Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Magic of makeup

I don't know much about Jacqueline Jossa, except that she used to be on the Brit soap opera EastEnders, she's got two kids, she's married (sometimes) to a guy named Dan Osborne from "The Only Way is Essex" (so she's also referred to as Jacqueline Mary Osborne), and she apparently won the reality show "I'm a Celeb ... Get Me Out of Here", which is like a celebrity version of Survivor.

Also, she was nominated in the "Sexiest Female" category at the British Soap Awards three straight years, but she lost out to ... Michelle Keegan.  No shame in that, as pretty much the whole world would be runners-up to Michelle in that category.  But she did win Sexiest Female at the Inside Soap Awards.

The reason I'm writing this has nothing to do with any of that (well, yes, it is related to that Sexiest Female award discussion).  She's a very lovely woman and an actress, of course, but she showed how much makeup can do for a woman who's getting ready for a fashion shoot with a before-and-after pair of pictures, featured in the Daily Mail and the Sun (and likely several other British tabloid newspapers, too).

So here they are.  As you'll see, the transformation is quite magical.



New moon - temporarily

The title of this post is not about the orbital alignment that happens once about every 28 days, when the big Moon that orbits the Earth gets between the Earth and the Sun, and hence can't be seen because the dark side is facing us earthlings.  This is when lunar eclipses can happen, but they don't happen that often.

No, this is about a discovery that I just read about, that Earth picked up a little temporary moon in the form of an asteroidal rock.   I first saw the article in the Daily Mail, but I figured something about it that was more scientifically authoritative would be a better link to share.

Earth's got a new moon - here's what to expect

There's no way to predict how long this little visitor will be hanging around our home planet, but I think they ought to give it a name while it's here, other than its designation, which is 2020 CD₃.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Where the girls high school 100 butterfly record is now

After I wrote about Claire Curzan setting the national high school record for the girls 100-yard butterfly with an astounding 50.38 in the North Carolina states, I speculated that Virginia's Torri Huske had probably planned on taking the record she set last year at 51.32 at least under 51, but maybe not that fast.

What I didn't know at the time was that she'd already done that, at an invitational, going 50.47.  So at last weekend's Virginia state high school championships, Huske took another shot.  She didn't get Curzan's high school record, but because Curzan attends a private school, Huske's 50.69 set the national public high school record.

It's also the third-fastest time for the event in the 17-18 age group, which kind of surprised me too.  Olivia Bray at the University of Virginia has clocked a really low 50.17.

And the national record (but not the US Open record) got set by Erika Brown on 2/20/2020 with a 49.38 at the SEC Championships.  With the NCAAs coming up, she might go faster.

The Olympic Trials should be fun in this event -- even if there isn't going to be an Olympics.

One of my all-time favorite paleomammals

When I was a young kid, I had lots of plastic dinosaurs, and also plastic paleomammals.  One of my favorites of the latter was a red plastic glyptodont, just like this one:

So I was quite fascinated to see this article about the discovery of four glyptodont fossils all together.

The Carmadillos: Fossilized shells of armoured creatures the size of Volkswagen Beetles that roamed the earth 20,000 years ago are discovered in Argentina

In real life (back in paleohistory), they were pretty big, obviously.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Back on Highway 41 in southern Indiana

A few more views in southern Indiana in this next post in the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek.

North High School - though according to Google Maps it's outside the city limits, it still has an Evansville address.

Just off the highway, the high school, whose mascot is apparently a Husky, has a big stadium named Bundrant Stadium.

By Ameriqual Foods

Crossing Interstate 64. West to St. Louis, east to Louisville. Either way you get to a Louie.  Looks like the Streetview drive encountered a little snow.

There's still a lot of Indiana ahead of us.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Illustrated sonnet: "untraditional"

This illustrated sonnet, in which I muse about my artistic technique, is entitled


Thursday, February 20, 2020

How did the GOP descend to its current level?

The Republicans, the GOP, are currently a party lacking much intellectual heft.  So the question is:  how has the party gone down so far?

