Saturday, June 29, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, June 23-29, 2019: Capo Mulini, Sicily, Italy

This one is simple; I was searching for the closest lighthouse to the volcano Mount Etna on the island of Sicily.  While there are a couple of lighthouses in the coastal port city of Catania, the Capo Mulini lighthouse is up the coast just a bit, and thus closer to the volcano.

Here's what we can learn about it, gathered from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1868. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) lantern mounted atop a square masonry building. Lighthouse painted white; the lantern is gray metallic."
Not much other history, except to say that the present lantern was installed in 1919.

The pictures are below.  I couldn't find one where Etna is visible too.

Two articles about Caroline Wozniacki getting married

Many fans of tennis, particularly women's tennis, knew that Caroline Wozniacki was not only pretty good, but also very pretty.  Her appearances in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and other glamour shots in other magazines confirmed that.  And I've noted her prettiness in a couple of blog posts here, too.

So it's no surprise that she was a very beautiful bride, too.  Articles from the Daily Mail (naturally) confirm that.

Caroline Wozniacki stuns in her regal Oscar de la Renta lace gown as she gazes adoringly at dapper husband David Lee in breathtaking new wedding snaps for Vogue

The princess bride: Stunning photos from Caroline Wozniacki's wedding show the tennis pro dazzling in a custom-made Oscar de la Renta dress as she celebrates with her guests after tying the knot with husband David Lee

Here's a teaser:

More scenic stops on Highway 41 in Tennessee

On the road again ... still in Tennessee.  Hope to make more progress up the road in coming days.

Along the scenic road:

Entrance to Foster Falls Recreation Area

Foster Falls Panorama
- there's also some climbing locations in this recreation area.

On the trail in Foster Falls Recreation Area:

Forging north next time!

Lighthouse of the Week, June 16-22, 2019: Cape Vidal, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

(Posting this a bit late, took a break from the blog)

I searched for "yellow lighthouse".  There are a few.  Most of them discovered by the search were in Iceland, but not this one.  It's on the eastern coast of South Africa, in the KwaZulu Natal province.  More specifically (click where this is linked for a map), it's in a wetland nature park up the coast from Durban.

Apparently the surroundings of the park are green and stay that way most of the year, which is why it was painted yellow for contrast.

Specs from The Lighthouse Directory:
1985. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow; lantern painted red. Keeper's house nearby.
Below are three pictures.  There are not a lot of them available, probably because it's in a nature park in Africa!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Here's a sonnet - "if we knew our destinations"

if we knew our destinations

A set determined future would be hard
to contemplate, for even what we think
would be already thought -- and if we guard
our unkept thoughts against their nascent link
to where they would direct us, still we know
that we will find where they do guide us, and
be found where we're expected. If we stow
the designations which define our spanned
existence to elude the future's grip,
like jewels on an island, we cannot
expect to e'er return upon a ship
with phantoms as its crew and find our lot
unchanged -- so we abide the winds of fate
instead of knowing ev'ry place and date.

'Bombinate' is a word. Really.

I was ruminating about words that might be useful in the English language the other day, and I came up with "bombinate".  As in "His performance was so bad, he didn't just bomb, he bombinated."

But then I checked to see if "bombinate" was a word in the English language, just in case.

And I was truly surprised to find out that it is.

Here's what it means:

Bombinate - 1. to make a humming or buzzing noise.

So, there it is, a real word.  Pretty long for Scrabble, but now you know, just in case.

She must be pretty hot

The Daily Mail had an interesting typo in a headline today.

The mystery woman must have been pretty hot, so hot that all you can say is like, "Wow, man!

And I hope Carmelo was just being friendly.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives

Somebody else had to think "Game of Thrones" tie-in when this article came across the news feed.

A Giant Severed Wolf Head From 40,000 Years Ago Has Been Unearthed in Siberia

I'll spare you the pictures. Click on the link if you want to see the head of the wolf.  The headline says "Giant" but I haven't been able to determine if it is really any bigger than modern wolves.

Instead, here's another "Game of Thrones" tie-in.

Just plain amazing

I think I missed this story when it happened.   For about four decades, scientists and Bermudans thought that the greater Bermuda land snail had gone extinct.  Nobody could find one.

Then they found a group of them living in a little back alley in the capital city of Hamilton.  Apparently they were isolated enough in that location to avoid predators (mainly other imported snails that never should have been imported) which had predated the rest of the greater Bermudan snails out of existence.

