Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Even if you have never heard of him


It's very possible that you have not heard of the clever German musician and composer Louis Spohr.  I admit that I hadn't, and his name and accomplishments only recently became known to me.

As a composer, Louis is not particularly well known now, even though he was pretty well known as a performer and composer when he was doing both.  But almost every performance of classical music today owes him for two significant contributions.

One, he invented the chin rest for the violin.  Virtually every violonist uses it now, and Louis used it when performing back in his day.  It made it easier for the musicians to play in increasingly longer works, and also made it easier to hold the violin or viola when playing, so that it wouldn't slip out and get dropped.

The picture below shows a 19th century chin rest.  They weren't as smooth and form-fitting as the modern versions.

The other thing Louis invented was the conductor's mark in the score.  This allowed the conductor to say to the orchestra he's rehearsing, "Let's start five bars before E", rather than have to count stanzas from the beginning. 

A-D are the rehearsal marks (much more closely spaced in this example than in an actual score). 

So Louis was both a violinist and composer and conductor - he was also one of the first conductors to use a baton.  Next time you hear a 19th-century symphony, think of Louis.

Sex must be fun!


Yes, it must be, judging by these headlines.  Fun and productive.

Er, reproductive.

Elsa Hosk puts her baby bump on display in NYC with beau Tom Daly... after revealing she's pregnant 

(She's a Victoria's Secret model, one of their best.)

Ashley Tisdale reveals she's pregnant with her first child as actress debuts baby bump on Instagram

(Actress associated with Disney's High School Musicals, occasional pop singer)

Mandy Moore is PREGNANT! This Is Us star reveals she is expecting a baby boy early next year with husband Taylor Goldsmith

(Actress on This Is Us, also a pop singer in her past)

(Superbly talented actress and beautiful woman -- well, all of the women in this article are quite beautiful)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 27-October 3, 2020: Torre del Mar, Spain


Even though last week (yesterday) I found a lighthouse with a couple of wavy blue stripes, I still wanted to find a real blue lighthouse.  I was Google searching for such and starting to despair, but then I happened upon this one.  Apparently for awhile it was painted all-white, but it was recently repainted in the blue-and-white stripes you'll see here.  This is the best I've done so far.  The colors are the flag of Málaga province.

Another surprise is that the new blue tower is next to an older version, which became obsolete when the hotels got much bigger and it wasn't visible from the sea. I have a picture of that below, too.  What's somewhat confusing is that before the blue-white striped tower was built, a replica of the earlier tower was sourced locally and built on the waterfront.  YOU'LL SEE THAT TOO!

Now, I'm just going to give specs on the new one, but they are all described on this page of the Lighthoue Directory:  Lighthouses of Spain - Eastern Andalusia.  

The name, you are wondering?  This is the Torre del Mar lighthouse(s).  Click that to see where they are.  Zoom in to see how the lighthouse is on a beachfront plaza.

Specs on the blue-and-white tower:

"1976 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes, in a 1+2 pattern, every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery. Lighthouse painted with blue and white horizontal bands; lantern dome is gray metallic."

The replica of the old lighthouse is to the right of the new one in this picture

The replica lighthouse is also in this picture

A lighthouse-themed beach shower

The original lighthouse, not too useful now.

Time for another pretty girl post


I noticed that my two previous "pretty girl" posts had been near the end of the month.  For one thing, I was surprised the month of September has passed by so soon;  for another thing, I thought I had done these with a little more frequency.  So my goal for October will be 2-3.

The pretty girl here is German model Alexa Breit.  Based on what I can ascertain, she's based in Kaiserslautern, she was born on March 5, 1999, and she's mind-bendingly gorgeous.  She hit 100,000 Instagram followers in March and a few days ago she went over the 500,000 mark.  So obviously she's in the middle of the process of getting very well-known.

Below, you'll see why I expect she's going to achieve that.  These pictures were acquired from her Instagram submissions.

Angelic in the water

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 20-26, 2020: Lange Nelle Lighthouse, Oostende, Belgium


"Well," I said to myself, "I wonder if there are any blue lighthouses?"

