Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, November 24-30, 2019: Cape Finisterre, Spain

As promised, the Lighthouse of the Week this week (even though it's the last day of the week) is the lighthouse on Cape Finisterre, Spain.  This particular cape was commonly referred to as the end of the world, as it was popularly thought to be the westernmost point on the European continent (even though it literally isn't -- the westernmost point of the European mainland is Cabo da Roca, which also has a lighthouse, and I've featured it as LoTW, which you'll see if you click that link).

But Cape Finisterre is famous because it was considered the end of the world, and thus numerous people made pilgrimages there. It doesn't hurt that it's a very striking location as well.   Since it's so famous, there are a few Web pages about it, some of which I'll list below.

Lighthouse Finisterre (Cape Finisterre)

Hiking Spain's Luminous Lighthouse Way

Lighthouse Directory:  Lighthouses of Spain:  Northern Galicia

From the last one, I have extracted the basic information below:

    " 1853. Active; focal plane 143 m (469 ft); white flash every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical granite tower with lantern and gallery attached to the front of a 2-1/2 story keeper's house. Tower unpainted; lantern is silvery metallic; house painted white with unpainted stone trim.
     This is one of Spain's most famous lighthouses, standing at the end of a narrow, south-pointing promontory with a spectacular view of the Atlantic. Although Cabo Toriñana (see next entry) actually extends a little further west, Cape Finisterre is the traditional "land's end" at the northwestern corner of Spain. (Cabo da Roca in Portugal is about 16.5 km (10.3 mi) further west and is the westernmost point of continental Europe.) Cape Finisterre is the ending point of the Camiño de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a traditional route of pilgrimage that extends 90 km (56 mi) from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The lighthouse is the second most visited tourist destination in Galicia, after the Cathedral. "
And below, four pictures and a video.  Don't forget the other picture in my post two posts back, too.

The great Kate

I don't think Kate Beckinsale has ever not looked great.

But here, in swimwear, she proves she's still a hottie and a great beauty, all at once.

Kate Beckinsale, 46, flaunts her bombshell bikini body as she enjoys idyllic beach getaway

Friday, November 29, 2019

Epson Pano awards 2019

These are stunning.

Fairy-tale islands, enchanting monasteries and fog-shrouded cities: The mesmerising winners of the 2019 panoramic photography awards revealed

I chose the one below because I haven't yet chosen a Lighthouse of the Week for this week, and it will be this one:  Cape Finisterre, Spain.   Tune in for more tomorrow.

Can anything be flatter than ...

Ellie Gonsalves' torso?

You decide:

In case you are not familiar with who Ellie Gonsalves is:

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Highway 41 further north into Kentucky

A couple more sights to see on the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek, which is in southwest Kentucky, but not extreme southwest Kentucky.  There are some scenic and recreational areas to the west of where Highway 41 goes, but where it is, not so much.  I'll talk briefly about those next time.  Were this an actual trek, National Geographic-style, I'd probably detour over there.  But in the blog mode, we will stick to the main road.

You can get berries and day lilies at the Tin Barn (it says so on the sign).

Downtown Trenton, Kentucky: next to City Hall. It's the building with the flags. On the other side of the street, a lucky guy walking past the fancy street clock got himself on StreetView.

Trenton Presbyterian Church.  Looks like it has been here awhile.

Another Red River crossing.

Illustrated sonnet: "It is a simple thing to ask"

And another for today.

Illustrated sonnet: "the morning practice"

Here's another of my illustrated sonnets, also available on Instagram.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Speaking of Wales ...

My last post was about a lighthouse in Wales.  Totally by coincidence, I must mention here that for some strange reason, I was emotionally involved with whether or not the Wales soccer team would qualify for the Euro 2020 championships automatically.

I have no idea why.  (Actually, I do -- just keep reading.)  There's no way Wales will win Euro 2020;  in fact, they will be lucky to get out of the group stage.  So I'm not going to be heartbroken at ALL if they play 3 games and go home.

