Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A sonnet for this late November - "the naturality"

Inspired by true events.

the naturality

Forbidden are my thoughts regarding her --
except that men do always think this way --
and social norms do not at all deter
a difference in both our times of day
for she is still alighted near the dawn
of her existence, while my life is in
its deep mid-afternoon, so like a faun
upon the fleshscape of a nymph, her skin
a realm of topophysical delight,
I dream of wandering across her slopes
and delving in her caves; although my right
of passage is prohibited, my hopes
thought lecherous, so my polite desire
can only keep the sights that I admire.

To fully understand this sonnet, it would help to be familiar with the animated movie set to classical music Allegro non Troppo.

Must take note of this

Demi Rose Mawby is maturing.  Having once looked like a somewhat cherubic 16-year-old with a devilishly curvaceous bod, she is now looking more like a beautiful adult woman with childlike features, and still with the curvaceous bod.  And she is making a living with it.

Here, in this article, she makes another public appearance, and makes the most of it.

Demi Rose puts on a brazenly busty display in a sparkling gold mini dress at star-studded beauty awards

That's a pretty accurate description, I believe.

InSight is on Mars

NASA landed another lander successfully on Mars yesterday, this one called Mars InSight.  It might not be a complete replacement for the amazingly plucky and ultimately unlucky Opportunity -- unless a miracle happens -- but it is an important scientific mission that will tell us a lot about Martian geology, provided everything works.

One of the really necessary things it did on Day 1 of its time on Mars was deploy the solar arrays.  That was a very nifty operation, so I have the 7-second video below.

More strong words from Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin is so fun to read, especially when she's going after President Donald Trump.  The only thing that makes what she says less than hilarious is the sad fact that what she says is dead solid perfectly accurate.

Take this example.

From the piece entitled "Trump's incoherence is too much -- and it's getting worse":
"As striking as Trump’s utter inability to grapple with basic problems, his staff’s unwillingness to maintain any semblance of unity and loyalty suggests they no long think it’s in their personal interest to be associated with a president who makes mincemeat of one policy issue after another. His childish inability to make hard decisions and engender possible complaints from his base makes him a hapless, inept figure. He’s not so much leading as he is meandering — with aides racing after him to prevent bigger disasters and embarrassments."
Now, given the numerous issues of import facing us, the problem I perceive is that one of those bigger disasters or embarrassments (or something that's both) might get through the haphazard Trump White House system -- and that could mean that we, collectively, will be in big trouble.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Another very pricey piece of carbon

I was going to note this topic when the diamond was about to go on sale, but that time came and went, and the diamond was sold.  The diamond is named the "Pink Legacy", and it was purchased by Harry Winston Jewelers for $50 million.

Pink diamond is bought for a record $50 MILLION by New York jeweller Harry Winston

It's about 19 carats, and it's really, really pink.  Which obviously makes it really, really valuable.

As befits an owner that can afford to buy it, they renamed it the "Winston Pink Legacy".

Here's a picture of the big piece of crystallized carbon with a little bit of an impurity. I am really fascinated by gemstones, especially the big rare ones, but seriously, that's what this is. And we as humans assign great value to its uniqueness.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 25 - December 1, 2018: St. David's Lighthouse, Bermuda

The island of Bermuda has two real lighthouses, and several other beacons and metal towers.  I know because I looked at the Bermuda page of the Lighthouse Directory.   So maybe some day I'll come back to Bermuda and feature the famous high-on-a-hill Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, but this time I'll discuss the other one, St. David's Lighthouse.

So where is it, other than on the island of Bermuda, you are asking?  It's here.  Really and truly, it's on St. David's Island.

"1879. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); two white flashes every 20 s; tower also carries flashing red and green lights that cover nearby shoals. 22 m (72 ft) octagonal limestone tower with lantern and double gallery; 2nd order Fresnel lens. ... Formerly all white, the lighthouse is now painted white with a broad red band in the center. The keeper's house is occupied by resident caretakers."
That's cool, it's a working lighthouse that still has a Fresnel lens.

Pictures below. Note that one of them is not an actual picture of the lighthouse.  And there's a bonus below the four pictures.

Bonus:  StreetView panorama at the St. David's Lighthouse.

