Sunday, February 28, 2021

A side trip to a mansion off Highway 41


Just a short Highway 41 Streetview trek advance this time.

The unremarkable intersection here is Half Day Road. However, just a short jaunt to the west down Half Day Road leads to Point Drive, where a man by the name of Michael Jordan has a small mansion.

This is as close as StreetView can get to the Jordan mansion. He's been trying to sell it, but as of May 2020, he hadn't.  Bet there aren't a lot of buyers in this price range.  If you cruise around the circle as much as possible, you'll see a small rectangular area that's blurred out.  That's the gate of the drive with the number "23" on it.  If you go to Google Maps, and then satellite view, you can see the whole layout of the place.  It's great, but did he really want it that close to the railroad tracks?

Cruising by the Land Rover and BMW of Lake Bluff. Clearly this is a somewhat upper crust section of Chicagoland.

On Highway 41 north of Buckley Road.

Now that we've gotten this far, there's not much of Illinois left.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

This is good news from NASA (though not exactly new)


Just a couple of days ago, about the time that the Perseverance rover landed on Mars, I found out that NASA had extended the Juno mission in the Jupiter system.  Now, after having taken a look at big ol' Jupe, it has a chance to visit the Galilean moons (except Callisto).  Even though I just learned this news, apparently they announced it in mid-January.  So, well, what goes around comes around.

(That's an orbit joke.)

The extended mission is described here:  

NASA’s Juno Mission Expands Into the Future

To celebrate, NASA released more volunteer-processed images like this. (The volunteers are getting pretty good at this.)

Lighthouse of the Week, February 21-27, 2021: Boom Island, Minnesota, USA


The Mississippi River is big enough to have real working lighthouses, of various sizes, along its entire length.  Checking back in my Lighthouse of the Week history, I apparently have not yet feature an actual working Mississippi River lighthouse yet.

Although this lighthouse is also on the Mississippi River, I'll keep my streak intact, because this isn't really a working lighthouse, either.  In fact, it's located in Minneapolis, considerably further north than lighthouses would even  be needed.

The name of this lighthouse is the Boom Island Lighthouse, and it is located on the site of a former lumber camp.  Boom Island isn't an island, it's a park, but it appears that the Boom Island lighthouse is actually on an island named Hall Island.  I did a little checking and it is on Hall Island, and there's a story about that, because Hall Island is a restored island park.   Check the map to see where it is located.

The lighthouse may now serve a navigational purpose -- marking where the river cruise boat location is.  It may also note where the kayakers should be careful about going, because I imagine it's hard to paddle against the actual flow of the river.  Note that just downstream there is another real island, Nicollet Island. 

Having said all that, here's a bit more about the interesting Boom Island lighthouse.

"Date unknown. Active (privately maintained and unofficial); focal plane about 55 ft (17 m); continuous white light. Approx. 45 ft (14 m) hexagonal tower with an open lantern, mounted on a hexagonal stone base. Tower painted white with a narrow blue horizontal band."

I did some additional searching, and it is possible that in the past, this was actually a working lighthouse for the logging camp.   I can't be sure about that, though.

However, I did find a good article about the entire area --- Boom Island: One Thing After Another

So, it may or may not have been a working lighthouse a considerable time ago, and it's on an island that once was an island, then wasn't, and now is again, but it's named for a place that used to be an island but isn't one anymore, which is not the piece of land on which it actually is located.

And I couldn't find a year when it was built.  (The Lighthouse Directory couldn't either.)

So, now, how about some pictures?

Highway 41 goes further north in greater Chicagoland


Back on the road again, as the road -- Highway 41 -- goes northward from Chicago.  When last we trekked, Highway 41 was just jumping onto Interstate 94 for a stretch.'

Just south of where Highway 41 joins I-94, Wilmette's Loyola Academy can be glimpsed.


And, just north of where Highway 41 joins I-94, Wilmette's New Trier High School can be seen. It's the brown brick and windows building partially obscured by trees, not the white building with windows closer to the road.

Through the trees here is the best view I could find of the Skokie Lagoons. Here's more about them. History of the Skokie Lagoons (This could also be the source of the name "Skokie".)

This several-mile stretch of Highway 41 and I-94's dual identity ends here (but keep that number in mind). The trek will head toward Waukegan. (Don't you love all the Native American names around here?)

The road on the overpass is called Lake-Cook Road, and it marks the northern boundary between Cook County (which Chicago is in, if you haven't figured that out), and Lake County, which should also be easy to figure out.