Part of the answer is in this opinion piece:

The descent of the GOP into authoritarian know-nothingism
"It is not as if anti-intellectualism suddenly appeared with the election of President Trump. The habitual rejection of expertise on everything from climate change to the economic impact of immigration has been rampant in the Republican Party for some time. It is part and parcel of the invented victimization of mostly white, non-college-educated men who attribute their loss of prestige and status to “elites,” especially those in colleges and the media. Even right-wingers who should know better have felt compelled to pander to audiences that wear ignorance and anti-intellectualism as a badge of honor."
Read the rest to find out more.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Where John Adams is buried

Having been to Boston recently, I saw Faneuil Hall, and how it's one of the few places that John Adams is featured more prominently than George Washington.

The bust of John Adams is in the middle, the painting of GW is on the side, at the front of the Great Hall.

Anyway, I wondered where our 2nd President is buried, and it turns out that he's in a crypt at a church in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he lived for years (when not in Philadelphia or Washington).

So here's a StreetView of that church, which is the United First Parish Church.

Keegan at the Brits

The Brit Awards 2020 were last weekend.

I didn't even know what they were for.  They're a music awards thing.  Billie Eilish won an award.  Lewis Capaldi's song "Someone You Loved" won an award.

All the winners are here.

Music is not why I'm writing those post. 

Michelle Keegan is why I'm writing this post.   She was there.

Wearing a silver sparkly dress and being Michelle Keegan.

That's enough.

Husband Mark Wright must have been home taking a nap.  Since he and Michelle only recently united in the UK, that's understandable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


If you remember back in ancient history at the beginning of the 21st century, there was a brief sci-fi TV show helmed by Joss Whedon, named Firefly, that culminated with a pretty good movie called Serenity.

If you don't remember, that's fine.  On the show, there was a group of incredibly violent murderous humans called Reavers.  They did really bad things, and seemed to just pillage, plunder, rape, maim, and kill without reason.  (If you've seen Serenity, you know why.)  But when I read this article, the first thing I thought of, given that I've know about the Reavers for awhile, was that these Vikings sounded a lot like Reavers.

Rampaging Vikings were fuelled by hallucinogenic herbal tea that made them feel less pain and become 'highly aggressive' say scientists

  • Viking warriors known as berserkers went into battle naked in animalistic frenzy 
  • The elite fighters were known for vicious rampages Scandinavian Middle Ages 
  • Scientists believe secret to their fearlessness was mind-bending hallucinogens 
  • 'Stinking henbane' plant infused with tea or alcohol to make them feel less pain
Sounds startlingly similar to Reavers.

From the article:

"[Stinking henbane] would have made the infamous warriors unable to feel as much pain, as well as becoming 'unpredictable and highly aggressive' and causing them to 'lose touch with reality', according to researchers."

Below is a picture of a Viking raid.  Couldn't find any pictures with naked Vikings -- sorry.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mid-February sonnet: "real life"

My sonnet for mid-February or so (remember, it's a leap year), is entitled "real life".

real life

Did you believe at any time that he
would be so much akin to you?  You dwelt
quite close in childhood -- your anatomy
in strength and size and sport could surely melt
without a separation; then you made
a choice to help him as a basic friend,
not knowing when connections bound would fade
and when the parallels you shared would end.
But they did end, until we merged again,
and I discovered how he'd spent his life -- 
his luck was more than mine, his fortune when
inherited profound, and plus his wife
was lithe and beauteous, and even more
she was a woman I had loved before.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Highway 41 goes into the southern Indiana countryside

I'm hungry, back on the road (Highway 41) and inside Lyle's Sportzone Pizza & Pub.



Crossing Pigeon Creek

Haven't driven by an airport for awhile - this is the Evansville Regional Airport:

Now that we're out of Evansville, I will point out that a lot of Highway 41 in Indiana is in rural farm country. So I'm going to attempt to visit the little towns it passes through, and occasionally demonstrate that it's still in rural farm country. This stretch should go pretty quickly. Because many of the small towns are slightly off Highway 41, I'll probably visit a few of them too.

Lighthouse of the Week, February 16-22, 2019: Cape Noshappu, Hokkaido, Japan

After last week's black-and-white lighthouses, I went for a more colorful version this week.  I was somewhat surprised to find out that I had only featured one lighthouse from the Japanese island of Hokkaido on my blog, back in 2015.  So this post improves that by one.

This is actually an outstanding lighthouse;  it's the second tallest in Japan.  While not quite the northernmost lighthouse in Japan, it is proximal to the northernmost city in Japan.  And given the location, it's right next door to a cold-water aquarium.

