Sunday, June 20, 2021

A thrill ride that's a bit more than what Disney offers


The Daily Mail had an article about a new tourism startup in Florida that is going to offer balloon rides.

Very HIGH balloon rides.

The article does not mention the ticket price.

Space tourism startup test flies its gigantic balloon 20 miles over Florida that is on track to carry explorers to the stratosphere in 2024

Congratulations to the new addition of the Woz family


Caroline Wozniacki has moved on from winning tennis titles to being a mother.  Congratulations to the family on their new addition.

'Family of three!' Caroline Wozniacki reveals she has given birth to a baby girl named Olivia - her first child with NBA star husband David Lee - and posts first picture with their daughter

Highway 41 crosses some bridges

Now that the Highway 41 Streetview trek has left Oshkosh, the next scenic highlights are lakes and waterways in the Fox River / Lake Winnebago system.   So let's take a look at the next set of views.

Approach to the Lake Butte des Morts bridge. Lake Butte des Morts is a relatively small lake west of Lake Winnebago, connected via the Fox River to Lake Winnebago, and also connected the bifurcated Lake Winneconne and Lake Poygan. Weirdly and confusingly, there are two Fox Rivers in this region; this is where the Upper Fox River flows into Lake Winnebago. The Lower Fox River flows out of the lake further to the north, and flows to Green Bay (an extension of Lake Michigan).

On the Lake Butte des Morts bridge. This is actually looking north on the southbound side, because the northbound Streetview was partially blocked by a couple of big trucks.

The Valley Popcorn Company (Fox Valley, that is).

This is the Neenah-Menasha area; and that's the Menasha Corporation headquarters.

Next, a closer look at the famous domicile of Neenah, Wisconsin.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Room with a view? Actually ...


While hotels and resorts may advertise rooms with a view (usually of something scenic), in this case, it's a view into a room.  And it's a very inviting view, courtesy of model Myriam Danna.

What an absolute ass


I speak in the title of this post, as one might easily surmise, of the accursed current Senate minority leader and enemy to U.S democracy, Mitch McConnell.   Why do I say this now (noting that I have said many deservedly derogatory words about Miserable Mitchy in the past)? 

This is why:

Mitch McConnell says he will BLOCK any Biden Supreme Court nomination during the 2024 election year if he becomes Senate majority leader

Mitch probably knows that this is not the way the Founding Fathers envisioned the democratic institution of the American government operating.

But he doesn't care.
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday if he has the Senate majority he'll block President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominees in 2024, the year of the next presidential election.

'I think it's highly unlikely - in fact, no, I don't think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,' McConnell said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show."

Yet McConnell is clearly stretching the meaning of "in the middle of an election", as he did with Merrick Garland.  And he clearly didn't have a problem completing the nomination and voting on a SCOTUS judge while the last election for President was actually underway (early voting had already started).

Ass is a gentle word for what Mitch is.


Did you ever wonder where Anne Boleyn is buried?


Suddenly, for no apparent reason, I did.  Now, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, has a very nice place of eternal repose, which Henry picked for her.  It's in Peterborough Cathedral (link goes to a video), which is about 70 miles north of London.

Mary Queen of Scots used to be there too (which you'll see in the video), but now she lies in Westminster Abbey in a very fancy tomb.

But... this isn't about them. It's about Anne Boleyn, who was the 2nd wife of Henry VIII, and known as Anne of a Thousand Days, because that's about how long she had the title of Queen.  She got enough done then, though, as she was the mother of Elizabeth I.

As you may well know, Anne was beheaded after Henry moved on, still seeking a male heir.  She was accused of things she probably didn't do, but still, the King made those decisions.  But after her execution, what happened?  Well, she was quietly and quickly interred at the Royal Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, which is not very far from the Tower of London, where the execution took place.

More about that here:  Where is Anne Boleyn buried?

This article indicates that it isn't certain Anne is under the decorative plaque that supposedly marks her grave.  At least she's close to it.