OK, I'll answer that question

I saw this on an Instagram account (you've almost undoubtedly seen it before):

"What would you do, if you know you couldn't fail?"

I pondered that briefly, and then this thought came to my mind unbidden, but nonetheless inspired:

"Make love to Nina Agdal."

And I realized that I hadn't thought about Nina Agdal for literally weeks.  So it must be true.

A special stop on Highway 41

OK, this is important. About 1,000 feet east of Highway 41, on Vineville Avenue in Macon, Georgia, is the Allman Brothers Band Museum. (http://www.thebighousemuseum.com/)

It's the white gabled Tudor house in the StreetView below. Why is this important? Because in the band's famous hit, "Ramblin' Man", there is this lyric:

 "And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus / rollin' down Highway 41". 

Though Highway 41 goes from Miami to Lake Superior, it's a famous road in Georgia, as this demonstrates.

Also, where Highway 41 meets Vineville Avenue, though the Allman Brothers Band Museum is east (a right turn), Highway 41 goes west (left turn) on Vineville Avenue. There are other places of interest in Macon, like Mercer University and the Tubman Museum, but we're going to stay on the highway.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Insight on the election - and the economy

From "Why did Trump’s lies fail so badly? Important new data provides a clue", an opinion piece in the Plum Line, a Washington Post opinion column.

“Big, techy metros like San Francisco, Boston, and New York with populations over 1 million have flourished, accounting for 72 percent of the nation’s employment growth since the financial crisis,” the report says. “By contrast, many of the nation’s smaller cities, small towns, and rural areas have languished.” This has created a “geography of discontent” that has spawned “entrenched poverty” in the “left-behind” areas, producing “deepening small-town resentment of coastal cosmopolitan elites.”

So we should come up with a plan to employ the people who are in the languishing communities.

Like PLUGS-In, my solar energy plan.

Now is definitely the time.

On Highway 41, approaching Macon, Georgia

The next four StreetViews on Highway 41 are taken as we approach Macon, Georgia.

Crossing Echeconnee Creek (water looks a bit high)

Another creek crossing, at Tobesofkee Creek.

There's a little wetland here, this is Rocky Creek, just a very short distance from the last creek crossing. All of this flows into the Ocmulgee River to the east.

By the Overtyme Bar and Grill.

The next StreetView, in the very next Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek post, will be one of the most historically interesting stops thus far, and one directly related to the heritage and fame of Highway 41.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 18-24, 2018: Saugerties Light, New York, USA

For a little while, I've been seeking a lighthouse on a river.  Not situated at the mouth of a river where it meets the ocean, and not on a river that doesn't look much like one (much like our Maryland rivers that really resemble small embayments when the join with the Chesapeake Bay).  No, I wanted a lighthouse that's on a real river that looks like a river, and would be geographically defined as a river where the lighthouse is located.

Well, I found my first lighthouse on a river.  For a while it was decommissioned, but was recommissioned after restoration and it is a working lighthouse.  This is the Saugerties Light on the Hudson River, and as you might surmise, it's very close to the community of Saugerties.  It's situated where Esopus Creek enters the Hudson River.  (Map here.)

It's open to the public and it's ALSO a bed & breakfast.  Here are some Web sites:

Saugerties Lighthouse (official site)

Saugerties Lighthouse, New York (Lighthouse Friends)

Information excerpts from the Lighthouse Directory:
1869 (station established 1836). Reactivated (inactive 1954-1990); focal plane 42 ft (13 m); white light occulting every 4 s. 46 ft (14 m) square cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story brick keeper's house. The building is unpainted red brick with white trim, lantern and gallery painted black. ... The lighthouse deteriorated after being deactivated and was on the point of being lost when the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy purchased it (for $1) in 1986. In four years the Conservancy restored the building and brought it back to life. In 2018 the Village of Saugerties used federal grants to restore and rebuild the seawall and bulkhead protecting the lighthouse.

OK, so that's the basic information, now for the pictures (and a short video).  The last picture is a visually interesting panorama.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Highway 41 in Georgia, near Warner Robins

Yesterday I looked at how far the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek has to go, and it's a LONG way.  But north of Warner Robins (where we are in this post), it enters the environs of Atlanta and Civil War country.  In fact, Highway 41 passes very close to a major Civil War battlefield.  You'll find out which one and where when we get there.  But before that, there are some quite interesting landmarks and historic sites along the way.

