Monday, October 30, 2017

Bar Refaeli has two

Bar Refaeli, luminous swimsuit and fashion model, had her second child with husband Adi Ezra last Friday.  They named the wee tyke Elle.

Bar Refaeli and Adi Ezra welcome daughter Elle

Yes, she has two kids now. Sob.

Last minute? More like last second

Unless something drastic changes, Crystal Palace is headed for relegation out of the Premier League this season.  I think they lack the firepower necessary to win the necessary number of games and points to drag themselves out of the deep hole they're currently in.

Nonetheless, in the annals of the improbable, Wilfried Zaha's goal in the last minute of stoppage time against West Ham United ranks way up there.

It's still early.  Even though they only have four points, Bournemouth is at 7, and both Everton and Swansea City have 8.   Getting to 8 is just one win and one draw.  So, if they did that, provided the other teams didn't get any points, they wouldn't look as forlorn as they do right now.

Plus, I think the relegation battle will be more interesting than the chase for the title, as Manchester City is just really really good right now.  But things can, and do, change in sports.  We'll watch to see if they change for Crystal Palace and Man City.

Unfortunately, the team that Palace plays next is Tottenham Hotspur, who truly need a win in their attempt to stay in the top four.  

Meanwhile, Bournemouth is against Newcastle United, so Bournemouth is the underdog.  Swansea City is playing Brighton & Hove Albion; that's a toss-up.  Everton's opponent is Watford, and Watford appears stronger right now.  So I wouldn't expect Bournemouth or Everton to get more points this weekend either, which keeps the bottom of the table fairly stable.  Then there's an international break.

I'll check back in with the Eagles near the end of November.

WTA Finals serve up a couple of surprises

First of all, unsurprisingly, given the chance to win a prestigious title -- the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals championship -- Simona Halep was unable to get past Elina Svitolina, whom she had so memorably defeated in a fantastic comeback at the French Open earlier this year.  Not this time -- Svitolina won 6-4, 6-4, keeping Halep out of the semifinals.

Now, surprisingly, the semifinalists were the amazing Venus Williams, Caroline Garcia, Karolina Pliskova, and Caroline Wozniacki.    Yes, that Caroline Wozniacki.  The Wizard of Woz then proceeded to defeat Pliskova in the semifinals and Venus Williams in the final, winning the most important title of her career.  And may I say, it's about time.

Plus, even though Halep didn't make the semifinal round, she ended up with enough points to finish as the WTA's end-of-year number one ranked women's tennis player in the world.  Now, while I'm pretty sure she'd trade that honor for the French Open title she didn't win, nonetheless it demonstrates her overall skill and fortitude.  The one thing her game lacks is a killer winning shot.  Maybe she can work on that before the Australian Open.   

In past blog posts, I've picked both of these fine women tennis players to win a Grand Slam title.  Neither of them has come through for me yet.  I still hope they'll both win at least one and get their name in the history books where it'll stay permanently.


Lighthouse of the Week, Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2017: Calais, France

After discovering the Torre de Hercules lighthouse in Spain two weeks ago, when I was searching the world for a lighthouse of the week candidate, my mind mentally wandered north along the coasts of Spain and France, past Normandy, to the northern coast of France on the narrowest part of the English Channel.  So I wondered if the Port of Calais had a lighthouse, and I suspected it would.

I was right, it does.  And furthermore, on a clear day you can see the White Cliffs of Dover from the top of the Calais lighthouse.

It's a sufficient landmark to have a few pages about it.  It takes 271 steps to get to the top, and it was built in 1848.  It's 59 meters tall and the tower is octagonal. And it has a two-story lighthouse keeper's quarters at the base.

The Calais Lighthouse

Lighthouses of France:  North Coast (Hauts-de-France)  (scroll down about 2/3 of the way to the bottom and look for the picture)

Calais Lighthouse (which states it's 53 meters tall)

Here are three pictures.  Even though there are lots of pictures of this one, there aren't very many artistically-minded pictures of this one.  Best I could do was a picture of the tower illuminated by either early morning or twilight sunlight.