It turns out that there might not be, at least with blue as the dominant color.  I may not have fully searched to make sure, partly because I found this one.   

This is the Lange Nelle Lighthouse in Oostende, Belgium. (link goes to map). Belgium doesn't have a lot of coastline, but it certainly has some. Dunkirk/Dunkerque is just down the coast in France from the Belgian border.

Let's have some details, courtesy of the great Lighthouse Directory:

"1949 (station established 1771). Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 58 m (190 ft) two-stage round cylindrical tower with lantern and double gallery rising from the center of a square 1-story building. Lower 1/3 of the tower is octagonal and probably concrete, upper 2/3 circular and probably brick. Lighthouse painted white with two sinusoidal blue bands around the upper section; galleries painted gold. The unusual color pattern was added in 1994."
This particular tower stands in the same place as two predecessors, one of which was destroyed during World War I, and another which was destroyed in WWII.

Lange Nelle means "Lanky Nellie", apparently because this tower is pretty tall, as lighthouses go.

So now let's examine four pictures of the tall girl.

The image above is on a postcard.

This keeps happening!


Because of the trumpet-bell shape of Hangzhou Bay, China, the tidal cycle creates a tidal bore, which is a large rapidly-moving wave generated by the incoming waters.  The tidal bore here is called the "Black Dragon", and it moves up the Qiantang River.   Tidal bores on other bodies of water and rivers are uncommon but not rare -- the Severn River in England, several rivers draining into the Bay of Fundy in Canada, Turnagain Arm near Anchorage, Alaska are some examples -- even the mighty Amazon River can have a tidal bore under just the right conditions.

The Qiantang River tidal bore is big, perhaps the biggest in the world.  And every now and then, everything combines just right to make it larger than usual.  When this happens, people, bicycles, and cars get swept away.   My question -- since this keeps happening, why don't they stay out of the way when the wave is going by?

This query is prompted by the Daily Mail aticle linked below.  I don't think anyone was killed, fortunately, but it sure is inconvenient.

Dramatic moment massive tidal wave sweeps away vehicles as gushing river water swallows a road in China

Here's a picture of a previous bigger-than-expected Qiantang wave.

Bad News Bore

The edge of Chicagoland on Highway 41


Technically, the end-to-end Streetview trek is in the city of Chicago.  But not quite to the most recognizable part -- and you may be surprised when we get there.  But we have to get there first.

At this point here, you can see the Chicago Skyway to the right. Pay attention, it's about to get a little complicated (but not much).

If you go past the intersection where Highway 41 turns, there's a tank. Apparently it's a memorial.

Let's make the turn now; Highway 41 on Indianapolis Boulevard becomes Highway 41 on Ewing Avenue. Follow the signs.

Just making sure it's still Highway 41.  If you can't see the sign, pan to the right, it's on the light pole.  We are indeed still heading north on the esteemed highway.

Be prepared for a historical surprise next time.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Read the caption


The Daily Mail had a very interesting story about the aftereffects of Hurricane Sally on the Gulf Coast:

Thousands of starfish washed ashore on Florida beach after Hurricane Sally ripped through the area last week

They also had an interesting picture with an even more interesting caption.

If you can't read the second sentence, here it is verbatim:

"Experts say storms have brought these creatures ashore, but never of this magnetite."

(Click on it if you don't believe me, or if it's too small to read.)

Umm, magnetite is ferric oxide, Fe2O3.  I believe they meant "magnitude".  Also, they should have written "Experts say storms have brought these creatures ashore before, ..."

I could make so much money as a Daily Mail proofreader.

Republican's don't play fair, and never have, and never will


From the Washington Post:

Justice Ginsburg is gone, but democracy must survive

"McConnell’s spectacular hypocrisy perfectly encapsulates why Republicans must lose up and down the ballot. They have adopted a mentality in which fairness is for fools and the rules apply only to the other side. It is a mind-set at odds with fairness and the rule of a law, which demands that the rules apply equally regardless of one’s status or identity."

