a wet T-shirt contest is that it serves to display, without total baringness, the ample assets of women with ample assets.  They aren't technically nude, but given a suitably sheer and suitably soaked T-shirt, there isn't a lot of difference.  But the owner of said assets can still claim she hasn't gone starkers on a technicality.

Which brings us to Charlotte McKinney, who most definitely has ample assets.  Charlotte rose to fame by looking, but not technically being seen as, totally nude in a Carl's Jr. commercial.  And she was on Dancing with the Stars briefly.    She's also been linked romantically with Stephen Dorff and Scott Eastwood, and very very recently with David Spade.  (How Spade does that, being a skinny white guy, is a good question.  He may make them laugh.  But even after having several other A-list paramours, and also after impregnating a Playmate (the nude kind), he still gets with Charlotte. Geez.)

Which brings us back to Charlotte.  She recently appeared in a wet T-shirt.

They appear real, and they're spectacular.  Umm, David, ever hear the one about having too much of a good thing?

Charlotte McKinney in a wet T-shirt

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Crystal Palace gets a point

Crystal Palace is hanging out above the relegation zone, and given that they can't seem to win a game this year, even points in a 2-2 draw are important.  They're currently seven points ahead of Sunderland, the highest in the last three, and three points over Norwich City.

Next up is Norwich City, which is pretty important for them to strive for a win, because after that they have Everton, Arsenal, and Manchester United, which could be rough.

They got lucky this last Saturday, despite an amazing free kick by West Ham's Dmitri Payet.  Not hard to find a video replay of this one.

West Ham 2-2 Crystal Palace: Dwight Gayle comes off the bench to earn Alan Pardew a share of the spoils against his former club despite Dimitri Payet netting another stunner for the 10-man hosts

Lighthouse of the Week, April 3-9, 2016: Ferryland Head, Newfoundland, CA

For this week's Lighthouse, I revisited the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and I'm going with the bright red Ferryland (not Fairyland) lighthouse, which is on the southeastern peninsula.  The light in this one first turned on in 1871. The lighthouse itself is way out on a headland that has some decent cliffs, as you can see in one of the pictures.  It actually was out  of service for twenty years, but is now managed by Lighthouse Picnics.

Here's more about it:

Ferryland Head Lighthouse (from Lighthouse Friends)

"Ferryland Head Lighthouse was declared a Recognized Federal Heritage Building in 1991, while the dwelling was made a Municipal Heritage Building in 2006. In 2012, the lighthouse itself was transferred to the town of Ferryland, which already owned the keeper's dwelling."

Great swimmer, great smile

I still have to do my own personal recap of the NCAA swimming championships, which on both the men's and women's side featured some amazing swims.  The women's team race was close, too -- decided by a false start in a relay.  I'd like to finish that off this week.

But while watching the women's championships, I was struck by how pretty Cal's Rachel Bootsma was.  Superb smile.  Bootsma has announced she's going to retire after the Summer Olympics, which as this sport goes is starting to be unusual.  But she already has Olympic gold and won the 100 backstroke for the third time this meet, making her a three-time NCAA champion.

Good luck to her at the Trials.  Below are three pictures that show how she combines feminine appeal with athleticism.

Friday, April 1, 2016

More big diamond news

One of the world's finest blue diamonds, the Oppenheimer Blue, is going up for auction in May. It's expected to get bought for 26.5 million and 31.3 million pounds ($38 million and $45 million dollars).

It's going to be up for auction along with the blue De Beers Millennium Jewell 4 Diamond, which might go for 25 million pounds (around 35 million dollars).

I don't think I'll be bidding on either. It'd be nice to see them on display, though.

Rare blue Oppenheimer diamond dubbed the 'gem of gems' is set to fetch £31million when it goes under the hammer in May

Six more Samanthas

I posted six reasonably famous women (including a fictional character) named Samantha a few posts ago.   So now here are the other six I found.

Samantha Fox - singer, model, actress, famous for both her songs and her looks.

Samantha Harris - hostess (DWTS and Entertainment Tonight), mother of two, recently had a bout with breast cancer, and recently returned to ET), fitness advocate

Another Samantha Harris - Australian fashion model with an unusual look, partly because she's partly Aboriginal.  To make things more confusing, she was on Australia's DWTS.

Samantha Mathis - actress, noted for Broken Arrow and American Psycho, dated River Phoenix, most recently on The Strain on TV.

Samantha Barks - curvy actress, superb singer, came to be noticed in Les Miserables (the movie), which is the role she's shown in below. Does much stage work, too;  had a role in Dracula Untold.

Samantha Hoopes - American swimsuit model.  Hot.