Here's an article about this amazing rediscovery in 2014.

'Extinct' Bermuda snail is found in city alleyway

Now, since they found them, scientists/conservationists have bred them back from their minimum numbers to have enough to put onto a small Bermudan islet, and hopefully reproduce into an even bigger population out there.  The islet should be free of the predators that nearly destroyed the greater Bermuda land snail.

Bermudan land snail that was once feared to be extinct until a tiny group of survivors was found in an alleyway is 'back from the dead' thanks to a breeding programme

I was hoping there would be a picture of the alley where they were found.  There is one.

Oh, you want to see what the snail looks like?

Highway 41 into a scenic part of Tennessee

Heading into central Tennessee on Highway 41.

This could get good - Highway 41 turns left here, and also becomes "Tennessee 150 Scenic".

View of Castle Rock, outside Jasper, a hot spot for climbing.

Just off the road from here is the Castle Rock Climbers Parking Lot. I don't know how to get there in a car, though.

The Turret, Castle Rock (not obtained from StreetView).

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Just found out about this amazing place

Though I have heard of Semeru volcano, and the nearby Tengger Caldera featuring active Mount Bromo in its extraordinarily picturesque volcanic setting, but I had never heard of adjacent Tumpak Sewu waterfall.  By some accounts it's the best waterfall in all of Indonesia. 

There are a few locations ahead of Java on my list of places I want to visit, but if the crazy change arose, I wouldn't mind seeing this place, too.

Here are a couple of pictures to show why.   Semuru volcano is in the background of the first one.

Hang on, Snoopy, hang on

During the Apollo 10 mission, where the crew descended toward the surface of the Moon but didn't land, after the descent stage was discarded and the ascent stage proved it could dock with the command module again, the ascent stage (still named "Snoopy", even though officially the whole lunar module was "Snoopy") was cast adrift in space.   And it wasn't tracked very well back then.

But it might have been found.

Lunar Module That's Been Floating Through Space for 50 Years May Have Been Found

Though they still aren't sure that they've found Snoopy, they're suggesting that it could be recovered.  Aside from the fact that there are probably a multitude of things that money could better be spent on, I don't know what they'd do with it, because it couldn't survive re-entry.  So would they bring it back to be a museum exhibit in space that could only be visited by a very few privileged space travelers?  I don't have an answer for that.

Here's the whole lunar module in space.  Not sure which mission this is; my guess is Apollo 9.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, June 9-15, 2019: Rocky Point, Harbour Breton, Newfoundland, Canada

I found this lighthouse because I wondered if there were any lighthouses in the world located on a place called "Rocky Point".  So there's at least one.

This is the, as might be figured out, the Rocky Point Lighthouse in Harbour Breton, which is on the island of Newfoundland and in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Here's a locator map for Harbour Breton, showing where it's located on Newfoundland.

It's a bit harder to find the lighthouse itself, so I had some help from Lighthouse Friends.

Rocky Point (Harbour Breton) Lighthouse

This site has a nice complete history.  The first lighthouse on the site burned down in 1881.  The new one (which is the current one) was built later that year.

Here is the Parks Canada site on the lighthouse:  Rocky Point Lighthouse.  This site has a lot about the construction and architecture of the lighthouse.

It's not a really tall tower, only 9 meters.

And so to the pictures.

Taking Highway 41 a little further into Tennessee

I do need to do more Highway 41 posts and make some progress.  So in this post I'll go a little further into Tennessee.

By the Marion County Park

FINALLY, another BBQ place, McElroy's Riverside BBQ.

Here's the river that makes it the Riverside BBQ, the Sequatchie River.

Jasper, Tennessee - Highway 41 takes a right turn and heads north, for awhile also named Betsy Pack Drive.

They keep finding things in Britain

I've seen a couple of recent articles about historical things that have been recently found in Britain.

In this case, they found one of the cricket clickers that the Allies used during the D-Day preparation and invasion, just before the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  That's good timing.

Ingenious clicker gadget that kept Allied troops safe in Normandy and was immortalised in The Longest Day is found a stone's throw from factory where it was made 75 years ago

It wasn't found lying around on the ground or anything - it was in the stuff that a guy from Britain who fought in the battle kept after the war.