Pieces of an asteroid found on a different asteroid


The asteroid Vesta has a very unique chemical composition (and it's also optically distinct). That's why it's been possible to identify a few meteorites on Earth as fragments of this particular asteroid, or at least asteroidal fragments that are very similar to it, i.e., from the same asteroidal composition family.

Now it appears that pieces of asteroid Vesta have been found on asteroid Bennu.  Watch the video to find out more.

So, in a short time, OSIRIS-REx will be lowering to the surface of Bennu to grab a sample and bring it home to Earth.  Wouldn't it be funny if it accidentally brought back a chunk of Vesta?  Because we already have a few of those.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

How reassuring this news is


A Daily Mail article with an alarming title.

FBI's background check system fails because of huge surge in gun sales amid a summer of civil unrest and rioting and the COVID-19 pandemic

"Background checks may have become more difficult to complete as state law enforcement and other government agencies housing records may have been closed or slower in replying to FBI requests because of the pandemic's impact on staffing, said Rob Wilcox, deputy director of policy at Everytown.

The delays worry groups like Everytown because it means thousands of people prohibited by law from owning guns - such as most convicted felons - may have obtained them as the FBI background check was delayed. '

This is dangerous because of the Charleston loophole, which allows gun sales to proceed by default when a background check takes longer than 3 days to process—meaning that people who are otherwise prohibited from owning firearms are able to purchase guns,' the group said."

As if we needed something else of considerable concern on our collective consciousness this year.

(Got some alliteration in that sentence!)

Highway 41 into Illinois


Back onto Highway 41, and we're about to experience a state change.  No, not water freezing into ice.  We're going to leave Indiana!

OK, important intersection here, though it may not look like it. Highway 41 has been headed due north, as Calumet Avenue; now it bears northwest (there's a really good reason for that, which will be seen shortly) as Indianapolis Boulevard.

If you look closely, you can see cars on a train parallel to Indianapolis Boulevard. MORE trains!

Highway 41 is now under an interstate, I-90.

There may not be a sign right here, but this is the Indiana-Illinois border.  I verified it by going back and forth on Streetview a couple of times.

Not far from where we just were on Highway 41 is this obelisk, the Indiana-Illinois Boundary Marker (click that link for much more information). It's NOT the big arch you'll see if you pan around. You will also see another body of water.

So let's get back to the highway. Yes, we are still on Highway 41!

Do you believe that we crossed the Illinois-Indiana border on one of the most famous highways in the entire United States, and there wasn't a sign? But we did.

MUCH more to see up ahead.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 13-19, 2020: La Caravelle, Martinique


After last week's lighthouse on the shore of chilly Lake Michigan, I've traveled south to the Caribbean, specifically the island of Martinique.  The island is perhaps most famous for the tragic eruption of Mont Pelée in 1902 which destroyed the city of St. Pierre and all of its inhabitants.

Despite that, it's a beautiful tropical island, and being an island, it has some lighthouses.  The first one that shows up is La Caravelle, pretty as a picture and in a great lighthouse location. Sufficiently picturesque to be on a postage stamp. 

The Lighthouse Directory provides this information :

"1862. Active; focal plane 129 m (423 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red with white trim; lantern white. Clamshell Fresnel lens in use. ... The lighthouse occupies a spectacular site overlooking the Atlantic. Located at the eastern end of the Caravelle Peninsula east of Trinité, in the Martinique Regional Nature Park." 

That's here.

Below, a video and pictures!

Princess Charlene and the Sea


There were a couple of articles in the Daily Mail recently about one of my favorite royals, Princess Charlene of Monaco, former Olympic-level swimmer and now turned mother of Principality twins.  But she's still pretty athletic, and so she took part in this charity event where a team of athletes rides a waterbike (really!) from Monaco to Calvi on the island of Corsica.

In case you are wondering -- oh c'mon, you must be wondering -- the distance is 180 kilometers.

She looks good on the waterbike below, but she looked pretty tired when it was over.

Would you fly on an airliner with folding wings?