Wales is obviously not a big country, and they are nothing like powerful England.  So this is the third time ever (1958 and 2016) that they've qualified for an international championship tournament. The Wales team was not in the most recent World Cup.  (Neither was the USA team, of course.)

So, to get the automatic ticket, they had to beat Hungary.  And they did, 2-0.  Supposed superstar Gareth Bale assisted on the first, a header by Aaron Ramsey, who also scored the second goal.  Bale barely missed a free kick that would have been the third.

But that didn't matter, because Wales is in.

Read about the events of the exciting game here  (from the Guardian)

Lighthouse of the Week, November 17 - 23, 2019: South Stack, Wales, UK

For a place of its size, Wales has a huge population of lighthouses.  That's partly because, on my own rough estimate, about 2/3 of the country's boundary consists of coastline.  (The other 1/3 being the boundary with England.)   A quick look at the Lighthouse Directory Wales page will confirm this.  I'll probably be coming back for more.

I saw this lighthouse in a Web article about five places to visit in north Wales. Given the number of lighthouses in Wales, that makes it pretty special. And it appears to be.  And it's another one that still has its Fresnel lens.

It has a good basic Web site:  South Stack

Here's some basics:
"South Stack Lighthouse was built by Mr Daniel Alexandra (engineer) and Joseph Nelson (builder) in 1808-1809. As the picture shows Captain Hugh Evans accomplished his aim to have the lighthouse constructed, all starting in 1806 when he collected facts and figures on the relevant Holy Island coastline of maritime disasters for the next twelve months, producing them to the decision makers of the time in 1807. On this, 30-meter high summit built the now famous 27.7 meters high South Stack lighthouse."
A little additional info from the Lighthouse Directory:
"The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel crossed by a footbridge since 1828; the present bridge, built in 1997, is the third. Visitors cross the footbridge after descending 400 steps from the parking area and they must climb those steps on their return."
That should be plenty of information, so now I'll provide the pictures and a video.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What would it take ?

Tom Toles of the Washington Post shows just how hard it's going to be to convince the Senate to remove President Trump from office.

But I still hope Mitch McConnell will realize he has a better chance to keep the Senate in Republican control (unfortunate as that would be) without the drag of Trump at the top of the ballot.  Because it's looking more and more like Trump is a detriment rather than an advantage, in terms of voter preference.

New blood in men's tennis?

Eventually, the Big Three of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic will reach the point where they can't realistically win any more Grand Slam tournaments, and younger players will start winning more.  That time will be in the next couple of years, so the question now is:  who will be the dominant players in the post-Big Three era?

Staking an early reservation is Stefanos Tsitsipas, and he's new enough that I'm still not sure how to pronounce his last name.

Stefanos Tsitsipas comes of age at his first ATP Finals as Greek teen* defeats Dominic Thiem to cap off exciting London event

*Not sure who wrote that Daily Mail headline, but he's not a teenager, he's 21 years old. Indeed, he's still quite young.

Hate it when that happens

Ever been in that situation when you're having incredible sex with your wife or girlfriend, and even trying out a new position, and both of you are having a fantastic time, and then ...

her head pops off.

It can be distracting.   Hasn't happened to me more than once or twice.

This amorous buck demonstrates this particular complication to an otherwise high-class encounter.  (It's more fun seen full-screen.)

Friday, November 15, 2019

Highway 41 goes into Kentucky

So now the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek moves into the Bluegrass State.

Crossing the Red River. Must be a fun river; there are rentals for tubing and canoeing around here.

Guess what? We're entering Kentucky! If it wasn't for Mitch McConnell being a senator from this state and the Senate Majority Leader, I'd be super excited. As it is, I'm mildly stimulated.

Downtown Guthrie, Kentucky - note the faded Coca-Cola sign on the wall of the building.

This fancy house is on the intersection where Highway 41 stops going north and suddenly goes due west (as Park Street in Guthrie).

StreetView of the Bixby Creek Bridge

The Bixby Creek Bridge on California Highway 1 is iconic -- and shows up frequently in television automobile advertisements.  Or at least it used to.   I was there several years ago, and just decided to see what the StreetView of it looked like.