So today, we are in Warner Robins, where there's a major Air Force base.  The trek will take a side trip there.  And there is an interesting spot here in this city, too.

Perry, Georgia. It's a little bit confusing here to stay on Highway 41. In downtown Perry, the General Courtney Hodge Boulevard, which is Highway 41 entering Perry, splits in to Main Street and Commerce Street. Main Street is numbered Highway or Route 127, and Commerce Street runs into Macon Road, which is also definitely Highway 41. So I'm pretty sure Commerce Street is Highway 41, which is the street we're on here.

Commerce Street and Macon Road

Bahama Bob's, north of Perry

Highway 41 and Gunn Road. Highway 41 doesn't go anywhere near Robins Air Force Base, which is probably the main reason you might have heard of Warner Robins.

So I decided to go off the main road a few miles just to take a look at Robins AFB. Not much to see there, but now I've seen it.

This is a little more interesting, it's the Museum of Aviation next to Robins AFB. It's about 9 miles east of Highway 41, so worth a side trip.

The next main city is MACON.

What should really be on Mitch's door

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently posted a picture of his office door, and it's even the top banner image on his Twitter account.  You can go take a look, if you want.

I felt that the door needed a clearer message about the status Mitch has in this country, so I redid the right panel for him.

Now it's much clearer.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

This is not a very exciting part of the Highway 41 journey

As I noted when this StreetView journey began, one of the main thoroughfares that took over much of the traffic that formerly had to travel on Highway 41 was Interstate 75.  And through Georgia, Highway 41 and I-75 stay very closely intertwined.  In this post of the journey, you will see why.  We are now north of Pinehurst, GA.

Crossing under Interstate 75

Unadilla, Georgia - Highway 41 at Borum Street

I'm bored, so I turned off Highway 41 to see Trico Gin and Peanut. Unfortunately, I'm still bored.

Highway 41 crosses under Interstate 75 again

Highway 41 crosses under I-75 again, on the approach to Perry!

As you might expect, the next destination is Perry, Georgia.

More rains from hurricanes - due to climate change

It stands to reason (even though climate change deniers can rarely be considered rational) that with more water vapor in the atmosphere due to warming global temperatures -- which there is -- weather systems which involve rain would be able to create more precipitation.

And apparently, they do. This is not a surprise, but it's a good confirmation.

Climate change has intensified hurricane rainfall, and now we know how much
"Today, we know that Harvey wasn’t an outlier. A new study, published Wednesday in Nature by the same lab, reports that climate change intensified the rains of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria by between 4 and 9 percent. The researchers predict that future warming could increase rainfall totals for the most extreme hurricanes and tropical cyclones by up to 30 percent."
So, more now, and even more later -- potentially causing more flooding, and thus more dangerous conditions, and thus a higher likelihood of fatalities.

Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which cause Earth's temperature to increase, cause more bad weather. And that sure isn't part of a hoax or a conspiracy, it's a fact.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When even the Russians who got you elected don't like you

This article in the Daily Mail caught my attention:

Russia hits out at US 'unpredictability' under Trump, saying it is causing 'deep global concern'

"The Kremlin hit out at the 'unpredictability' of the United States under Trump, saying it was causing 'deep global concern'.

'The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is no secret to anyone,' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd TV today during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Singapore.

'Such unpredictability from the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, is the subject of deep global concern,' he added.
Does the phrase "hoist by their own petard" seem appropriate about now?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two amazing pictures of Jupiter from Juno

Some of the best pictures I've seen from this mission - and that's saying a lot, because I've seen quite a few great shots.  But these are really, really special.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 11-17, 2018: North Foreland, Kent, UK

England has a lot of history.  England also has a lot of lighthouses.  And thus, a lot of England lighthouses have a lot of history.

As one might expect, a lighthouse that guides ships into the estuary of the Thames River (that's the one that flows through London) would have quite a bit of history.  And it definitely does. In fact, according to the Web site I found about this one, the first year there was a light set up at this location was 1499.   We just missed the 500th anniversary back in 1999.

This site is all about English lighthouses, so here's a whole page about the North Foreland Lighthouse.