Sonnet for October: "beyond our reach but not our desire"

beyond our reach but not our desire

There are so many modes of curvature
that we do not remark them notably;
for we are so accustomed to their range
they simply don't surprise us visibly
when they are commonplace. It takes the strange
and wonderful to jar our brains, to cure
disinterest and complacency with stark
amazement. So we seek a spectacle
that stirs and spurs and goads, and makes us think
when basic flesh becomes a miracle
in comeliness that leads us to the brink
of unreality, we can embark
into fantastic atmospheres, the air
where we are equals and our lives are fair.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blue Planet II will be amazing

There are times I wish I could get the BBC (or in this case, BBC One) on my TV.

This is one of those times.

I wish I could watch all of Blue Planet II as soon as it comes out (the first episode airs on October 29).  Instead, I'll have to wait until it's on Netflix or something.  It looks like Discovery Channel is a partner, and the Web site might have episodes later?  We'll see.

I'll have to content myself with clips.  This clip, of trevally jacks (the "God of the Sea") catching and consuming terns on the wing shows why I really want to see every episode.

Now, if a kingfisher is a bird that catches fish, is this fish a Godbirder?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halep is ranked number one?

Since the U.S. Open (tennis), I haven't been paying much attention to tennis.  But the sport continues, and it appears that Simona Halep passed Karolina Pliskova in the points race to be currently ranked as the No. 1 woman tennis player in the world.

Well, very good for her.  Now, about those Grand Slam matches...

I learned this because I saw an article about the beginning of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) finals, which is played in a round-robin format rather than a match elimination format, like most tournaments.   Remember back a couple of years ago when a plucky Halep dismantled Serena Williams in the prelims (I think it was 6-0, 6-1), only for Serena to extract a large measure of revenge by winning the final.

In this case, Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, who is another of my favorite disappointments, both won on day two of the preliminary round-robin matches.  Note that in this round robin format, it's possible to game the system a bit and lose so that a player gets a lower seed for the final, and maybe gets to play a more suitable opponent.

WTA Finals: Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki win on day two

Interesting tidbit in the article:  " of the eight finalists are able to finish the year as world number one."

Halep better play well if she wants to stay on top.  Showing how close it is, Halep did pass Pliskova, but the second-ranked player in the world right now is Garbine Muguruza.  And as of today, former number one Pliskova defeated Muguruza 6-2, 6-2. 

Here are the rankings, if you're interested.

The unlikeliest of soccer goals

This really happened.

And it wasn't just a goal, it was the winning goal in an extremely long shootout - the shooter was the opposing goalkeeper.  Which adds to its unusualness and unlikeliness.  The game was between Bangkok Sports Club and Satri Angthong -- Bangkok Sports Club were the victors.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 22-28, 2017: Castle Hill, Rhode Island, USA

I've tried, when choosing a Lighthouse of the Week here, to choose lesser-known ones, though I have regularly featured some of the iconic lighthouses of the world.  I've been doing this for a couple of years now, and I'm frequently surprised when I haven't featured a well-known lighthouse.

This is one that is truly iconic, both because it is unusual and because of where it is located. And it is also one of the lighthouses that I have actually visited in person.

The lighthouse is the Castle Hill Light in Newport, Rhode Island.  Rhode Island, despite its size, has a lot of coastline, so it has a lot of lighthouses, too -- fifteen officially.  Unofficially, I think Newport has five:  Newport Harbor, Rose Island, Lime Rock, Gull Rocks, and Castle Hill. At least that's what it looks like on the map.

Castle Hill looks like it is a natural growth out of the rock of a coastline bluff.  It isn't tall (34 feet), so it appears to blend in with the bluff from certain angles. It is associated with the Castle Hill Inn.