Here's where it is.  If you zoom in close and look at the satellite picture, you can see the long shadow of the tall tower.

Quick specs:
1966 (station established 1900). Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 43 m (141 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, plus a lower gallery about 15 m (49 ft) from the ground. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands.
The actual name of the lighthouse is Noshappu Misaki.

Below are three nice pictures.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

High school swimming record-breaking season has begun

Five days ago as I write this, swimmer Phoebe Bacon from Washington DC's Stone Ridge school (where Katie Ledecky used to attend) broke the national high school record in the 100 yard backstroke (50.89).  She swam a 51.32 slightly earlier in the season.

The night before in North Carolina, Claire Curzan smashed the 100 butterfly record set last year in Virginia by Torri Huske, lowering it from 51.29 to an astonishing 50.38.  Curzan also came close to Bacon's standing 51.32 100 backstroke record with a 51.38, even though Bacon went faster the next day.

All of that is rather impressive.  Furthermore, the Virginia high school championships are coming right up on February 20-22, and I expect that Huske might have had breaking 51 seconds in the 100 fly at that meet on her mind.  And she's still swimming pretty well -- back in December she won the U.S. Open 100 meter butterfly (long course) over a good field with a national age group 15-16 record.   So we'll see if she can come close to, or surpass, Curzan's phenomenal swim.  I expect she'll give it a pretty good shot.

Interesting line

There's an interesting line in this Washington Post article about how conservative lobby groups and think tanks are opposing the modest (read: weak) climate change proposals offered up by the House of Representatives GOP wing.

The Energy 202: Conservative groups at odds with new House GOP climate change proposals

Here's the line:

"The fact is that we have far too many trees in our national forests," said [Competitive Enterprise Institute exec Myron*} Ebell.

I kinda thought that the point of a having a forest was to have trees in it??

* Synonymous with moron, in this case.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Scenes of Evansville on and off Highway 41

In this post in the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek, I'll do a little off-highway viewing of Evansville, Indiana.

Donut Bank, Evansville, IN (this is on Highway 41)

Side trip about six blocks to the University of Evansville; view from the Sesquicentennial Oval.

Part of the outdoor athletic complex at the university.

Downtown Evansville is well off Highway 41, but we'll take a quick look

By the old courthouse (be sure to do the full pan), because there's a very unusual building across the street.

Ohio River Waterfront

Now back to Highway 41, and after all that looking around, I'm hungry for pizza.

Graham unhinged

When I first saw what Lindsay Graham (R-SCatterbrained) said about Lt. Col. Vindman on Sunday, my first real true thought was, "No way."

But yeah, way.  Lindsay is so twisted (whether actually or just for show), it's hard to believe.

But it's sadly true.

Graham backs Vindman firing: 'People in his chain of command have been suspicious of him regarding his political point of view'
“I think his reassignment was justified, I don’t think he could be effective at the NSC,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “What have I learned in the last two years? CIA agents, Justice Department lawyers, FBI agents have a political agenda and they acted on it, as did Col. Vindman.”

Unfortunately, I think he's serious.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, February 9-15, 2020: Black-and-whites

I'm going to mix it up a little this week, and feature four black-and-white lighthouses.  This was inspired by a couple of lighthouses in Estonia, both on the island of Saaremaa.   I'll provided quick statistics on each one of them from the Lighthouse Directory.

Kübassaare Lighthouse, Estonia
1924 (rebuilt 1939; station established 1915). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white light, 2.5 s on, 6.5 s off. 18 m (59 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lower half of lighthouse painted white; upper half, lantern, and gallery painted black. 1-story keeper's house and other structures.

Sõrve Lighthouse, Estonia
1960 (station established 1646). Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white flash every 15 s. 53 m (174 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and double gallery. Lighthouse painted black with a broad white horizontal band at the base. 2-story crew quarters and other buildings.

Dry Tortugas (Loggerhead Key) Lighthouse, Florida
1858 (George G. Meade?). Inactive since 2015 but listed as a daybeacon. 157 ft (48 m) round early classic brick tower, solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. Lower half of tower painted white, upper half and lantern black. 1-story brick keeper's house (1922), original kitchen, and other outbuildings preserved.