So here's what it looks like.  It's quite a bridge, and quite a view.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

New name for a far-out world

Because of some unfortunate associations, the original name given to the deep-space object that New Horizons visited after Pluto was replaced with a new one.   The new name is "Arrokoth".

Meet Arrokoth: Ultima Thule, the Most Distant Object Ever Explored, Has a New Name

Still looks strange. See it in 3D with red-blue glasses -- I'm sure you have some somewhere -- and this picture:

Lighthouse of the Week, November 10-16, 2019: Graves Lighthouse, Massachusetts, USA

One of America's most revered and historical harbors is Boston Harbor.  And the entrance to Boston Harbor features two lighthouses, the Boston Light and Graves Lighthouse (which is officially in Winthrop).  They are less than three miles apart, and note the location of islands that might be hazardous to ships approaching the harbor.

Graves Lighthouse is actually in private hands, having sold for over $900K a few years ago.  And there are Web sites about it:

Graves Lighthouse at New England Lighthouses

Graves Light Station (official home page)

So let's get specs:

Station established: 1905
Present lighthouse built: 1905
Automated: 1976
Construction material: Granite
Other buildings still standing: Oil house
Height of tower: 113 feet
Height of focal plane: 98 feet
Original optic: First-order Fresnel lens
Present optic: VRB-25
Characteristic: Two white flashes every 12 seconds
Fog signal: Two blasts every 20 seconds

That's a good summary.  Now below, pictures and a video.

Note:   they decorated the interior with other pieces of first-order Fresnel lenses. Read about that here.

Boston Light in front, Graves Lighthouse behind

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Marissa Everhart four ways

Marissa Everhart is a Florida-based (and Florida-born, I believe) model and personality who currently mainly represents Pelagic fishing gear between glamour shoots.  She's posed for various Playboy venues, been on the cover of at least one international Playboy magazine, and also repped lingerie brands.  Her Instagram frequently shows her either looking glamorous, or on deck with a recent catch.

Here, I chose four recent glamour shots.

Hayabusa2 leaves Ryugu, heads for Earth

This time, the Japanese mission to an asteroid got some real samples (and not just a few precious particles).

And now the final act is to come home and drop those samples back to Earth.  And it just started the long journey back.

Farewell, Ryugu! Japan's Hayabusa2 Probe Leaves Asteroid for Journey Home
"Mission controllers and with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) told the Hayabusa2 spacecraft to turn toward home at 10:05 a.m. local time Nov. 13 (8:05 p.m. EST Nov. 12; 0105 GMT Nov. 13). That command marks the beginning of the last stage of the mission, which launched in December 2014 to explore and sample an asteroid dubbed Ryugu and also included deploying several smaller robots onto the rocky body."
The return journey will take about a year, so next November, look for Hayabusa2 in the skies near you.

Rod Stewart's railroad

It turns out that Brit rock legend Rod Stewart has a secret passion:  model trains.

And he opened the doors to his train layout so the world could see it.

It's flat-out incredible.

Rod Stewart's secret hit track! After 26 years, the veteran rocker finally lets the world see his breathtaking completed model railway - a 124ft spread depicting an entire US city and inspired by the view from his childhood home

Here's one picture from the Daily Mail article linked above. Remember, this is a model.

Impeachment humor

Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post gets funny about impeachment, and the Republican view of it, in this op-ed.

Nikki Haley makes some good points about never impeaching anyone ever

1. "Impeachment is a mysterious appendix that was added to the Constitution because the Founders wanted to give people the illusion of control, like the button that claims to close the elevator doors."

2. "But also it is bad that these people tried to stop him. Even if what they tried to stop him from was doing crimes. It is not right to stop him from doing anything; he is the president (Article II says he can do whatever he likes), and it is a slippery slope to think that you know better than the president."

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Catch them if you can

The Bohemian Crown Jewels only go on display occasionally.   The last time was in January 2018.

Bohemian Crown Jewels

I don't know when they'll be on display again, so if they do and you have a chance to see them, I'd do it.  This short article (from whence I acquired the picture) says that they usually go on display every five years, so mark your calendar for January 2023.