There is a nice history here from New England Lighthouses, which also has a couple of interior pictures and close-ups.
History of Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, RI

Some of the highlights of the history:

  • Before the lighthouse, there was a watchtower on Castle Hill, built in 1740.
  • While the lighthouse was considered a good idea for that location, one problem was that biologist and industrialist Alexander Agassiz built both a home and laboratory there.  To build the lighthouse, the government had to "convince" Agassiz to give up some land.  He finally did, and the lighthouse was built in 1889-1890.  It was originally equipped with a fifth-order Fresnel lens.
  • The Agassiz house is now the core of the Castle Hill Inn and Resort.

OK, having covered the basics (and if you're interested, you can read the whole history), here are five pictures of this famous lighthouse/landmark.

Note human at right for scale

by Thomas Schoeller, for Fine Art America

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Deficit? What deficit?

With Republicans prepping to pass a massive, and massively ill-advised, tax cut, perhaps we should consider a voice of reason.  Not that the Republicans will.

Senate approves budget in crucial step forward for Republican tax cuts

A very significant quote from this story:
"At the same time, by agreeing to the massive tax cut, Senate Republicans have officially moved the party far away from its promised goal of ensuring that the tax plan would not add to the deficit. The White House and House Republicans had vowed that the tax cuts would be offset with new revenue from the elimination of certain deductions, but that is no longer the GOP’s goal. Instead, they have abandoned long-standing party orthodoxy of deficit reduction and are seeking a political win after months of frustration on Capitol Hill."

So, as we see, yet again the Congressional Republicans are basically empty-headed empty suits. And that's bad for the citizens of the United States.

A great picture of the great white whale

I wrote one previous article about Migaloo, the all-white humpback whale who hangs out around Australia ("More than one white whale" from 2013).

The picture in the linked article is a great picture of this natural wonder.

You're all-white, mate! Australian photographer wins prestigious international award for incredible shot of white whale Migaloo

It's great partly because most of the time, like most whale-watching, all that is seen of Migaloo is a blurry body, a back, a spout, and a tail.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Intersections on Highway 41

I took a longer break than expected to return to my pictorial trip on U.S. Highway 41, due to Hurricane Irma.  Luckily, Irma didn't do as much damage as it could have, because it went inland instead of dragging a big storm surge up the coast.  Obviously, it did some damage, but even though it was sporting a bull's-eye, the state managed to avoid the worst outcomes.  And learned a lot in the process about what could happen in those worst case scenarios.

So, now that we have returned to Highway 41, I expect to move faster.  We have a long way to go.  So the next two stops are the intersection with State Route 29, which can be taken to Everglades City, and the intersection with State Route 92, which can be taken to Marco Island.   I will note with these articles that both of them were hit pretty hard by Irma, and the water supply in Everglades City was contaminated for a time.

Photos of Everglades City post-Irma

Photos from Marco Island after Hurricane Irma (only 6, most structures seemed to hold up, and helped a lot that the storm surge was minimal)

So, now that I have not ignored the hurricane, here are the two stops.  There isn't much at the intersection with the road to Everglades City:

There isn't a lot more at the intersection with the road to Marco Island (San Marco Road), but this intersection is inside a state park (Collier-Seminole State Park), so it's a bit greener.

Next stop:  Naples. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quite fetching

Glamour model Ekaterina Zueva (Instagram: zuueva) looks like she's just out of the shower in this picture, about to completely lose her white terrycloth robe, and that appears to be a Very Good Thing.

There are lots and lots, and lots and lots, of nude pictures of Ekaterina on the Internet, and she looks good that way.  But in this case, it's the setting and the suggestion that works together to make a great shot.

Where the mud comes from

In case you haven't heard of Java's mud volcano, let me catch you up.  In May of 2006, hot mud suddenly started bubbling up on the island of Java.  A lot of mud.  You can read about the statistics in the article I'm noting here, but the interesting (and difficult to deal with) aspect of this mud volcano is that the voluminous ejection of mud has continued since then.