There are other notables in this chapel, foremost among them Thomas More, and also Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for a much shorter time than Anne Boleyn.   Also, Anne's marker is next to one for Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife, not quite as famous as Anne, and also with a shorter reign which ended the same way.

The plaques:

Here is the Royal Chapel.  In front of it is a recently-installed memorial fountain dedicated to all of those unfortunate souls who were executed at the Tower.

The memorial fountain:


Lighthouse of the Week, June 13-19, 2021: Butler Flats, New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA


I'm never sure how to find a lighthouse for Lighthouse of the Week. So this week I typed in "flat lighthouse" in the search box, and the search returned a number of lighthouses on flats (shallow shoals in the water, of course).  These tend to occur in rivers and near harbors.

So, my choice was the Butler Flats lighthouse, outside New Bedford, Massachusetts.   This is where, geographically.  It's a "sparkplug" lighthouse, on a platform projecting from the water surface.

Here's a bit of information about it:

It was established and built in 1898, and automated in 1978.  It was equipped with a 5th-order Fresnel lens, but now it has an LED light.  The tower is 53 feet high.  The lighthouse is now privately owned.

More information from New England Lighthouses:

Butler Flats Lighthouse

Butler Flats Lighthouse History

Lighthouse FriendsButler Flats, MA

There's also a Butler Flats Double IPA (beer).

Pictures of the lighthouse (and the beer label).

Monday, June 14, 2021

I'd like to meet these Pleiades


The Pleiades of myth were seven lovely sisters.  And this picture captures their mythical attractiveness quite well.

"The Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the nymph Pleione. They were in the service of goddess Artemis. They were Maia, mother of Hermes; Electra, mother of Dardanus, founder of Troy; Taygete; Alcyone; Celaeno; Sterope; and Merope. When their father was given the fate of carrying the heavens on his shoulders, Orion started pursuing the Pleiades; Zeus then transformed them into stars to help them evade him. According to other myths, the Pleiades committed suicide after learning the fate of their father, but Zeus decided to immortalise them by transforming them into stars."

Blueberry fields -- maybe not forever?


Climate change touches many places, and many people.

Maine’s beloved blueberry fields warming faster than rest of state, study finds
"The scientists analyzed 40 years of data and found that the state experienced a 1.1 degrees Celsius (1.98 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average temperature, but the blueberry fields of Down East Maine experienced an increase of 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.34 degrees Fahrenheit).

That seemingly small difference is significant because rising temperatures could lead to water deficits that put the blueberries at risk, said Rafa Tasnim, a doctoral candidate in ecology and environmental science at the University of Maine and the study’s lead author. Lack of water could result in smaller crop sizes and blueberries that are less likely to survive to be harvested."

So, make more pies now!

Highway 41 goes where the aircraft fly in


Back on the western shore of Lake Winnebago, heading to one of the most notably known and named small metropolises in this area.

Looking toward the Experimental Aircraft Association headquarters outside Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Entrance to the EAA Aviation Museum. Streetview has many interior pictures of the museum.

View of Pioneer Airport, one of the two airports that is used for the EAA Fly-Ins.


Wittman Regional Airport, the other airport that participates in the Fly-Ins.

Next time, a lot more water.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Lighthouse of the Week, June 6-12, 2021: Vestre Vabeinan, Svolvaer, Norway

I noted two lighthouses ago, when I featured the Eggum lighthouse as the LoTW, in Norway's Lofoten archipelago, that I would return with an unusual one.  This is it -- the Vestre Vabeinan lighthouse, or light structure, which is topped with a statue called the Fiskerkona (one of several spellings available, apparently), which means "fishwife" or "fisherman's wife".  Basically she's waiting for her fisherman husband to come home from the sea. The statue was sculpted by Per Ung.

It's located in Svolvaer harbor, which is here.  Zoom out to get a better idea of where "here" is.

There's not a lot else about this one, despite the unusual aspect of being a statue.  So this is what we can gather from the Lighthouse Directory.

"1999. Active; focal plane 11.5 m (38 ft); green light, 1 s on, 1 s off; the structure is also floodlit. This unusual beacon consists of a sculpture by Per Ung called Fiskerkone (The Fisherman's Wife), mounted on a round pedestal with a broadly conical base. The pedestal is white and the base is red."