About that crown: "The St. Wenceslas Crown - wrought of extremely pure gold (21 -22 carat), decorated with precious stones and pearls - is the oldest item of the Crown Jewels. It weighs almost two and a half kilos and, including the cross, reaches a height of 19 cm."

From "Legends of the Bohemian Crown Jewels", we have more on the stones.  "The precious stones include 44 spinels, 30 emeralds, 19 sapphires, 20 pearls, 1 ruby, 1 rubellite and 1 aquamarine ..."

If you do get to Prague when they aren't on display, which is obviously most of the time, there is still something to see -- copies of the BCJ are available for viewing instead.

Boat in the river threatens world's most famous waterfall

According to this recent article, an abandoned boat in the Niagara River upstream of the falls, which has been there for decades, made a move recently that could potentially lead to the boat going over the falls -- or getting stuck halfway down.

The boat is called the "Iron Scow".  If you type that into Google Maps, it even locates it for you.

Well, the river ran heavy a few days ago, and the Iron Scow moved.

Iron Scow dislodged; moves toward Niagara Falls 

Let's hope it stays in its new location (see below) for a long, long time.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Two birth announcements from the Daily Mail

American gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson just recently gave birth, following a miscarriage and a few concerns about the health of the unborn baby that turned out ultimately not to be problems.  And she also did it with a broken foot.  Women are tough.

It's a girl! Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and her husband welcome their first daughter two years after sharing miscarriage heartbreak

Joanna Krupa, who a few years ago was considered a contender for the MBWITW (Most Beautiful Woman In The World), also just had her first child.

Joanna Krupa is 'doing great' after giving birth to a baby girl with husband Douglas Nunes by her side

Let's sum up Lindsey Graham

The descent of Senator Lindsey Graham from a decent man (though a conservative Republican senator) into a blabbering fool serving the whims of POTUS Trump has been both fascinating and appalling to watch.  Fascinating, because it's almost inexplicable for him to act this way; appalling because of the depths to which he has sunk.

So this Tom Toles cartoon sums it up pretty neatly.

WTA Finals - Barty takes it

I first noticed that the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) finals were taking place when I read about a back-and-forth match between Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova to get into the semi-finals.  I would have liked to see this 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 match, but probably won't get the chance.  So Halep's highlight this year was obviously the Wimbledon championship.

Pliskova was the winner of the WTA match, but she didn't make it to the final, where Ashleigh Barty defeated Elena Svitolina in fairly routine fashion, 6-4, 6-3.   The match had some good points, and Barty had never defeated Svitolina before.

Barty also garnered the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, too.  That's a heck of a first year.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 3-9, 2019: Cap Camarat, St. Tropez, France

Well, I hope you've heard of St.Tropez, France.  Just down the beach from Cannes - yachts, wealthy people, babes in bikinis, really wealthy people, movie stars, expensive cars, fancy restaurants, outrageously wealthy people, topless wealthy babes in cars, etc.

St. Tropez is also located on the Mediterranean Sea coast, and it has lighthouses.  The town of St. Tropez is on the peninsula of St. Tropez, which has  a couple of lighthouses. One is the "Phare Rouge" (Red Lighthouse), on a jetty right next to the town of St. Tropez.  There's one further down the coast at Cap Bénat. There's a couple of other smaller lights, too, and some out in the gulf. But this one is in the center of the peninsula, named Cap Camarat.

There's a Web site about it.  The funny thing about the Web site is that the first picture on it is NOT the Cap Camarat lighthouse!  (It's actually the Cap Ferrat lighthouse.)

So let's use the Lighthouse Directory to get the basics:
"1837. Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a square 1-story stone block keeper's house. Tower painted white, lantern black; the keeper's house is painted buff with white trim. ... It is the second highest light in France (after the Phare de Vallauris near Cannes), and it marks a major change in the direction of the coastline south of St.-Tropez. It was strafed by Allied aircraft in 1944 but not seriously damaged."
Click here to see the location.

Here are the pictures;  I couldn't find a video, surprisingly.