So the question facing the scientific community has been -- where is all this mud coming from?  Well, the answer is, the plumbing of some nearby volcanoes.  The heat below the volcanoes, likely combined with hot water, steam, and corrosive gases, keeps making mud, which flows up at the vent (now called Lusi by the locals).  The article describes how they figured it out.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption
"The researchers discovered that the scorching magma from the Arjuno-Welirang volcano has essentially been “baking” the organic-rich sediments underneath Lusi. This process builds pressure by generating gas that becomes trapped below the surface. In Lusi’s case, the pressure grew until an earthquake triggered it to erupt."
If you want to see where Lusi is, click here.   You can't miss it.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 15-21, 2017: Torre de Hercules, Galicia, Spain

Sometimes you find something completely by accident.  I wasn't even searching for lighthouses in Spain, but a weird combination of search factors led me to this one.  I won't call myself a lighthouse expert in any sense -- I admire the settings that they are found in as much as I do the structure and history of the actual lighthouse -- so I didn't know anything about this one.

I've only slightly edited down the Lighthouse Directory entry, and I will give due credit to that section of this amazing guide:  Lighthouses of Spain, Northern Galicia.  Otherwise, here's the fascinating story of Torre de Hercules, the oldest active lighthouse in the world.

Early 2nd century AD (extensively reconstructed in the late 1700s). Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 49 m (161 ft) square cylindrical stone tower, incorporating keeper's quarters, surmounted by an octagonal stone watchroom, lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted dark gray stone; lantern is black. This is the world's oldest active lighthouse, and also one of its most famous and most historic. The original construction date of the lighthouse is not known, but an inscription found near the original foundation mentions an architect known to have been active in Spain during the rule of the Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD). At that time, A Coruña was the Roman city of Brigantium. The lighthouse was abandoned during the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome, but it was put back in service by the 13th century, when A Coruña became an important port. By the 17th century, however, the lighthouse was a quaint ruin, and efforts were made to shore it up. Complete restoration had to wait until 1785, when Carlos III ordered a reconstruction. What was left of the Roman structure was patched up and encased in new granite masonry, and the tower was extended in height with an octagonal second stage and the octagonal watch room. Today the lighthouse is the symbol of A Coruña and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Galicia. It is called the Tower of Hercules because of an old legend that Hercules himself built it. In June 2009, the tower was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Parque de la Torre at the northern end of the peninsula on whch A Coruña is built, nearly surrounded by water and with a sweeping view of the open Atlantic.
Click on this line to see a map of where it is located.  To describe it in words, it's the part of Spain on the coast that is north of Portugal.  The nearest large towns are Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, and Oviedo.

Here are the pictures, and there are a LOT of pictures of this one.  I've chosen four.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eruption of Shinmoedake in Japan

The technology we have these days to see things we've never seen before, and that can go places that haven't been gone to before, and which can get much closer to things than we as humans could ever dare to approach -- well, it's pretty incredible.

I found the drone video below of the Shinmoedake cone eruption of Kirishima volcano in Japan in this article (the article has a good discussion of this event):

Kirishima in Japan Erupts for the First Time Since 2011

It's almost like being there -- "there" being a place you really wouldn't want to be.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Washington Post reports on the banana crisis

Since the helium crisis may have been alleviated by the discovery of immense helium reserves in Tanzania (I wrote about the concern in past years), we now return to the banana crisis, which I have mentioned previously.

The Washington Post just had an article about it:

Bananapocalypse: The race to save the world’s most popular fruit

"No other variety of banana combines the sweetness and suitability for packing and export of the Cavendish. If the Humpty Doo experiment [read the article] — or simultaneous efforts with conventional breeding techniques — don’t bring positive results, scientists say we could be looking at a future where bananas all but disappear from store shelves."

That would truly be a different world.

A ring around Haumea

It's amazing what can be learned from a quick occultation.  Using one of these momentary occasions when a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt passes in front of a star, astronomers have determined that this dwarf planet the size of Greenland has a ring of debris around it.