So, let's see some pictures.  There are many available.

Dana Milbank makes a lot of sense


Note:  Before I composed this post, I found out that Clueless Joe Manchin, which is what I'll refer to him now everytime I use his name, had come out in an op-ed saying he would not support the "For the People" act, which would protect some of the voting rights that are being taken away by Republicans in states across the land.  And somehow Manchin can say that Democrats are "politicizing" voting rights.  Well, it Democrats are politicizing them, then Republicans are weaponizing them.

In any case, before Clueless Joe's statement, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote a very smart column suggesting that if Republicans filibuster the "For the People" Act, then the Democrats should bring up its provisions one at a time and see if the Republicans will filibuster/vote against all of them, even the popular ones.  And now we can find out where Clueless Joe stands, too.

Will Republicans filibuster all of this?

"After the "For the People" Act fails, the Senate should bring up its popular and unobjectionable provisions, one at a time. If by some miracle Manchin succeeds in getting Republicans to support their passage, all the better. In the likely event he fails, it will be obvious to America, and hopefully to him, that Republicans have no interest in cooperation."

 Here's one of his examples.

"The bill requires states to alert each other when voters apply for a driver’s license in a new state, to avoid duplicate voter registrations. Will Republicans filibuster this?"

Yeah, that's a threat to secure elections, right?  I sure would like to see if the GOP would filibuster that;  and if Clueless Joe Manchin would support them.  And I'd like to hear his explanation, too.


A key to the Republican mindset -- and mindlessness


Disturbing article in the Washington Post a few days ago.

The really scary reason Republicans don’t want to face the truth about Jan. 6

Excerpts below:

"That was another way of saying that he [Scummy traitorous Senator McConnell] would prefer that voters not be reminded of Trump’s own culpability for inciting his supporters to smash their way into the Capitol two weeks before he was due to be evicted from the White House — and for doing little to stop a rampaging mob that Trump subsequently described as “very special” people.

The more dangerous truth is that a not-insignificant portion of the GOP’s Trumpian base actually appears to believe that the violent mob was justified in its effort to disrupt Congress as it conducted its pro forma tally of the electoral votes that made Joe Biden the 46th president.

Even more worrisome were the 15 percent overall — and, again, 28 percent of Republicans — who were of the opinion that because “things have gotten so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” "

I hope this doesn't surprise you.  It certainly doesn't surprise me.



Saturday, June 5, 2021

The state of the state in Florida


Trying to keep up with everything that happens in Florida is really difficult.  Politically, at least, it's a complete farce.  The Goobernor is continuing to do things that primarily benefit him, and his political party, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's good for most of the people in the state, the state itself, or the rest of the country.

So here's what we've got now:

Florida Republicans are trampling on the wishes of locals in a rush to consolidate power

"The legislature and governor have also meddled with local control in health emergencies. Let’s be clear: Without mask mandates, shutdowns and strict social distancing policies enacted by South Florida’s local governments — defying the governor’s laissez-faire approach — the state almost certainly would have been a bigger covid casualty, and DeSantis wouldn’t have morphed into a national GOP darling. Local governments in big cities helped save Florida. So of course Republicans have now moved to make it easier to overrule local mandates such as these."

Does that make sense?  Very little does in Florida.


Catch of the day


I've seen most of the trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and I've seen parts of Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides.  I never paid attention to the next one.  

Well, I accidentally happened to see the music video below, and I couldn't stop watching.  Originally and briefly, I thought the fetching blonde mermaid was played by actress Amanda Seyfried, but I didn't think she'd be just a mermaid in a movie. The blonde fishgirl, who turns out to have quite an appetite, was actually Australian model Gemma Ward, who I should have been paying more attention to, I think.  

So here's what I'm going to do.  Below is a still from the movie of Gemma, and then the video, entitled "Siren".  And soon after this, I'll do a bit more on Gemma Ward, who's now 33 and the mother of one.