Now, they also found a chess piece. But not just any chess piece - this is a piece from the Lewis Chessmen set. Which admittedly I didn't know anything about until I read the article.

The £1m chess piece that languished in a drawer for FIFTY years: Family is stunned to learn that tucked-away trinket is long-lost Lewis Chessman that went missing for two centuries

The newly discovered piece (this was in somebody else's stuff, in this case, the stuff an antique dealer kept) is a 'warder', which is what the rook in modern chess used to be called.

Here's a picture of the piece.

It kind of reminds me of the "Hound", Sandor Clegane, from "Game of Thrones".

End of the French: One unexpectation and one expectation

Just one I think Simona Halep is rolling, she gets ousted by an American teenager named Anisimova (but I did say to keep on eye on her, didn't I?)  So all the women's semi-finalists had not won a Grand Slam title before, and the last one standing was Aussie Ashleigh Barty, who demolished Markéta Vondroušová 6-1, 6-3.   That was unexpected (hence my subject line).

I barely even pay attention to the men's side in the French, because the expectation has been for the past more-than-a-decade that Rafael Nadal will win it.  And he did, for the 12th time, though this time he let Dominic Thiem see what it feels like to win a set.

On to the grass of July.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Really brief comments on the French Open

Halep rolling.  (Fourth round highlights)

Match of the tourney so far - Tsitsipas v Wawrinka, with Wawrinka prevailing.

(Of course, then he had to play Federer, and of course, Federer played better in two tiebreaks and took the match in 4 sets.)

USA teen Anisimova gets into the quarterfinals - against Halep. 

5 of the last 8 women are/were English-as-a-first-language speakers. That's unusual.

Surprise on the women's side:  unseeded Vondrousova defeated the 12th seed and then the 31st seed to get into the semis.  But her next opponent, Konta, still only seeded 26th, spanked 7th seed Sloane Stephens soundly, 6-1, 6-4.

Nadal is brutal to opponents on clay:  6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth round, and then 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the quarters against Nishikori, who's a pretty decent player.   The other two quarterfinals on the men's side might end up being competitive matches.

So it's Nadal vs. Fed in the semi-finals;  not something that Roger looks forward to, I imagine.

Lighthouse of the Week, June 2-8, 2019: Bass Rock, Scotland

This week's lighthouse is Bass Rock, which is an island in Scotland's Firth of Forth.  The island is most famous for its rookery of gannets, which at peak is estimated to number over 150,000.  So the island is basically a rock with birds and a lighthouse.

Here's more information about the lighthouse.

Bass Rock Lighthouse from Worldwide Lighthouses

Simple facts:  It was built in 1903, and it's 20 meters tall.

And the pictures of it (and the video) are pretty amazing.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Have you heard? Etna is erupting again

While there's always a volcano erupting somewhere, much of what's been happening since the last days of Kilauea has been rather mundane.  Oh, I know, big ash clouds are not exactly mundane if you are near or under them, but still, most of what has been happening can be classed under the category of "normal activity".

Actually, so can this.  Etna is frequently active.  The thing about Etna is, though, it is also one of the best volcanoes in the world at looking fantastic while erupting.

Here's an article:

Mount Etna erupts in Italy [actually, Sicily, which is part of Italy but hey, it's an island], sending ash and lava into the sky

Here's a video:

Here's a picture:

Another new sonnet: "slopes on the mountain"

Sometimes you have to give tribute where tribute is due.

slopes on the mountain

My own imaginings could not conceive
of marvels so phenomenal between
two lust-filled lovers—though we all believe
'tis possible to emulate their scene
(for technically it is what we all do),
to find the heights of vivid fervency
that they inspire seems far beyond the true
distressing state of bare congruency
when practiced by most citizens. Yet she
and he are far beyond our norms, astride
the realms of earth and airs of ecstasy;
and what they share we can't negate or hide
just for the reason that their acts exceed
what we believe acceptable in deed.

A new sonnet for the beginning of June: principality


It seems amazing that I once was there —
upon the steps, around the streets, indeed
existing where I could not live, for where
I looked upon these hallmarks, knew that greed
is how these denizens exist—so do
I criticize the members of this state?
No, I am not so bold, for they are few
and privileged, and for them what is great
and extraordinary to our sight
is normal and expected in their eyes
and they would not imagine that this right
is not the common state and enterprise
of anyone they know—yet for the mass
we see them as if through museum glass.