Absecon Lighthouse, Atlantic City, New Jersey
1857 (George G. Meade). Reactivated (inactive 1933-1997, now privately maintained and unofficial; charted as a landmark); focal plane 167 ft (51 m). 169 ft (51.5 m) brick tower with lantern and gallery, original 1st order Fresnel lens.

This was inevitable

Not long ago, musician (Muse) Matt Bellamy married the ravishing model Elle Evans (aka ElloElle, formerly known as Lindsay Gayle Evans and formerly a Playboy Playmate).   Ever since her notable appearance in the music video for Blurred Lines (which also launched Emily Ratajkowski), and some great fashion shots, she's moved onward and upward from her first unveiling.

Well, as one might expect would be the case, Matt and Ell stayed busy after they got married, and they got busy baby-making (which Matt had previous experience with during his relationship with Kate Hudson).  The baby-making worked, and Elle is well --  on her way to having her and Matt's offspring.

Congratulations to both of them, and Matt -- you've won the life lottery,  so enjoy the rewards.

Muse's Matthew Bellamy, 41, and wife Elle Evans, 30, announce they are expecting their first child... six months after tying the knot

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Whatever happened to Michael Biehn?

I was watching The Terminator (again) the other day, and I realized it's been years since I've seen actor Michael Biehn in anything.  So I wondered what has happened to him.

First, if you want the basics, here are the links for Wikipedia and IMdB.

Michael Biehn (Wikipedia)

Michael Biehn (IMdB)  - I must note, this has a long biography section, and there are some surprising things in it.

Personal-wise, he's been married three times (currently still with wife #3), and has five kids.

But even better, I found an article from last year that was about what happened to Michael Biehn.

"Everything Had to Go Right": What Happened to 'Terminator' Star Michael Biehn

I also found out in this search that Biehn was in a scene deleted from the theatrical cut of Terminator 2:  Judgment Day.   As a bonus for reading this blog and this post, the scene is below.

On Highway 41, you are now in Indiana

So now the Streetview trek has crossed the Ohio into Indiana.  I'll discuss this a bit more in my next Highway 41 Streetview trek post.  For today, the views are near Evansville.

Over the river -- pan 180 degrees to see the bridges that were just crossed.

Ellis Park Racing

Welcome to Evansville, Indiana sign (next to Eagle Slough)

Crossing I-69 here in Indiana; I told you we'd see it again.

Next time, I'll talk about how the trek will handle the vast expanse of ruraldom that is what Highway 41 will pass through in the state of Indiana.

Friday, February 7, 2020

George Will defines Trump with two words

In his column "The Lure of Kamikaze Candidates"  (I actually liked the first title better, "We Need a Nomination Process That Leads To Plausible Presidents"), columnist George Will referred to our repugnant President thusly:

"demagogic charlatan"

I don't think he will ever be better described when profanity isn't involved.

Is Nessie really a huge eel?

A few months back, the results of a DNA survey of Loch Ness eliminated a lot of the more fanciful hopes and ideas put forth for the identity of the cryptozoologic enigma, among which are:

- a prehistoric plesiosaur;
- a monster sturgeon;
- a selkie (admittedly, not very likely);
- a mutant otter;
- a mutant aquarium turtle (wait, that was a Jimmy Neutron episode);
- a soliton (special kind of wave); or even
- a floating log (and if you think that's crazy, check out what's still floating around in Crater Lake).

Well, people keep seeing things in Loch Ness, especially with the help of a camera set up near the famous Urquhart Castle.  Recently, somebody saw something there.

Loch Ness Monster expert claims he has captured the first 'confirmed' sighting of Nessie this decade in clip showing mysterious 10ft-long object

And if you watch the clip, it looks like something is there.

Back to that DNA study.  The one thing that it said was possible was eels.  Now, a 10-foot eel would be a very big eel, but it appears that there are some big ones near there, at least in the River Ness:

LOCH YES MONSTER Boffins believe they’ve finally got video proof that Nessie exists…and is actually a giant eel

This even has a video -- and it really looks like a very big eel.

So maybe there is something in unusual in Loch Ness.

I hope so.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

I'm not sure he needs it, though

It's wonderful birthday present;  the girlfriend of global soccer (football) superstar Cristiano Ronaldo gave him a top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz BRABUS, which sells for about $750K give or take a few thousand K.    (It's got 888 horses under the hood.)