You'd jump in after her too, wouldn't you?

Might not be the best idea.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Meanwhile, in other soccer news


Soccer news comes fast and furious these days.  After Manchester City finished up the Premier League title, and then Leicester City defeated Chelsea for the FA Cup, Manchester City and Chelsea faced each other for the UEFA Champions League championship (which sounds a little redundant).  Chelsea won that 1-0, and the USA's own Christian Pulisic came real close to making it 2-0.  Ah well.

Since then, the USA with all the stars they could finally get on the roster just barely defeated Honduras in the Nations Cup, and (hmm ... let me check ...) yes, will play Mexico in the final on Sunday, June 6.  That's unfortunate, as the USA rarely does well against the Mexicans.  Hope they have a good day.

But I did miss the news that the Brentford Bees, after numerous almost-made-its, finally qualified to get into the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Swansea City.  They are the kind of team I root for -- one that has suffered bad luck and bad results many times, which finally triumphs.  

They'll probably get trounced in the Premier League, but here's hoping they avoid relegation next season.

Brentford 2-0 Swansea: Brentford are promoted to the Premier League and return to the top flight for the first time since 1947

"[ Manager Thomas ] Frank always insisted he was not superstitious, that he saw no symbolism in Brentford's nine failed play-off attempts – an English record – or the strange curse of red-and-white that had seen sides in their colours go 32 campaigns – and 16 finals – without promotion."

Do you know what edaphon is?


So, that's the question.  Do you know what edaphon is?

When I encountered the word, I didn't either.  I thought it might be like edamame, but that's not from the same language. So being endowed with unending curiosity, I looked it up.  

It turns out that it's the soil equivalent of plankton. I.e., with plankton being the things that float and swim in the sea, from bacteria to diatoms to dinoflagellates and euphausiids and salps and such, 

then edaphon is the bacteria and worms and springtails, mites, nematodes, earthworms, ants, and other kinds of insects and such.

So now you know.  Would you like to see a picture?  Of course you do.  So here's a picture.  I hadn't thought of cicada nymphs as edaphon, but for 17 years while they're growing in the ground, they are.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

One more from Jocelyn B. in Maxim-France


For more, scroll (stroll?) back in time a few days.  Or search on "Jocelyn".  There's only one here.

Lighthouse of the Week, May 30 - June 5, 2021: Cap Formentor, Mallorca, Spain


I've been doing this Lighthouse of the Week feature for several years now, and I strive to find new places with lighthouses before I repeat visit (but of course I've repeated many countries and locations, because some places have a lot of lighthouses and other places don't).   I was casting around mentally for a new place, and though it isn't a new country, it is a new island.  And this island has several lighthouses, so many and some centuries old, that I think I'll make it a short series.   

I'll start with the Cap Formentor, because of its outstanding location at the top of a high oceanside cliff.  It's easy to find this one on a map.

As one would expect, I went to the Lighthouse Directory for the relevant information, which is edited for length below.

"1863. Active; focal plane 210 m (689 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 22 m (72 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white; lantern is gray metallic. This lighthouse marks the northernmost tip of Mallorca and the entrance to the Badia de Pollença; it is accessible at the end of a very crooked road about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Port de Pollença. There is a café and gift shop at the lighthouse."

 Pictures below from near to close, and an impressive video.

Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek - The Bottom of the Lake lakefront


As promised, now the Streetview trek visits Fond du Lac's lakefront, which has a couple of mild surprises.  So let's look around.

"Mouth" of the Fond du Lac River on Lake Winnebago.

Since I do Lighthouses of the Week, here's the Fond du Lac lighthouse, on the other side of Lakeside Park. 


On the other side of the Fond Du Lac River mouth, there's a little marsh called Supple Marsh.

So endeth our short visit to Fond du Lac. Now, by gosh, we're headed north again.

North of Fond du Lac, a typical view of the flat part of Wisconsin (there's a lot of that).

Onward through Wisconsin (don't forget to look for my Easter eggs).

So how did West Ham United qualify for the Europa League?