I accidentally ran across this article while searching for something else.  While folding wings have been on a lot of planes for a fairly long time, I think having a big, long airliner with them would be disconcerting.

I'd sure want to see it take a lot of test flights before I got on one.

Boeing 777X, future widebody with folding wings

By the time this one is ready to fly with passengers, maybe there will be passengers again who are willing to fly on it.

In fact, the article says something like that:
"The 777X is scheduled to be delivered to the first customers in 2022. Thus far, three test vehicles were produced and extensively tested throughout 2020 in order for the design to be viable for the certification in 2021 by the latest. As a flagship, the 777X will undoubtedly see its fair share of customers but at the moment the future is being dimmed by COVID-19, some hesitant customers, its own peers and predecessors, and a great offering from Airbus."


Sunday, September 13, 2020

What will we see on Highway 41 today?


This segment of the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek starts in Hammond, Indiana. 

I chose this location to show that the weather (and the season) had changed a bit when Streetview drove through. The White Castle really is white.

Haven't seen a high school on Highway 41 for awhile. This is Hammond High School.

Hmmm, an overpass over a lot of train tracks. Think that means something?

Bridge over the Grand Calumet River.

The body of water visible here is Wolf Lake, and the structure is the PAV (Pavilion at Wolf Lake Memorial)

Much more lies ahead, and we're getting there.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

All you ever wanted to know about the world's longest beaver dam


I just read this, though it seems to me that I may have read it a few years earlier than now.  Anyway, Google Earth was employed to discover it.

The Longest Beaver Dam in the World

Once you read it, you will know more than you did before.

Lighthouse of the Week, September 6-12, 2020: Gary Harbor Breakwater Light, Indiana, USA


If you look at a map, you'll discover that the state of Indiana (which my unprecedented Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek is about to leave) does not have a lot of coastline.  It does have some, though, all on Lake Michigan, and it has a few lighthouses.

All of them are listed and described here:

Indiana Lighthouse Road Trip

One of them is the functional, not beautiful, Gary Harbor Breakwater Light.  Terry Pepper has an extensive Web page about it, and in my gratefulness, I'm using one of his pictures below.  I recommend reading his detailed description in the article.

Seeing the Light - Gary Breakwater Light

Basics from the Lighthouse Directory are quoted below.  Lighthouse Friends has the most pictures of it.

"1911. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 40 ft (12 m); red flash every 10 s, every fourth flash omitted. 40 ft (12 m) round steel tower, painted red. Fog horn (blast every 30 s). The original 6th order Fresnel lens is mounted in the tower but not in use; the active light is an acrylic lens on top of the lantern."

 Oh yes - in terms of location, it''s on the lakefront of the city of Gary, Indiana.


by Terry Pepper

by Cathy Peek

Not much more of Highway 41 in Indiana

Another "I" state is ahead.  A few more things to see in Indiana before we get there.

Though there's no sign, Google Maps indicates that the hacienda here is "Jalapeno's, the Hottest Mexican". Well, maybe it's the hottest Mexican cuisine in Schererville, Indiana.

This is the crossing of the Little Calumet River in Hammond, Indiana.

Now, it gets a bit confusing next, and it would be difficult for hikers or bicyclists to officially stay on Highway 41 right here. For a very brief stretch, Highway 41 shares the road with Interstate 94. There are side roads that would allow a connection without getting on the interstate (which right here is also called the Frank Borman Expressway, very likely named after the astronaut).

Thus, here's the interchange, with the sign indicating where the highway goes:

And the sign on the interstate indicating where to get off, to continue the quest:

We're getting close to a remarkable stretch of road. Stay on target.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Two related posts about the Presidential election


I hope they're right and I hope they stay right.

What do the polls tell us?  by Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)

"Most calamitous for Trump, voters by a wide margin (55 to 45 percent) see the election as a referendum on his four years rather than what Trump (21 percent) or Biden (24 percent) propose going forward. On metrics such as cares about people (63 to 44 percent), temperament (59 to 37 percent) and intelligence (56 to 47 percent), Biden clobbers Trump. Far more voters (50 percent) blame Trump than credit him (33 percent) for the covid-19 response."