Next up -- the home of a legend (or at least we'll get close to it).

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Michelle Keegan is fit


She's a gorgeous woman, accomplished actress, has her own fashion lines, and is married to a hunky actor/presenter/fitness guy named Mark Wright, so it should not be a surprise that Michelle Keegan is in absolutely fine physical shape.  (Of course, she has one too.)

She demonstrates this in Women's Health (UK version, unfortunately).

Looks a bit like Gal Gadot here

Yet another argument for gun control


Three people including alleged shooter Joshua Jamal Williams were killed after he walked into Jefferson Gun Outlet – a store and indoor shooting range - in Metairie [Louisiana] with his brother at around 3pm, carrying a pistol with an extended magazine unholstered.

When staff approached him to ask him to unload his weapon, Williams fired off a warning shot and then fatally shot 47-year-old store clerk Noah Fischbach, police sources told

Several armed patrons inside the gun outlet then began exchanging gunfire with Williams.

PICTURED: Man, 27, who shot dead New Orleans gun store clerk, 47, when he was asked to unload his weapon – before being killed by customers in gunfight that left woman dead

I think that's self-explanatory enough.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Well, that explains it


I wondered how newly-elected Colorado reprehensibly repugnant Representative Lauren Boebert could appear in a virtual committee meeting with part of her gun collection behind her on the wall, but then I looked closer at the note she had posted there.  I guess it was a reminder not to think about certain inconvenient facts about mass shootings in the state she represents (well, she represents just part of the state, to be fair). 

On the rim of Roter Kamm


NASA's Earth Observatory features many different kinds of satellite imagery, both data from satellites and more direct observational images and photographs (i.e., showing what things look like on Earth from high above it).  A few days ago they featured an astronaut photograph of an impact crater in the Namibian Desert -- that's in Africa -- named Roter Kamm, translated to English as "The Red Comb".

The Red Comb

It is locatable with Google Maps -- right here.  I zoomed out far enough that you can also see Mount Aurusberg.  On the map, that's the green shape above the crater.  It's part of the mountain range that's also visible in the Earth Observatory photo. 

It's in a very remote and hostile place.  I did a bit of Google map searching, but I couldn't definitively locate the nearest inhabited location.  Might be Rosh Pinah, which is a mining town - read on. 

So I wondered if there were any pictures of it taken from the ground.  And I found one (shown below), which has a decidedly Martian feel.  The basic story is that the chap that took it had a friend who could get him there -- because being a place where diamonds are mined, it's an area that's closed to the public.

As if there were enough members of the public who would want to go there.  But I get it -- even if Roter Kamm doesn't attract tourists, the diamonds probably would attract diamond poachers.  And I've heard, though I'm not pursuing that now, that in this region the beach sands include the occasional diamond. 

So here's the pic from the rim of Roter Kamm, which by now has mostly filled with red Namib desert dust.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

No matter what you think of her


I don't have a negative opinion of Gwyneth Paltrow;  I know some people do, and I know that other people have a very high opinion of her.  I think she's done remarkable things as both an actress and entrepeneur, and of course she's had high profile romances and breakups, became (and still is) a mother, done the conscious uncoupling thing, and was recently married.  Goop was one of the first famous influencer commerce sites, and it's been successful, albeit with both expensive and weird products.

Sooo... as I said, no matter what you think of her, I was sorry to read that she was infected with COVID-19 (not that unusual in the U.S. or California), and is suffering from the effects of  "long covid".  I hope she improves.

Gwyneth Paltrow says she has long Covid: A-lister reveals she had COVID-19 'early on' and it has left her with 'long-term fatigue' 'body inflammation and 'brain fog' (but she is recovering with the help of Goop products)

La Soufriere's lava dome still growing


It's been difficult to find ongoing information about the slow-growth eruption of La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent (not to be confused with other volcanoes with that or similar names).  But I did find this recent video.   The best (brief) live footage starts at the 5:17 mark.  Of course, you can listen to the whole thing if you want to get the full status report.

Tell me about it


Yes, I agree.

On dating apps, ‘covid vaccinated’ and ‘fully vaccinated’ are popping up in profile names. Does that mean it’s okay to be intimate?


"Instead, he plans to remain celibate. That can be a hard call for some: Studies have shown that the lack of physical intimacy and loneliness can have serious health consequences."

Been there, doing that.

COVID-19 is a pain.

Highway 41 Streetview trek -- scooting through Chicago's northern suburbia


If you want to stop and shop, here's a good place; Skokie Boulevard/ Highway 41 passes by the Westfield Old Orchard shopping complex. Maybe it used to be called a "mall", but I think that term is going out of favor.

