30APR2018 – Quote of the Day

I know, I know.  It’s almost May, but enjoy it anyway.

 

STAVE II:  THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS

“The school is not quite deserted,” said the Ghost. “A
solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still.”

Scrooge said he knew it. And he sobbed.

They left the high-road, by a well-remembered lane, and
soon approached a mansion of dull red brick, with a little
weathercock-surmounted cupola, on the roof, and a bell
hanging in it. It was a large house, but one of broken
fortunes; for the spacious offices were little used, their walls
were damp and mossy, their windows broken, and their
gates decayed. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables;
and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass.
Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state, within; for
entering the dreary hall, and glancing through the open
doors of many rooms, they found them poorly furnished,
cold, and vast. There was an earthy savour in the air, a
chilly bareness in the place, which associated itself somehow
with too much getting up by candle-light, and not too
much to eat.

They went, the Ghost and Scrooge, across the hall, to a
door at the back of the house. It opened before them, and
disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by
lines of plain deal forms and desks. At one of these a lonely
boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down
upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he
used to be.

Not a latent echo in the house, not a squeak and scuffle
from the mice behind the panelling, not a drip from the
half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind, not a sigh among
the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar, not the idle
swinging of an empty store-house door, no, not a clicking in
the fire, but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening
influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears.

The Spirit touched him on the arm, and pointed to his
younger self, intent upon his reading. Suddenly a man, in
foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at:
stood outside the window, with an axe stuck in his belt, and
leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood.

“Why, it’s Ali Baba!” Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. “It’s
dear old honest Ali Baba! Yes, yes, I know! One Christmas
time, when yonder solitary child was left here all alone,
he did come, for the first time, just like that. Poor boy! And
Valentine,” said Scrooge, “and his wild brother, Orson; there
they go! And what’s his name, who was put down in his
drawers, asleep, at the Gate of Damascus; don’t you see him!
And the Sultan’s Groom turned upside down by the Genii;
there he is upon his head! Serve him right. I’m glad of it.
What business had he to be married to the Princess!”

To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature
on such subjects, in a most extraordinary voice between
laughing and crying; and to see his heightened and excited
face; would have been a surprise to his business friends in
the city, indeed.

“There’s the Parrot!” cried Scrooge. “Green body and
yellow tail, with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the
top of his head; there he is! Poor Robin Crusoe, he called
him, when he came home again after sailing round the
island. ‘Poor Robin Crusoe, where have you been, Robin
Crusoe?’  The man thought he was dreaming, but he wasn’t.
It was the Parrot, you know. There goes Friday, running
for his life to the little creek! Halloa! Hoop! Halloo!”

Then, with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his
usual character, he said, in pity for his former self, “Poor
boy!” and cried again.

“I wish,” Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his
pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his
cuff: “but it’s too late now.”

“What is the matter?” asked the Spirit.

“Nothing,” said Scrooge. “Nothing. There was a boy
singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should
like to have given him something: that’s all.”

The Ghost smiled thoughtfully, and waved its hand:
saying as it did so, “Let us see another Christmas!”

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

IN PROSE
BEING
A Ghost Story of Christmas

by Charles Dickens

 

 

 

27APR2018 – Quote of the Day

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

by Fanny Fern in ‘Willis Parton’ (c. 1872),

I can’t confirm that this is truly universal but Camera Girl knew this saying before we met.  Before our first outing she invited me over for breakfast and prepared ham steak and used the fat to deep fry eggs and home fried potatoes.  Being from a large family where you had to battle for every last scrap of food this was definitely unfair.  I never stood a chance of escaping her web.  And here I am forty three years later.  Life is cruel.  So if a woman is interested in feeding you take that as a good sign.

Sony A7 III – Oddball Test

I was taking a bunch of test shots with the A7 III today.  As I mentioned earlier the longest Sony lens I have with native e-mount is the 55mm f\1.8.  I saw an opportunity to test out the autofocus at a long distance with a moving subject.  Because I took this at about 150 feet away I cropped this thing to a ridiculous extent and it shows but also notice that the fox is in focus.  Pardon the poor quality of this jpeg (figuring out the new Capture 1 for the A7 III)  but this tells me two things.

  1.  The autofocus is very, very good.
  2. I’ve got to get some longer native e-mount lenses.
Sony 55mm f\1.8 on Sony A7 III (extreme crop)

Sony A7III – The Eagle Has Landed

Camera Girl signed for the camera today.  Tonight, I’ll set it up and see what I have to do to get a Capture 1 upgrade for that camera.  I think I’ll take some pictures of my grandson playing soccer tomorrow morning, to test out the autofocus.  If I can’t get the Capture 1 update I’ll have to go with jpegs.  Hopefully by the end of the weekend I’ll know if this camera is the end of a long road of Sony waiting.

20APR2018 – Quote of the Day

Some more Zorba.

 

Chapter XVIII

‘Have you ever been to war, Zorba?’