Extracting a few morsels of information about this one:

"Later in 1636 the first lighthouse was constructed, a wooden octagonal tower, 2 storeys high with a Iron coal burning grate on the top. The timber tower structure was completed with lathes and plaster. This was destroyed by fire in 1683."

The new 1691 lighthouse burned coal. They switched to oil in 1793. They put a lantern house on it in 1890.


"Octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, attached to two 2-story keeper's houses."

The height of the tower is 26 meters.

Pictures also indicate that it is close to Kingsgate Castle, of which I have a picture below, too.

Kingsgate Castle.  North Foreland lighthouse is at far right.

A sonnet, contemplating the reasons for taking chances

swing for the boundary

What kinds of risk are those that we can find
acceptable? For some of us wish not
e'en scant amounts of danger, with a mind
for safety by the simplest path to plot
toward lands of soft serenity. Yet that
is not the way of those who see the face
of nervelessness as when they take the bat
into their hands and man the crease, the space
where they can fully fail, yet if they swing
and hit and run, they have a chance to win --
and for that to occur, their offering
is courage and their penalty akin
to endings, brutal or sublime, the fate
that all must face though none shall know the date.

Highway 41 in Georgia, north of Cordele

A few stops traveling north of Cordele.

Vienna, Georgia

Dooly County High School, Home of the Bobcats

Pinehurst, Georgia

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I want to try durian - but not fly with it

I wrote a few posts ago about how I'd like to try the strange Indonesian fruit durian. It's the fruit with the big spiky outer hull, big enough to kill someone if it dropped on them, and containing an interior edible "custard" that smells horrible but which aficionados claim is one of the world's great flavors.

Well, I knew from previous reading that no one likes someone with durian traveling on a bus with them.  From the article below, we find out that this general rule applies to airplanes as well.

Overwhelmed passengers abandoned an Indonesian flight crammed with 2 tons of a notoriously smelly tropical fruit
"According to a reporter Boyke Ledy Watra with Indonesia's national news agency, Antara, several passengers were so overwhelmed that they were "almost coming to blows with flight crew members."
EWWW.  (And yum!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It really is there

I like Google Maps (as you might guess from my end-to-end, eventually, Google StreetView journey on America's Highway 41.

So this interesting article in the Daily Mail (of course) caught my eye.

Water we REALLY looking at? Stunning Google Earth image appears to show a plane submerged under the sea seven miles off the coast of Scotland

After reading the article, I went to Google Maps, and found the location, and zoomed in.  Then I grabbed the satellite image and put it right below.  Just zoom in on the right side of the image and you'll see it too (it's the white spot).

It has a perfectly reasonable explanation, of course.  But it's still a little bit weird.  Also, weirdly enough, it's brighter in this linked image below than it is on the Google Maps site.

On Highway 41, through Cordele, Georgia

On Highway 41, going through the town of Cordele, Georgia. 

Google Maps says this is "Carter's Hamburgers", but the sign says "Carter's Fried Chicken".

Cordele, Georgia: Highway 41 and W. 12th Avenue

Another view of downtown Cordele

Off the highway eight miles: Georgia Veterans State Park, Lake Blackshear. It's the first stop on the SAM Shortline train (see below).

SAM Shortline Excursion Train, https://samshortline.com/ - goes through some noteworthy places, like Plains, Georgia.

Crisp County Courthouse (also in Cordele)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Dawn mission is over

After orbiting Vesta and then Ceres, the first time one human-built spacecraft has orbited two different astronomical bodies, the Dawn spacecraft has gone quiet because the exhaustion of its maneuvering fuel meant that it couldn't point its antenna at Earth.

Amazing mission, and we learned a lot, but the highlight was figuring out that the bright white deposits on Ceres are made of salt.

So, good night and good flight, Dawn.

Mid-term 2018 election results, first thoughts

Well, it came out about as expected -- which is good for Democrats.  Unfortuately, the Rethuglicans added a couple of seats in the Senate, partly due to the overwhelming numerical advantage that they had regarding vulnerable Democrats in majority Republican states.  But the Democrats have carried the House, so I can post this:

Governorships - good news and bad news.  The baddest news is that DeSantis won in Florida, which along with Rick Scott's Senate win, makes me feel very bad for the people of Florida.  Good news -- a Democratic win in Kansas, ending the run of nutty Republicans starting with Sam "Banana Republic" Brownback.  Wisconsin is still close as I write this, but Evers is leading over Walker, who I would definitely like to see out of office. 