Skokie Boulevard meets Old Orchard Road.

Now passing by the Edens Plaza (which probably offers more shopping), approaching a VII (not the number 7 in Roman numerals, this is a Very Important Intersection).

So, right here where the end of Skokie Boulevard crosses the Skokie River (I told you we'd encounter that again), Highway 41 jumps onto Interstate 94, and will share that dual designation for a few miles. This is one of the places where Highway 41 loses its "highway" character to the interstate system. If you were doing a Highway 41 end-to-end drive, it wouldn't be a problem, but if you were taking this trek the slower scenic way, like by bike or roller skating or (wow) hiking it, it would be hard if not impossible to stay on Highway 41 for awhile. So when this happens, I'll take occasional side trips on nearby side roads that might offer an alternate route that would be permissible to alternate forms of transportation.

A look back at Valentine's Day


Looking back a week at a nice Valentine's Day-themed (in more ways than one) Instagram offering from luscious Heather Monique.

Lighthouse of the Week, February 14-20, 2021: Harrison Point, Barbados


This week's lighthouse is a nearly-defunct one, though it has a light.  The Lighthouse Directory says that it is gravely endangered.  Interesting "bio" on it -- here's the Lighthouses of Barbados page from the directory, where you can read it.  It's the northernmost lighthouse on the island -- see the map -- and in a fairly rural location, it appears. Most of the Barbadian lighthouses are on the southern end.

Here's the basics on it from the Lighthouse Directory.

"1925. Reactivated (inactive 2007(?)-2011); focal plane 59 m (194 ft); continuous red light. 26 m (85 ft) concrete block tower with lantern and gallery, originally painted white; lantern red. Keeper's quarters and other light station buildings abandoned and in ruins."

 Below, pictures, a stamp, and a video.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Valentine's Day is tomorrow


I have created a theme with these pictures.  Guess what it is.

I hope you have something to look forward to on Valentine's Day.

Highway 41 Streetview Trek: into the northern suburbs


Continuing the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek, having fully experienced the city of Chicago, the visual travel log now moves into the suburbs.

Lincolnwood Fire Department

Highway 41 goes through Lincolnwood into Skokie. Skokie is somewhat famous for being one of the main Chicago suburbs with a large Jewish population, which has led to some confrontations with neo-Nazis through the years. It's also mildly famous because no one is quite sure why it's named "Skokie".

And in Skokie, where Lincoln Avenue intersects with Skokie Boulevard, Highway 41 opts to continue northward on Skokie Boulevard, right here. You can tell because the sign says so.


The boulevard goes through some nature, called the Emily Oaks Nature Center.


Skokie Boulevard and Main Street. Main Street is actually very quintessential suburbia, not really a street with a large amount of economic activity.

Skokie Boulevard and Gross Point Road. I'm just a bit fascinated by the name Gross Point. It's either big or ... bad.

Obviously we're likely to see more of Chicago suburbia next time.

Lighthouse of the Week, February 7-13, 2021: Nordmarsch, Germany


Germany has quite a few lighthouses for not a lot of ocean coastline.  It's a close thing, but it might have more km of coastline on the Baltic Sea than on the North Sea. This one is quite far north, nearly to Denmark.  It's on an island named Nordmarsch-Langeneß in a group of islands called the Halligen, which is apparently representative of islands without dikes to protect them.

By the way, lighthouses are called "Leuchtturm" in Germany.

Click on this line to see where it is.

Here are a few lines from the Lighthouse Directory describing it:

"1902. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); three long white flashes every 20 s, white or red depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse is unpainted brown brick; lantern is white with a black roof. Fresnel lens in use."

Several pictures are below (though there aren't a lot of them available -- it's not easy to get to this low-inhabitant island).   A couple of them are from this page: Lighthouse pages from Anke and Jens

The Fresnel lens is visible in the last one.

What's 'scup' ?


I heard a fish referred to as a "scup" recently.  I'd never heard of that before, so obviously I looked it up.  Turns out that it's also called "porgy", which is a name I had heard before.

Let's find out a bit more about scup / porgy.

Learn about: Scup

I can't say that I've ever caught scup, on the line or at the table.  According to information available, they are a fun fish to catch, and they taste very good.

They're found offshore the Northeast, up to Massachusetts.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Can you see Bok Tower from the road?