‘How do I know?’ he asked with a frown. I can’t remember. What war?’

‘I mean, have you ever fought for your country?’

‘Couldn’t you talk about something else? All that nonsense is over and done with and
best forgotten.’

‘Do you call that nonsense, Zorba? Aren’t you ashamed? Is that how you speak of
your country?’

Zorba raised his head and looked at me. I was lying on my bed, too, and the oil-lamp
was burning above my head. He looked at me severely for a time, then, taking a firm
hold of his moustache, said:

“That’s a half-baked thing to say; it’s what I expect from a schoolmaster. I might as
well be singing, boss, for all the good it is my talking to you, if you’ll pardon my saying
so.’

‘What?’ I protested. ‘I understand things, Zorba, don’t forget.’

‘Yes, you understand with your brain. You say: “This is right, and that’s wrong; this is

true, and that isn’t; he’s right, the other one’s wrong …” But where does that lead us?

While you are talking I watch your arms and chest. Well, what are they doing? They’re

silent. They don’t say a word. As though they hadn’t a drop of blood between them.

Well, what do you think you understand with? With your head? Bah!’

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

09APR2018 – Quote of the Day

When I was grade school kid every English teacher made you read Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.”  But unlike most of the stuff given to us that story spoke to me.  And after a lifetime of doing stupid things it’s all the more resonant.

 

Following at the man’s heels was a big native dog. It was a wolf dog, gray-coated and not noticeably different from its brother, the wild wolf. The animal was worried by the great cold. It knew that this was no time for traveling. Its own feeling was closer to the truth than the man’s judgment. In reality, it was not merely colder than 50 below zero; it was colder than 60 below, than 70 below. It was 75 below zero. Because the freezing point is 32 above zero, it meant that there were 107 degrees of frost.The dog did not know anything about temperatures. Possibly in its brain there was no understanding of a condition of very cold, such as was in the man’s brain. But the animal sensed the danger. Its fear made it question eagerly every movement of the man as if expecting him to go into camp or to seek shelter somewhere and build a fire. The dog had learned about fire, and it wanted fire. Otherwise, it would dig itself into the snow and find shelter from the cold air.

 

Who’s Running the Asylum?

With all the items in the news about Silicon Valley de-platforming anyone that doesn’t parrot the Progressive Talking Points it is becoming crystal clear that we are no longer one nation, indivisible. We are demonstrably two nations.    And what is also becoming clear is that we don’t like each other at all.  Of course most of us don’t react the way the YouTube shooter reacted to her demonetization.  But she was a vegan so that may be an extenuating circumstance.  Regardless, we are seeing a sea change in the way Americans react to each other.  And nothing makes this point more than who we elected President.  And Trump was a direct result of Obama.  Obama was the moment when the Left took off the mask and went for broke.  The Democrats used up all their political capital to get Obamacare over the finish line.  It cost them the House and the Senate and a bunch of state legislatures and governorships.  And once he lost the legislative option he started using  Executive Orders and the Justice Department to start punishing the country for rejecting his agenda.  He supported BLM thuggery and punished the police any chance he got.

So now it’s our turn. President Trump is a gigantic thumb in the eye to all the Obama Administration personnel hanging onto their executive branch jobs.  He cancels all the programs they favor and prunes away the excess jobs that they dole out to their various sychophants.  And he always adds insult to injury.  He mocks them on Twitter and names names.  He continues to provide help to the normal people.  He goes after the illegal immigrants and the criminals and he calls them names while doing it.  It’s like having George Costanza as President.  Spite is almost the highest policy imperative there is.

And where does this all go? Damned if I know.  I expect the program to continue as long as Trump is President.  I hope he makes a second term.  Eight years with him in charge may be enough to break down the Deep State.  And if he manages to tutor Pence or some other hopeful republican in the nuances of Trumpian politics maybe we can get a total of sixteen years under a non-leftist regime.  And that should be enough to find out if there are enough Americans left in America to take back the country from the lunatics.  I’m pretty sure it’s a long shot.  We’ve never been able to string together enough luck to do more than slow down the long march down the slippery slope to Hell but at least we have a shot.

But, enough daydreaming. Let’s look at what we have to look forward to in the next couple of years.  Google and Facebook and Microsoft and Amazon and all the other thought-police are going to demonetize anyone they don’t like (which is us) and try to completely de-platform the right wing.  And for the most part they will succeed.  Will the right-wing manage to build its own platforms?  Maybe.  Will it happen smoothly? No.  But I have a feeling that the Silicon Valley Grandees will have plenty of their own problems.  President Trump doesn’t particularly like them.  And he has a funny way of making trouble for the folks he doesn’t like.  So I think it will be an interesting world we’ll live in and I think it’ll be bumpy but I think we are going to see the landscape begin to tilt in our direction.  Hopefully I don’t sound too optimistic but I think those who are discouraged should be patient.  Do your part.  Support the stuff you like and support Trump.  He’s our last best hope.