A couple of weeks ago, I was counting out West Ham United's chances to make it into the UEFA Europa League next year.  If you don't follow soccer/football but you do follow this blog and therefore you wonder what that is, it's the second-tier club tournament in Europe (as the UEFA Champions League is the top tier). 

So I thought that in the Premier League the top four qualify for the Champions League, and the fifth-place team goes to the Europa League, and that's it. So I was right about the Champions League top-four rule, but it turns out there's an exception. If the winner of the FA Cup (and a couple of other cups) is in the top five, then the sixth-place PL team also qualifies for the Europa League. And that would have happened if either Chelsea or Leicester City made it into the Champions League (which it turns out was Chelsea, who lost on the last day, but Leicester City lost as well, to Tottenham Hotspur, so Chelsea exceeded them by a point).

So the Hammers are in the Europa League. The PL commentators, notably ex-USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, said that for them to be successful next year, they're going to have to increase team depth, because the grind of playing both PL and Europa Cup (and the other cups, FA, Carabao) can wear down a team over the full season.

So they've got their chance. Now, how do they make the most of it?

At least for next season, I'll probably follow both Crystal Palace and West Ham.

A note: last season, the Spurs got into the Europa League because Manchester City won the EFL Cup, also known as the Carabao Cup.

From Wikipedia: "Since the winners of the 2019–20 EFL Cup, Manchester City, qualified for the Champions League group stage by league position, the spot given to the EFL Cup winners (Europa League second qualifying round) was passed down to the sixth-placed team."

Monday, May 31, 2021

Highway 41 approaches Fond du Lac, Wisconsin


We are now nearing Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  Fond du Lac means "bottom of the lake", and in this case it's geographical, not limnological -- Fond du Lac is loc-ated at the southern end of Wisconsin's big Lake Winnebago.  And there's some interesting geology and geography associated with this lake, so as the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek goes by the lake, we'll investigate some of that, too.

So let's start out south of Fond du Lac.

Outside Fond du Lac; it is somewhat hard to tell it's nearby.

Fond du Lac Skyport/Airport to the west (left)

Let's take a couple of looks around Fond du Lac

South Main Street, by Veterans Park (City Hall is on the other side of the park)


This is the bridge over the Fond du Lac River on Scott Street. The Fond du Lac River is not a very long river; 10-12 miles depending on which creek you choose as its origin.

Next time, in very short order, we'll visit the Fond du Lac lakefront.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Mitch McConnell: old dirty dog, old dirty tricks


I doubt there will ever be enough written about how awful and terrible Senator Mitch McConnell has become;  if he wasn't like this years ago, he sure is now.  And now that he's serving the Master, Donald Trump (at some point having sold his soul), it's really bad.  As if it could be worse than vowing to do everything in his power to make President Obama a one-term president, and then blocking the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on the basis of rules he made up himself, and then smirking as  he confirmed that he'd get a nomination confirmed right at the end of the Trump administration, which he did even as the election was officially underway

I could call him a lot worse words than scum, but scum is one of the things he is.

So, what tricks is the dog up to now?

McConnell focuses ‘100 percent’ on blocking Biden — and zero percent on America

"And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans."

"McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.” True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators."

"He [McConnell] earned an extraordinary rebuke from the University of Louisville (the Kentuckian’s alma mater and home to the McConnell Center) when he declared that it was an “exotic notion” to believe that 1619 — the year in which slaves arrived in the American colonies — is among “the most important dates in American history.” Before that, McConnell threatened “serious consequences” for “woke” corporations that moved business from Georgia because of the state’s discriminatory new voting restrictions."

Scum?  Yes.  

Patriot?  No.  

Public servant?  No.  

Despicable?  Yes. 

Danger to the integrity of U.S. elections


Stop me if you've heard this before:  Republicans around the country, where they control the reins of government, are instituting voting "reforms" that will allow them to both control and restrain the votes of voters they don't like, and if that doesn't work, allow the legislature to overturn outcomes they don't like.