Cristiano Ronaldo is surprised with a £600,000 Mercedes from girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez as footballer celebrates his 35th birthday

Truly a great gift, for the man who has everything.  And megastar Ronaldo has a lot of things, including cars:
"His collection also reportedly includes a Mercedes C Class Sport Coupe, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ujn Ferrari 599 GTO, a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, an Aston Martin DB9, a McLaren MP4 12C and a Bentley Continental GTC Speed.

Speaking to Piers Morgan in 2019, the footballer admitted he owned 'two of everything' - including two Bugatti's, two Ferrari's, two McLaren's and two Rolls Royce's. "
Well, I hope he gets to drive it now and then.  It does look snazzy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Joe Walsh on Trump and his fleeced flock

Former Congressman Joe Walsh is taking on Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential race -- which is kind of hard to do considering how many state Republican parties canceled their primary so to better facilitate the coronation of King Trump.

That is wrong on a lot of levels -- but that's not when this is about.  This is about what happened when Joe Walsh talked to Trump fans about to attend a Trump rally in Iowa, somewhat akin to pilgrims waiting outside the temple for their audience with the oracle of Delphi.

Here's what he tweeted in a series of tweets, shown below in their entirety:

"@realDonaldTrump came into Iowa Thursday for one of his lie-filled rallies. Prior to the event, I campaigned for votes among all the people in line waiting to go in to hear the President. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. It made me sad. 
Yes, plenty of Trump supporters were angry at me and many got in my face. But that’s not what made me sad. Here’s what made me sad: I asked about 40 folks a very simple question: Has Donald Trump ever lied to the American people? Simple question, right?

Every single person said “No.” No, Trump has never lied. Every single person gave me that answer. But that wasn’t all. A few people told me that Trump, unlike Obama, has never golfed. Nobody in line knew that Trump was increasing the debt way faster than Obama.

Nobody knew that under Trump our deficit was now greater than $1 trillion. Nobody I asked could think of one single thing that Trump has done that has disappointed them. Nobody thought Trump did anything wrong with Ukraine.

Almost everyone thought that China was paying for Trump’s tariffs. Nobody cared that Russia screwed with our 2016 election. On and on it went. I left sad & frustrated because all of these folks in line were being fed a sea of lies by Trump, Fox News, and

the rest of Trump’s media sycophants. They weren’t being told the truth. And here in line in Des Moines waiting to go in & hear more lies from this President, they didn’t believe basic truths. This is a scary thing for our Republic. Trump’s legacy is the destruction of truth."

And that, sadly, is entirely true.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, February 2-8, 2020: Mohni, Estonia

Returning to Estonia this week for another lighthouse;  this one is on the island of Mohni.  Mohni is a small island in the Gulf of Finland (Estonian side), east of Tallinn, the capital.

It must not be too difficult to get there;  there are a lot of pictures of this one.   First, though, let's learn more about it, with information I lazily gathered from the remarkable Lighthouse Directory.
"1852 (rebuilt 1871; station established 1806). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 4 s on, 16 s off. 27 m (89 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted red brick; lantern painted red. The lighthouse was increased in height by about 8 m (26 ft) in 1871, when the present lantern was also installed.

Mohni is a small island off Cape Purekkari, about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of Vilnistu on the Pärispea peninsula. Although it is included within the borders of Lahemaa National Park, it is privately owned."
So below are four pictures and a stamp.

Highway 41 reaches the Ohio River

Henderson, Kentucky, intersection with Highway 812

Near the river in Henderson. I chose this view because the clouds looked ominous.

Entrance to John James Audubon State Park

The Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Next time we go further in Indiana.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sonnet series: The Mind of a Woman" #4

The final sonnet in "The Mind of a Woman" series.

Sonnet series: "The Mind of a Woman" #3

Number three in "The Mind of a Woman" sonnet series.  There are four sonnets in this series.

Sonnet series "The Mind of a Woman" #2

Continuing the series.

Sonnet series: "The Mind of a Woman" #1

I created four illustrated sonnets in what I titled "The Mind of a Woman" series.   You can also see them on my Instagram account.

If you want a theme, it's basically that men and women have very different thought patterns, and their experience of the world -- and themselves -- is much, much different, particularly with regard to sexuality.

So here's the first one.