Amazing to me is that the gravity of this little planetoid is strong enough to keep the ring around it, but after all, the stuff in the ring is probably dust and pebbles.  Not much gravity is neeed to keep them in orbit.

Astronomers spot first ring around a distant dwarf planet

The actual article, written by astronomers:

The size, shape, density and ring of the dwarf planet Haumea from a stellar occultation

The Lava Beds from space

Extraordinary shot from NASA of the Lava Beds National Monument.  (I don't know if the Trump administration plans to drill for oil at this one or not;  I doubt they'd find any.)  It's actually a combination image with a Landsat 8 image combined with terrain data from ASTER (an instrument on another satellite).

Article (with a link to a bigger, unlabeled version of the image above):

Lava Beds National Monument

This is not a place I've been;  so I took a look for pictures on the ground.

This one is somewhat amazing.  Though I'd see Crater Lake first, I'd like to get here, too. They're only two hours apart by automobile travel.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Devastation hits Santa Rosa

All weekend I was reading articles and watching TV shows about the destruction and devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which is both difficult to truly grasp in its entirety, and heartbreaking. It will take years to recover and rebuild, and the island wasn't in the greatest shape to start with. If the Trump administration would take the disaster seriously, things might get better sooner, but the problem is, the Trump administration does not appear to be taking the disaster nearly as seriously as is warranted.

On the West Coast, a fire (the "Tubbs Fire") rampaged through parts of Santa Rosa, California, destroying entire neighborhoods. Once again, the scope of this disaster is nearly impossible to comprehend. There will be lot of insurance claims, and here too, it will likely take years to recover and rebuild.

On the ground, drive-through video:

Furthermore, the fire season and the hurricane season are long from over.

You can design lingerie, too!

I saw this on Basically a sash down the front, a sash across the tetas, and a collar.

I could have done that!

(Mom, is that you?)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lighthouse of the Week, October 8-14, 2017: Kallbådan, Finland

This is kind of humorous -- as I was searching for this week's lighthouse, I decided to see what other lighthouses were in Finland.  It turns out that I have done one lighthouse from Finland per year  (even though the first two years were the same lighthouse, named Bengtskär).

So I'm due for a lighthouse from Finland again, and this one is posted almost exactly a year after last year's Finnish lighthouse.

So let me introduce Kallbådan lighthouse. Apparently it's also called Porkkala Light.  It's not far from Helsinki, and it's directly across the Gulf of Finland from Tallinn, Estonia.

Here's a locator map (but you'll have to zoom out to figure out where it is).  Because it is so hard to find, here are its decimal latitude and longitude coordinates:  59.868958, 24.303068.

From the Lighthouse Directory:
"1928 (lightship station established 1858). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); three quick flashes every 20 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 21 m (69 ft) square stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from one end of a 2-story stone keeper's house, all mounted on a large square stone pier."
Now, the last thing that the Lighthouse Directory says is that the lighthouse wasn't operated during the Soviet occupation of Finland, and when it was restarted, the light was automated.  So  I don't know if the picture of the lighthouse's Fresnel lens is recent or not.

Friday, October 6, 2017

With Trump, 'hard to imagine' is the norm

From the Washington Post article,

Trump’s decision on Iran nuclear deal could cause major breach with allies in Europe

A pithy paragraph, to which I added emphasis:
"Negotiators had envisioned a U.S. president who would justify staying in the arrangement as long as Iran lived up to its obligations, not a die-hard opponent who has branded the agreement an “embarrassment.” The 60-day, expedited “snapback” provision in U.S. law was designed to punish Iran quickly in the event it violated the deal and did not envision that the United States would breach it."
See, there are two cases in that paragraph in which the negotiators did not envision (i.e., they didn't think it was possible) that a President of the United States would do what Donald Trump is doing.