For more on this disturbing trend, read this:

An anti-Trump Republican’s agonizing travails point to real trouble ahead

"Consider this: Raffensperger is facing a primary challenge from Rep. Jody Hice, who has been endorsed by Trump on the specific grounds that he’ll use his official power to subvert future election results that Republicans hate, in a way Raffensperger would not. This is Hice’s whole rationale for running!"

Like I said, just great. 

Big puff from the Great Sitkin


While there's been volcanic activity in the Caribbean, Iceland, Italy, and tragically in Africa when the Nyiragongo volcano lake drained and sent a fissure eruption into the outskirts of Goma, Alaska's Aleutian Island chain is always capable of sudden surprises.

Such was the case on May 25th with the Great Sitkin volcano, which pretty much comprises all of Great Sitkin Island, located about 22 miles northeast of Adak (on the island of Adak), where a few people live and where there a couple of runways for airplanes to land on.

Aleutian volcano Great Sitkin briefly erupts, sending ash 15,000 feet high

I'm just slightly amused that there's a volcano named the Great Sitkin.  Nice day for an eruption.

Lighthouse of the Week, May 23-29, 2021: Eggum, Lofoten Islands, Norway


This week's lighthouse is in Norway, but not mainland Norway -- it's in the Lofoten Islands/Archipelago, which is mostly not directly attached to the Norwegian mainland.  It's noted for spectacular coastal scenery -- which for Norway is saying something.

So, the lighthouse is Eggum, which is on the island of Vestvågøya, one of the main Lofoten islands (actually, probably the main one).  Here's where it is.

It happens to be located near the Lofotr Viking Museum.

Here's what we know about it (from the Lighthouse Directory, of course). 

" Date unknown (station established 1900). Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, occulting once every 6 s. 4 m (13 ft) octagonal lantern mounted on a stone base. Lantern painted white with a red roof. One of Norway's rare sand beaches adjoins the light. Located on a promontory northeast of Eggum, on the north side of Vestvågøy. "

 So now, pictures.  And I'll have another lighthouse from the Lofotens next, because it's very unique.

by Magnus Larsson

by rikscan

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Follow up on the Jocelyn Binder Maxim-France cover appearance


Last week I posted congratulations to model Jocelyn Binder for being on the cover of Maxim-France.  At the time, I noted that after some effort, I couldn't find any links to any other text or pictures in the issue.

Well, Jocelyn kindly provided more on her Instagram, which I'm passing along to my few but devoted readers below.   If you click on the pictures, they will be displayed larger, though not much, but enough to make the text readable (with good vision or glasses).

She's an amazing woman, in many different respects, not just her considerable beauty.  I wish her continued success.

I fail to feel compassion, for some reason


Not much else I can say about this.

Rep. Matt Gaetz claims $155,000 he and his fiancée wired to close on the sale of a yacht in Florida has 'gone missing' after they were targeted by 'malicious actors'

"Gaetz and his fiancée were spotted on a 41-foot yacht docked at Pier 4 at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina in March - about a week after it was revealed he may be connected to the sex-trafficking case involving his former ally Joel Greenberg. Several boat owners recalled seeing Gaetz and Luckey onboard the yacht to survey the boat during an inspection. The deal allegedly fell through a month later in April, WFLA reported."

Too bad -- but I think this is going to be one of his less important problems shortly.  And if his girl sticks with him, I'll be VERY surprised.  Maybe she needs the boat to go on a sea cruise -- a long one.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Congrats to Jocelyn


One of my favorite models for a lot of reason (beauty, grace, daring, courage -- she's survived breast cancer), Jocelyn Binder, is on the cover of Maxim-France.  And it's a doubly-enjoyable view.

I tried several different strategies to see if there was any more content from this issue online, but couldn't find anything (yet).

Another tragic argument for gun control -- as well as self-control


This is a terrible tragedy.  And I can relate to it, because I have become angered at someone who does something rude and impolite in traffic. And it has cost me -- fortunately not lives or industry, but I was taught a lesson.  It is not worth it.