Bok Tower is a carillon in a garden that doubles as a bird sanctuary in Polk County, Florida, south of Orlando.  It was a tourist attraction in Florida long before Disney and even before car air-conditioning, which made summers in Florida semi-survivable.

Bok Tower up close:

In one of my speculative moods, I wondered if Bok Tower is visible from the road, aka StreetView.  Turns out it is, but you have to look close.   I figured it would be, because it is high above the flatness of south-central Florida.  Stay centered and zoom in. 

Count that as another itch scratched. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Going on an ice fishing cruise


In this case, the ice fishermen had to go with the floe.

(They didn't have much of a choice.)

Coast Guard rescues 66 ice anglers in Wisconsin's Sturgeon Bay after the ice they were fishing on broke free and drifted into Lake Michigan

Another reason Senator Ben Sasse (Nebraska) should become an independent ... or a Democrat


Nebraska senator Ben Sasse, despite the fact that he pretty much voted for everything that former President Trump offered up, has at least called the President bad names, said he's bad for the country, and has made noises indicating he might vote to convict him in the impeachment trial coming up.  (Note that he toed the party line and didn't vote to impeach Trump the first time he had the chance, of course.)

For this, he has drawn the resentment and ire of Trump acolytes in Nebraska (which is unsurprising, as this isn't the only place this is happening, further evidence of the level of mind control that Trump and his media allies exerted over the faithful Republican, Fox News (and OAN) -watching, Parler-using, gun-toting, abortion-hating, populace in this country.  You know, the ones who'd still vote for him if he committed murder on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.  Well, Donald didn't, but the rioters and intruders and vandals and looters and miscreants he incited to attack Congress did.

But back to my subject.  Ben Sasse got censured by Nebraska Republicans.  So I quietly urge him again;  quit the Republican Party.  You don't like them and they don't like you.  So show some gumption (aka courage) and get out.


Sasse's message to Nebraska GOP as he faces censure: 'Politics isn't about the weird worship of one dude'

"Sasse has been a vocal critic of the former President's claims casting doubt on the election results' veracity. In December, Sasse wrote on Facebook that he had been urging his Republican colleagues to "reject" objecting to the certification process of the Electoral College and then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory, adding that talk of objecting to the process is a "dangerous ploy."

In the video at the CNN link, Sasse points out that he's one of the most conservative voters in the Senate, so he and the Democratic Party are probably a pretty poor fit.  But he can declare himself and independent and divorce himself from the idiots running his state party.

I had a thought as I finished this up -- if Sasse actually does vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial, he might not have to quit the party.  They might actually attempt to expel him.

Or worse.  Remember that gun-toting part.  

Wow, this could be a novel


After reading this article from the Daily Mail, I knew a lot more about Melo pearls than I did before.  In fact, that wasn't difficult to accomplish, because I literally knew nothing about Melo pearls before I read this article.

Melo pearl

Moving on, here's the article.  Somebody found one of these pearls in Thailand, and that's a good thing for their family.  They'd better get full price for it.

Poor fisherman stumbles across rare ORANGE pearl worth £250,000 inside a snail shell on a Thai beach

Are we out of Chicago yet? on the Highway 41 Streetview Trek


Now that Highway 41 is no longer Lake Shore Drive as it becomes a series of avenues in Chicago, the Chicago boundary cannot be that far away, and then the suburbs beckon, along with an engineering monument.  So let's go see some views.

Through the trees is Amundsen High School. Very famous alumni of this school are dancer/ choreographer/ director Bob Fosse, director Michael Mann (NOT the climate scientist), and actor Roy Thinnes.

At this not particularly noteworthy or noticeable intersection, Foster and Lincoln, Highway 41 turns north onto Lincoln. But for a moment, we're going to continue down Foster Avenue a little bit further to go see something truly historic, the engineering monument I mentioned in the introduction.

Speaking of Swedish (not actually speaking Swedish), this is the Swedish Covenant Hospital complex.

The historic place/engineering monument: The water being crossed here on Foster Avenue is the North Shore Channel, built between 1907 and 1910. It was built to enhance the flow of the North Branch of the Chicago River into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. So literally just south of here, the channel flows into the North Branch of the Chicago River. The channel actually originates at Wilmette Harbor, so the water from the lake flows out of the lake, into the channel, and then into the North Branch. The flow of the North Branch and South Branch was thus reversed, so both rivers flow out of the lake and into the Sanitary and Ship Canal, which flows to the Des Plaines River, which then flows to the Illinois River and finally the Mississippi River. (The North Branch of the Chicago River parallels the Skokie River; we aren't done with that yet.)