Indeed, there are numerous instances of Trump doing what hardly anyone would think a President would do.  Letting the EPA collapse, basically not doing what it was intended to do, which is protect the environment.  Letting the Department of the Interior give back national monuments to extractive (oil, gas, coal) interests.  Letting endangered species stay endangered, without protection.  Cutting taxes without a plan to keep the deficit under control, and emulating the Kansas disaster in the process.  Abandoning nearly the entire territory and most of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to the Hurrricane Maria disaster.  Playing a game of nuclear chicken with North Korea.  Calling racist marchers "good people".  And not really worrying about the myriad ways that Russia influenced the last election, many of those ways likely to have helped get him elected.

I could go on and on and on.  But the basic truth remains:  Trump is the Unimaginable President.

As Denzel Washington says, "God help us all."

Keegan-Wright update

The Daily Mail just had an article about Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan, the married British acting couple who are currently living separate lives due to work commitments.

Mark is apparently missing being with Michelle.  This I can understand, greatly.

Michelle is apparently enjoying the break.  This is also likely understandable, given how I might behave if I was Mark Wright and I was married to Michelle Keegan and it was the first year of being married. 

They'll be back together relatively soon.  That makes me feel good for Mark Wright, because of how I feel about Michelle Keegan.  Which is to say, worshipful.

'I can't get to her right now': Lonely Mark Wright admits desperately needing to be reunited with wife Michelle Keegan AGAIN as he works in America... after she admits 'it's nice being apart'

Quote from the article:
"The striking actress spoke to Closer magazine about their set-up, as she admitted after spending 'day and night' together last year, their distance is 'nice', in comments made shortly before she jetted away to a remote island."
Regarding spending day and night together, especially the night part -- this I can understand, greatly. 

It'll get better soon, Mark.

Break up the Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA championship ... again.

Lynx capture 4th title with 85-76 win over Sparks in Game 5

It was a close series, going to five games, the maximum.  But still, the best team (and the team that everyone recognized as the best team) won.

That's not good.  Even if upsetting a repeating champion is big news and big excitement (as when Connecticut was defeated in the NCAA tournament this past season), having so much talent on one team in a game where top talent usually wins (not enough elements of chance) -- well, it's just nigh to boring.

No argument that they're good, and the town with the dominant team is usually pretty happy about it.  But part of sports fandom is being able to hope your team has a chance -- maybe a small one, but a chance nonetheless.  In this era of dominant basketball teams, too many towns with teams know the season is probably over, championship-wise, before the first game is played.

Now, the English Premier League (soccer) has a few repeatedly dominant teams, as we well know -- but they do seem to mix up who actually wins each year, and there is a small chance, as Leicester City proved, that the element of uncertainty in soccer can play a part and let a long-shot win.

So, back to the WNBA -- it was a surprise that Elena Delle Donne actually moved from Chicago to Washington, giving the Mystics a chance to advance in the playoffs.  But the series against the Lynx showed that they really didn't have a chance to win the playoffs.

Perhaps if Tayler Hill hadn't torn her ACL in July, then the Mystics might have been able to make the series more interesting.  But in reality, a team like Minnesota has to lose talent to let the rest of the league catch up.  Who knows?  Maybe one of the Lynx will get pregnant.  That's one aspect of the women's pro sports that isn't quite the same as for men.  And of course, somebody vital to the team could get seriously hurt, which is always possible.

But unless something like that happens, we can expect the Lynx to be favored to win it all again, next year.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Might be like a painting

A lovely Russian lass, Nika Kolosova, now with an Americanized name (Nicole Ross), has an Instagram account.   She very recently posted a picture.  I commented on the picture, basically saying that it could easily be converted to a classical nude painting.

So I did.  (You've got to be impressed with the technology -- I used ConvertImage).

And while I was at it, I also tried out the 3D anaglyph generator.  For the latter, you'll need red-blue 3D glasses.  Go find some.

The two versions are below.

There's stupid, and there's STUPID

While horrible tragedies and natural disasters occupy the collective national mind, the Trumpsters are behind the scenes in Washington, wreaking havoc with common sensity.