Clearly it was not worth it here.  But the other thing is, as I have noted before, and which has been noted in many studies and reports and observations -- having a gun is a temptation;  the temptation is to use it.  Not in self-defense, but in self-expression, and in self-justification.   And it is STUPID to do so.  The history of basic simple gun tragedies in domestic life is just this -- what could have been just a disagreement, some shouting, some hand-waving, becomes a fatality.

It's just not worth it.

Boy, 6, is shot and killed in car booster seat 'after his mother gave other driver the finger on California freeway for cutting her off'

As I write this, on Sunday, May 23rd, the shooter has not been apprehended.  I wonder what's going through his mind right now.

I hate when this happens


Sea arches are one of the coolest combinations of erosion, geology, and ocean coastal dynamics in the world.

Unfortunately, because of erosion, they are not permanent.  I can think of the collapses of the Arch of Kerguelen, the Malta "Azure Window", and the Aruba natural bridge (the last two were relatively recent). 

Now, the Darwin Arch in the Galapagos Islands has joined the ranks of the fallen.

Darwin’s Arch, a Famed Rock Formation in the Galápagos, Collapses

The article has both before and after pictures.  Let's remember it before.

Highway 41 End-to-end Streetview Trek: In the Wisconsin Marshes


As promised, after taking a look at the Theresa Marsh, now the Highway 41 trek goes a little north to a famous, big, and important marsh and wildlife area -- Horicon. 

Just north of Lomira, if you take County Road 49, you get to the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, a very important place for lots of geese, and many other migratory birds (including whooping cranes). Worth the side trip, and we'll also visit Waupun.

Horicon Marsh

On the Horicon driving tour road.

Downtown Waupun -- the mayor's office (impressive) on the right.

Now we'll go back to Highway 41 -- and on to Fond du Lac.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

This might be the fewest words I've ever written in a blog post


Vavoom Vodka.

I recommend this video.

(I don't drink vodka.)

Charly Jordan.  You're welcome.

Still doesn't answer my urgent question


So, here's an article about the booming space tourism business.

Space tourism:  when could we plan a trip to cosmos   (that's the verbatim title of the piece, by the way)

The article describes how many people have been tourists in space (8), and the competition between Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Blue Origin for private launch, trip, orbit (?), and other stops on the itinerary, like maybe the Moon.

But it still doesn't answer my most urgent question.  Surely somebody (actually, surely two people, as that's required) must be thinking about how they could be a first in space that really never EVER could be anything less than massively historic.  So -- what?  who?  when? where?  And will there be video?

The first what?  you ask.  You should read my blog more!

Where do baby sea turtles grow up?


A lot of us have seen the cute nature documentaries where a big female sea turtle manages to crawl up on a beach, dig a big divot in the sand, and pump out a bunch of slimy turtle eggs before making its ungainly way back to the ocean.   And then we've seen the cute little sea turtle pups climb out of the hole and slap their way to the waves, if they aren't eaten by the waiting herons or hungry raccoons.  And they if they make it past the surfline, the barracudas are waiting to slurp them up as hors d'oeuvres before the skipjack course.

But obviously a valiant and clever few of those little slappers manages to grow up and become a big sea turtle too.  But where?  That question has been unanswered for many years.

Now, at least for some of them, there's an answer.

Scientists uncover longtime mystery about where some sea turtles go after hatching: The Sargasso Sea

"Scientists at the University of Central Florida attached tiny solar-powered tracking devices to 21 green sea turtles’ shells, then tracked them for 152 days. Fourteen of the turtles headed to the Sargasso Sea, a body of water defined not by land boundaries but by North Atlantic currents."

Well, I would expect that they can hide in the sargassum weed from the barracudas.  And at least the sargassum weed is good for something other than washing up on the beach and turning into a stinking mass of organic glop with floats.

Lighthouse of the Week, May 16-22, 2021: Punta de Puntarenas, Costa Rica


There are only a couple of traditional-style lighthouses in Costa Rica, and this is one of those.  It's on the Pacific Coast of the country, on a small spit of land in the Gulf of Nicoya, which partially separates the main part of Costa Rica from the Nicoya Peninsula.