This quote is featured in the Jennifer Rubin column above.  The Sherman column was written in early July.

"A Republican strategist close to Mitch McConnell told me that Republicans have Labor Day penciled in as the deadline for Trump to have turned things around. After that, he’s on his own."

So -- will that happen?  Watch the events of the next days closely. 

Cedar Lake, Indiana and beyond on Highway 41

We're continuing north in what is now northern Indiana, on Highway 41.

Crossing the Kankakee River, which looks much more like a river than the Iroquois River did.

Now we'll take one more slight diversion off-road, to see Cedar Lake, in Cedar Lake, Indiana. This is actually a pretty big lake, and is described as a getaway vacation spot for people from the big city, which is not very much further north now. This is the Cedar Lake public access site, just off Lake Shore Drive. (You may want to remember that street name.)

North of Cedar Lake is St. John, Indiana. In a domicile with a name like that, you'd expect to find some Christian places of worship. And right here is the Shrine of Christ's Passion. Note that it has a Gift Shoppe.

Behind the marshy growth next to the road is Bingo Lake. Looks like the Streetview crew hit a bit of rain driving through here.

Here's a better view of Bingo Lake from a side road (85th Street), and on a better day. 


Hopefully, the trek continues tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Highway 41 cruises past some prairie chickens


I'm hoping (seriously) to post a Highway 41 end-to-end trek post every day of the upcoming week.  I'm getting impatient to get to the good stuff just up the road.  Today in this post, a few more sites (ha) in Indiana.

Crossing of the Iroquois River, which does not look very riverish right here. It gets bigger as it flows into Illinois, eventually joining the Kankakee River.

Took a very minor detour to see what Morocco, Indiana looks like. It does not look like Morocco in Africa, but it does have a water tower that says "Morocco".

Not far from here is the Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, right on the IL/IN border.

Just south of Lake Village, and just off Highway 41, is the Beaver Lake Prairie Chicken Refuge. This is what it looks like. Make sure you're looking east (white compass end to the right), because the other side of the road, which is not the refuge, looks pretty similar.   (Unfortunately, there are currently no "prairie chickens" aka pinnated grouse, in Indiana.)

 Crossing the Kankakee River, which looks much more like a river.

On the horizon in the next post: beautiful Cedar Lake.

Between the covers


In this very recent Instagram post, the astonishingly curvaceous and still devilishly cute Demi Rose Mawby gets very involved with her book.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Time for a Holliday (baby)


Just saw this article, which indicated that Holliday Grainger (whom I remember most fondly from The Borgias TV series) is with child, which could slow down production of the current show she's on.

TALK OF THE TOWN: Holliday Grainger's baby job puts her TV hit on hold as fans of The Capture will have to wait for a second series

Holliday as Lucretia Borgia, clothed version

Holliday as Lucretia, unclad version

Lighthouse of the Week, August 30 - September 5, 2020: Bell Rock, Scotland


Almost a year ago, I wrote this post:

Lighthouse of the Week, September 22-28, 2019: A lighthouse article

In the post, I provided a list of twenty of the world's most picturesque lighthouses (which came from a Daily Mail article), and promised to feature some of them subsequently.  And I did.

This is another one on the list.  It is Bell Rock, Scotland, which Wikipedia says is the world's oldest "sea-washed" lighthouse.  Which basically means that at times, the ocean waves hit the base of the lighthouse.  Bell Rock is situationally in the North Sea, about 11 miles off the Scottish coast.

First of all, here's a Web site devoted to the 200th anniversary of the lighthouse, which was in 2011.

And its basic home Web site:

And its basic, impressive stats, from the Lighthouse Directory

"1811 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 5 s. 36 m (118 ft) tapered stone tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's quarters. Tower painted white with a brown band at the base; lantern painted black and covered by a bird-protecting mesh. Bell Rock, also called Inchcape, is an extremely dangerous reef that barely breaks the surface at low tide. Construction of the lighthouse took four years and was justly considered one of the greatest triumphs of early nineteenth century engineering." 