Read more: Reversing the flow. 

Now the trek returns to Lincoln Avenue and heads north.

Bearing to the northwest here in Peterson Park.


Passing by Mather High School. It's named after the first director of the National Park Service, who actually has his name on a lot of things, including Mather Gorge in Great Falls National Park north of D.C. Since it opened in 1959, it doesn't have really famous alumni like Amundsen. However, Max Levchin, who founded both PayPal and Yelp, graduated from here.

Here's where Highway 41 actually crosses the North Shore Channel AND

this is where Highway 41 leaves Chicago and enters the suburbs, which here happens to be Lincolnwood.

Suburbia beckons us.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Bit of a man crush here


Well, I wouldn't say that I have the same level of visual attraction to Luke Evans as I do to Demi Rose Mawby or Alexis Ren, but I wouldn't mind being this fit and handsome.

Actor Luke Evans flaunts his ripped physique in tiny red shorts at Sydney's Bondi Beach... as he unveils a new leg tattoo with a mystery pal

Hey, he played Bard in The Hobbit movies, so that made him a guy to admire right there. 

Another argument for gun control


I'll just leave this here, but it shows that if guns are in the home, and someone is tempted to use them in situations where they really aren't needed, things like this might happen.

And this did happen.  (This was in Pennsylvania.)

Three dead in a fight over snow: Man, 47, shoots feuding neighbors with handgun and rifle for shoveling snow into his yard - before turning gun on himself

Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 winners


I have a backlog of links to photography contests from last year (all via the Daily Mail, which alerts me to them) -- I may put together a post just with those links, so people interested could use that as a starting point.  Now that it's January 2021, the 2020 contests will start reporting their winners, so this year I'll try to keep up.

The first contest I'll feature here is the Travel Photographer of the Year contest.

Daily Mail article:

The stunning winning images from the 2020 Travel Photographer of the Year contest show life on earth at its most beautiful, bizarre... and brutal

The Web site:  Travel Photographer of the Year - 2020 Winners 

It's really difficult to choose just one, but I'll choose a different one than any shown in the article.  I have to note, though, the one with the bear and the volcano in Kamchatka is really great.

This one, which was Special Mention and which has a lighthouse in it, is from Edward Hyde, UK.

Lighthouse of the Week, January 31 - February 6, 2021: Mersey Bluff, Tasmania, Australia


I decided to keep with the vertical stripes theme this week, but this time the stripes are red.  The lighthouse this week is the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, on the bluff that extends out of Devenport, Tasmania into the Bass Strait, pointing generally toward Australia.  This map link shows the location within the full context of Tasmania.  If you zoom in, you'll see that the intent of this lighthouse was to guide mariners around the bluff and to the Mersey River.  

I acquired the information below from the Seaside Lights Web site page on this lighthouse.

"Work on the lighthouse started on October 16 1888, and was completed almost 12 months later on May 28 1889. The original Chance Bros. 4th order dioptric lens was first lit on 2nd August 1889, and used kerosene. The first lighthouse keeper was Mr W. Jacques, transferred from Swan Island. A second house was later built for the assistant keeper.

In 1920, it was converted to automatic acetylene gas operation and was de-manned. The keepers' houses were let to local tenants until they were demolished in 1966.

The Lighthouse was converted to hydro electricity with gas standby in 1952, and a 2nd order (700mm) fixed lens was installed. In 1978 it was further converted to all electric operation."

This page also says the stripes were painted on the tower in 1929. 

According to the Lighthouse Directory, the tower is 16 meters tall.  

Below are the pictures; there are many, as it has easy access.

This final beautiful shot is from Chilby Photography

Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek in Chicago: the last of Lake Shore Drive


Seriously, Lake Shore Drive in Chicago is a Highway 41 highlight, so I spent some time on it.  Here, we reach the end of the drive and head inland.

Inland from Montrose Beach, there's a sports complex, with a track and a "Cricket Hill".

At this overpass, just south of Foster Beach, Highway 41 gets off the lake shore and heads west and inland. Driving wise, you can't actually do it here; the exit was back south a bit.

Here's the actual turn after exiting Lake Shore Drive onto Foster Avenue. Note that there's another colorful mural on the underpass wall, directly under the overpass that was seen in the previous StreetView.

Heading inland by Mariano's, a grocery store.

Residential area on Foster Avenue.

About a half-block off of Foster Avenue on Clark Street is the Swedish-American Museum. I have no idea what's on exhibit here.  Likely it's related to Swedish-Americans.