So here's where that is.

This is what the Lighthouse Directory can tell us:

"2014 (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round tower with lantern and gallery. Tower clored with red and white horizontal bands; lantern painted black. ... This is Costa Rica's oldest light station, although it was inactive for many years before 2014."

Pictures and a short video are below.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Unknown Hero of Herculaneum


Being somewhat fascinated with volcanoes, this article about a reclassified skeleton in Herculaneum caught my eye.  Originally thought to be a simple soldier, the discovery of more items associated with the skeleton allowed archaeologists the chance to reassess who he was, with the tentative conclusion (we'll never know for sure) that this was an important Roman soldier, perhaps one attempting to rescue the fleeing (and doomed) citizens of Herculaneum.

First, from the Daily Mail:

Skeleton found in ruins of Herculaneum is identified as Roman officer who was killed while helping to rescue others during the Mount Vesuvius eruption 2,000 years ago

According to this article, the discovery of a backpack and some tools (and also some money) indicated he had some importance.

The BBC article was somewhat more detailed about the artifacts found.

Vesuvius ancient eruption rescuer identified at Herculaneum, says expert

"Twelve silver and two gold denarii coins were found in the man's possession - the equivalent of a month's salary for members of the elite Praetorian Guard, according to Mr Sirano.

His highly decorated gold and silver belt and a sword with an ivory handle indicate he was no ordinary soldier, while his bag contained tools likely to have been used by a faber navalis - one of the Guard's naval engineers specialised in carpentry."

Here's a picture of his sword, dagger, and tools.


Though we will never know for sure, one can imagine this soldier just "doing his job", and falling in the line of duty, attempting to rescue people under catastrophic, terrifying conditions. I salute him.

Here's a strongly-worded quote


From this Washington Post op-ed authored by Paul Waldman,

Ted Cruz just sent a very important message to Joe Manchin

I extracted the following viciously true quote:
But in 2021, restrictions on voting — from making mail voting more difficult to outlawing drop boxes to even stopping people from giving a bottle of water to voters forced to wait on hours-long lines — are not just GOP priorities. They have become the central defining goal of the Republican Party.

In light of current events, that is totally true and totally troubling.


BACK on Highway 41 in Wisconsin


It has been too long, especially when the end (however still far away) is in sight.  So now, with many Streetviews of Wisconsin saved up, we shall make progress northward.

This is apparently a crossing of Limestone Creek, which flows through the Allenton Marsh Wildlife Area. We'll get closer to another marsh up ahead.

This creek flows through the Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area. On the other side of the marsh is the town of Theresa, of course.

Theresa Marsh is still to the left. We'll take one off-highway look next.

Off-road look at Theresa Marsh from County Road 28 (I think it's a county road, it's definitely 28-something).

We'll skip the town of Theresa, but visit Lomira, Wisconsin.

Main Street Lomira -- there's a cornfield in the middle of town.

Sterr Park in Lomira

Wisconsin's "best" marsh will be featured next!!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Bye-bye Bennu


The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is now headed back to Earth (officially on May 10), bringing some bits and pieces of the asteroid it orbited and landed on (briefly) with it.

OSIRIS-REx Bids Farewell to Asteroid Bennu

So in roughly 2 1/2 years, we'll finally get to see what it got.

This picture below (which I only saw today) shows the sampling site.  The hole that was made is the darker area in the center with lighter colored rocks strewn around it.  

I just can't take it anymore


I finally have to admit that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a beautiful woman.  

She's still with baby daddy actor Jason Statham, and though they've been engaged a long time, there's apparently no wedding date set.

Sometimes marriage ruins these long-term relationships, but Jason would be smart to maintain this one using whatever means he can.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley flaunts her sizzling figure in a lacy black bra as she poses up a storm while modelling her new lingerie range

Here's a couple of pictures from the recent set.  I have to say, the M&S Web site cheats -- they show the exact same pictures of Rosie with different colors of the same design, obviously computer manipulated.  So it's harder to find the actual posing pictures that tabloids like the Daily Mail and The Sun use.