Friday, September 4, 2020

For future reference


Interesting paper;  providing link to it so myself and all my friends can find it easily.

Ocean Acidification has Impacted Coral Growth on the Great Barrier Reef


Ocean acidification causing coral ‘osteoporosis’ on iconic reefs

I guess there were a lot of them


While working on building a new airport near Mexico City, workers, and now paleontologists, discovered the skeletal remains of Columbian mammoths, the southern counterparts of the perhaps-more-famous woolly mammoths.

First they thought there were 70.  Now it's more like 200.  Apparently the site was the marshy shore of a lake where the mammoths either got mired in the mud, or moved slower while foraging and were easy kills.  A few human remains have been found with the many massive mammoths.

Site in Mexico City is dubbed 'mammoth central' after 200 skeletons are found

From the article:

"Columbian mammoths had very little fur, unlike their woolly cousins which lived in frigid tundra. The giants were up to 15 feet tall, wigged up to 22,000 pounds and had enormous tusks up to 16 feet long. They also had an estimated lifespan of around 65 years. They are one of the last lineages of mammoth to go extinct in the world and were wiped out around 12,000 years ago. The Columbian mammoth inhabited North America as far north as the northern United States and as far south as Costa Rica."

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Just be aware


The Republican Party is following Donald Trump's lead and lying, lying, and more lying.  But roughly 40% of Americans believe the lies.

If you're reading this, you're likely one of two types of people.

1.  People who know not to believe Republicans.

2. People who want to know why not to believe Republicans.

So, for the latter, read the following:

Republicans are lying about Biden and hoping voters are ignorant enough to believe them

"Leading the GOP charge on Tuesday [at the convention] was Pam Bondi, a former Flor"ida attorney general who in 2013 received a $25,000 contribution from a Trump charity six days after her office said it was looking into fraud charges against Trump University. The investigation did not go forward. Incredibly, Ms. Bondi opened her case against Mr. Biden by repeating the lie that led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment: that Mr. Biden demanded the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating a gas company that employed the then-vice president’s son Hunter."

"Ms. Bondi wrapped up her case by alleging that unnamed members of Mr. Biden’s family profited from business deals in Iraq, Costa Rica and Jamaica while he was vice president. She offered no evidence of wrongdoing, only insinuations of “a deliberate pattern of conduct.” “How many families would be allowed to get away with this?” she demanded. The obvious answer: none more so than that of Mr. Trump, whose family company has collected millions from foreign sources during his presidency."

So don't believe the lies -- and let's get the people telling them out of the White House.  


Jocelyn Binder is backtastic


I've featured lovely, breast-cancer survivor glamour and fashion model Jocelyn Binder before.  She is an extraordinary beauty.  And she looks good from all sides, including the backside.  Four captures from Instagram are provided below to illustrate this concept.

Evaluate risks with data


Insightful -- but difficult to comprehend with a lack of emotional response when one's life could be in danger.

How the media has us thinking all wrong about the coronavirus

Quote 1: 
"In the absence of complete information on risks, our overreactions can have serious consequences. One example is the Three Mile Island nuclear event, which has not been conclusively linked to any long-term negative health outcomes but did terrify Americans about nuclear power. People simply didn’t have enough baseline information about the number of nuclear plants operating safely on a given day to realize that the probability of a nuclear disaster was vanishingly small. The result was that nuclear power — a plentiful, carbon-free energy source — never reached its potential in the United States, leading to needless overreliance on dangerous fossil fuels."

Quote 2:
"To answer these questions, we need systematic data collection and reporting — the sort that lets us evaluate risks in all kinds of situations, from driving cars to flying on planes to, yes, ocean swimming. It should be possible to do this. As schools open, districts will have counts of at least detected covid-19 cases, as well as information on the overall enrolled population. This data could be combined in public databases with user-friendly dashboards and maps. Since this type of data collection has not been spearheaded by central authorities, I’ve partnered with a set of national educational organizations and a data team to try to put it together."

So, know the risks, know the stats, make informed decisions.