Especially climate and environment common sensity.

(Yeah, I know there's no such word as sensity.  It just seemed to fit, like strategery.)

Case in point;  the fate of the Bureau of Land Management rule on methane capture from drilling operations, which Congress in their infinite dum-dum actually decide not to try and repeal.

So led by Cowboy Ryan "Lone Plane" Zinke, Interior is just going to go ahead and rewrite the rule they don't like.

Which is STUPID.  Like in not-getting-money-you're-entitled-to stupid.

"Environmentalists who support the BLM rule, which addresses new and existing gas wells on public and tribal lands, say fiscal conservatives should take issue with scrapping the rule as well. That’s because states, tribes and the federal government get royalty payments from oil and gas firms drilling on publicly owned lands. The more methane that is captured, the more money flows into government coffers.

“That just underscores how far outside the mainstream this administration is,” said Matt Watson, associate vice president of the climate and energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund."
A synonym for "far outside the mainstream" is stupid.

So that last quote could be rewritten to read like this: "That just underscores how stupid this administration is."  See?  Simple!

Congress decided against repealing this climate rule. So the Trump administration is undoing it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cheryl looks great... except, maybe, umm...

Cheryl (best known formerly as Cheryl Cole), who had a baby six months ago with much-younger-lover Liam Payne, walked the style runway in Paris for L'Oreal.

She looked fabulous.  And walking into the show in skinny jeans showed just how fabulous everything is again.

Except, maybe, for the lipstick.

Now, the Daily Mail writers called it bold.  And the pink on top was fun.  But the purple on the bottom, I'm sorry, it just makes her look cold (or cyanotic).

You decide.

Check her out! Cheryl displays her post-baby body in saucy slip dress and trendy plaid jacket as she struts her stuff on the L'Oreal Paris Fashion Week catwalk... marking her big return to the limelight following birth of son Bear

Monday, October 2, 2017


A couple of posts ago, in my post about Francesca Larrain using the ensuite (which might not actually be an ensuite), I then looked around for other examples.  What Francesca really was employing was a transparent shower, which is apparently a thing right now.  I'd like to stay in one with a suitable companion.  That won't ever happen, but still.

Hunting around, I found two articles about this trend.

The Latest Luxury Travel Trend:  Exhibitionist Showers

10 Sexiest See-Through Hotel Bathrooms

The one below is not in either of the lists above.  It's at the Olive Boutique Hotel, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  While I doubt it is currently taking room bookings, once the island gets working again, it might be a nice play to stay, and their economy will likely need the boost.  (This is one of the only pictures where I could find the shower stall occupied, even if the water isn't on yet.)

Like I said, it's a thing!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hard to believe

It isn't hard to believe that killer whales hunt dolphins.  And clearly, from watching dolphin and killer whale shows (many of which have been ended), it isn't hard to believe that dolphins and killer whales can jump out of the water.

But what is hard to believe is the height out of the water this killer whale hunting a dolphin achieved.

From the article:  Death dive: Extraordinary pictures capture the moment a lucky dolphin escapes by inches after killer launches aerial attack

Lighthouse of the Week, October 1-7, 2017: New Talaimannar, Sri Lanka

After last week's thematic lighthouse + storm pictures, I have returned to Sri Lanka.  The lighthouse featured this week is on the northern part of the island, and is the new version of a pair of lighthouses;  there is also an old Talaimannar lighthouse, too, which is not nearly as classical or as pretty as the New Talaimannar lighthouse.

Here's more on the New Talaimannar lighthouse:

New Talaimannar Lighthouse  (includes a map to locate its location).

And here's what the Lighthouse Directory has to say about it:

"1915. Reactivated (?); focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 5 s authorized. 19 m (62 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white. ... There are several Internet references to the lighthouse as being abandoned or "burnt out" during the insurrection. The Sri Lankan Army cleared mines in the Talaimannar Pier area in 2003-04, reopening the area to visitors."

And here are the pictures!