I can still write more on this, and will.  But as for now, the Democratic win in the House means a lot of the crazy, boot-licking partisans that headed up House committees are out of the chairman's seat. And that means there should be some real oversight now, something the country badly needs.

One final comment, and note that I said it here first.  Even though the Republicans added seats in the Senate, they were expected to at least retain their majority, and maybe add to it, which they did.  But Donald Trump clearly hurt the party, and that has invoked the House flip.  Coming up soon will be more revelations from Robert Mueller's investigation, and many pundits (and I as well) think there are going to be some serious charges and statements from him that are going to make Donald look pretty bad.  So, I think, if in post-election analysis it can be determined that Donald is a net liability for the party, malfeasant Mitch McConnell will give Nancy Pelosi a call and ask how soon the impeachment proceedings can get started. 

The game is afoot.

Nearly insane

Roughly every 3-4 days, the Daily Mail has an article about Elizabeth Hurley wearing a bikini (or sometimes less).

Obviously one of the reasons that the tabloid's Web page has devoted readers, such as me, is that some of their articles are precisely about this basic subject.  The names may change, but it's basically beaches, bikinis, bodies, and boobs.

Which is not a problem.

Elizabeth Hurley has a great figure and is phenomenally fit at age 53.  If she wants to keep demonstrating her fit figure, she can go right ahead and provide pics to the Daily Mail.   The one below is from one of the most recent articles ("Elizabeth Hurley, 53, sets pulses racing as she performs sexy striptease to showcase her incredible curves in paisley print bikini on Maldives break").


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, November 4-10, 2018: Ákra Doukáto, Lefkas, Greece

First, before we get to the description and spectacular pictures of this lighthouse, a bit about the name.  This lighthouse is on Lefkas (also known as Leucas) island, and there's another lighthouse on the island named Lefkáda. But I saw some pictures of the lighthouse I'm featuring here labeled Lefkáda. But this is on the lighthouse on Cape Doukáto, which can also be spelled Dukato. Confused yet?

I will also note that this is surprisingly only the fifth lighthouse from Greece I've featured, and three of them were all on Crete.

So, let's get to it.  Basic specs from the Lighthouse Directory:   "1890. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. ... The light station stands atop a spectacular cliff at the southern tip of Lefkáda, commanding a view of the islands of Ithiki and Kefalloniá. According to legend the poet Sappho leaped to her death from this cliff around 570 BCE."

So there you have the description and the legend. Now, is it a spectacular cliff?

Yes, yes it is.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Proceeding north through central Georgia on Highway 41

More sights to view on Highway 41 as the trek heads toward Warner Robins.

Crossing the West Fork of Deep Creek, with a little bit of forest.  It's a very brief respite from the Georgia farm fields.

Highway 41, by the Turner County Nursery,

Arabi, Georgia, Post Office and Country Store.

Crossing Cedar Creek.

The next trek sector will be Cordele, Georgia, which has a very interesting and historic feature for tourists.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 28 - November 3, 2018: Laem Phra Chao, Thailand

This week's lighthouse is one of the fanciest I've seen - partly because it's also a monument. It was built for the 50th anniversary of the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  The lighthouse is Laem Phra Chao, and I even have a nice map that shows where it is.

Here are the basic stats from the Lighthouse Directory.
"1996. Active; focal plane 94 m (308 ft); white flash every 9 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with an ornately decorated gold top, rising from a 1-story building.  ...  Located at the southernmost point of Phuket Island"
And it's open to the public - you can climb up to the fancy gold top.

Two more pictures below.  I couldn't find a lot (one site has several), despite Phuket being a vacation/resort destination and the easy public access.

This one is real big if you click on it

Two good fortune cookie quotes to play the game with

You know the game. Add "in bed" to the end of the fortune from the fortune cookie.

I recently got these two:

Your happiest days are ahead of you ...

A challenge will bring forth your finest abilities ...

Dang, sounds like fun to me! (So first I've got to get a date.)