Monday, November 4, 2019

A new battle for me

Up until today, I had never heard of the Battle of Vitoria.  (Make sure you spell that right, because there was never a battle of Victoria.)

It took place about 25 miles south of Bilbao, in northern Spain, during the Peninsular War, which actually I hadn't ever heard of either.   I guess I should have been paying more attention during the early 1800s portion of World History.  The battle was fought by the Duke of Wellington, who I have heard of, against Joseph Bonaparte and allies. Joseph Bonaparte was Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, and I've heard of Napoleon too -- quite a bit, in fact.  But I didn't know that Napoleon had put his brother on the Spanish throne, which was the main reason a war was being fought there -- because the British and their allies supported the Spanish rebellion against Joseph Bonaparte.

In short, during the Battle of Vitoria, Wellington's forces defeated Bonaparte's forces decisively, pretty much amounting to the end of this particular war.

If you want details, go here:  The Battle of Vitoria, 21st June 1813

OK, Tiger, that's impressive

It would seem, at this point in time, that Tiger Woods' pursuit of 18 major golf championships -- tying him with Jack Nicklaus -- might seem a bit far beyond possibility.   Now, given the number of great golfers in the world now compared to when Nicklaus was playing, and the fact that when Nicklaus showed up his combination of distance off the tee and skill on the greens gave him a BIG advantage that took the rest of the world awhile to catch up, I don't think it's fair to compare what Nicklaus did to what Tiger has done to determine the "greatest golfer ever".  So much has changed -- and remember that just generally, because equipment made it possible to hit the ball further, many golf courses had to lengthen their holes just to keep up -- that comparisons are quite difficult.  Suffice it to say that Tiger has been the best of the post-Nicklaus era, by far.

But still, Tiger would probably like to be the number one golfer for something, and this week he got closer to being number one in terms of the number of PGA events won in a career.  That number is 82, and he tied that number, held solely by Sam Snead until then.  And considering again how many great golfers there are now, compared to when Snead was playing, it's an amazing accomplishment, both in terms of winning and longevity (and Tiger had to take a break for his extramarital adventures and his injuries both).

Tiger accomplished this feat, tying him with Slammin' Sammy, at PGA tour event in Japan. And though not everybody on the tour made the trip, it's not like he beat a group consisting entirely of no-names;  Hideki Matsuyama was second and Rory McIlroy was a couple of strokes back, too.

So, though you might not need the additional recognition that tying the PGA win mark brings, and I know you don't need the money, congratulations on hitting that mark anyway.  And now I wish for you to win at least one more, so you'll be all alone on the pinnacle.  This particular pinnacle, at least.

EIGHTY TWO WINS! Tiger Woods seals another incredible comeback and pulls level with Sam Snead's all-time record of PGA Tour victories by claiming Zozo Championship in Japan... and he's come a long way since meeting 'The Slammer' as a kid!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Where is Igbo spoken?

While looking to translate a foreign language caption to an Instagram picture, I happened to see a language named Igbo in the list of options.

Having not heard of it before, I did a quick investigation.  So ... here's Igbo:

  • Principal and native language of the Igbo people, who live in southeast Nigeria.
  • About 27 million speakers worldwide, including some Caribbean islands and other African countries.
Here's a lot more about it, if you're interested:

Igbo (Ásụ̀sụ̀ Ìgbò)

Rubin on the poll

I always like reading Jennifer Rubin's columns in the Washington Post (and she's pretty prolific).  This time, she comments on the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll.

Poll warning for Trump and Republicans: Danger ahead.

First, unless you are a Senate Republican from a state with a whole lot of white evangelicals, association with Trump may be injurious to your political survival. That should leave lawmakers such as Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) from states with less than 26 percent white evangelicals looking to separate themselves from Trump (and consider breaking with him on impeachment).

Second, this is not a 50-50 country, but rather a country approaching 40-60 as Trump alienates just about every cross-section outside his base. Trump’s base is a dwindling minority of the population, and as isolated as his supporters are in the right-wing media bubble, that bubble has not tainted the majority of the country.

How will this play out with public testimony about Trump's abuse of power on TV?  I don't know, but I can hope.