04JUL2019 – OCF Update – Happy Fourth of July

Just a quick update.  I’m, of course, going to a family barbecue today.  But I’m off for a couple of weeks and will use the time to test out some lenses I’ve rented the following lenses:

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS and the Sony 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters and the

Mitakon SpeedMaster 50mm f/0.95 Lens for Sony E.

I hope to have some interesting conclusions about these two products.  I’ve been looking for a telephoto and think the 100-400 might be a more useful lens that the 200-600 that is coming out next month.  And the 50mm 0.95 is probably not something I need but it might be fun to have such an extremely thin plane of focus in certain shots.

Shatner-Khan was postponed due to illness but I have plans to publish important original research on the subject in the weeks ahead.

And I plan to eat my share of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob (hand shucked!) and watermelon in the days to come.  To all of you enjoy our Independence Day and make sure that your children and grandchildren know the truth and don’t let them be misled by the Colin Kaepernicks and Nikes of the world.  We had to separate ourselves from tyranny once before and we can do it again.  In fact just by how we think of these people, we already have.

Here’s a little reminder.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

 

 

03JUL2018 – OCF Update – July, The Greatest Month of the Year

The earth revolves around the sun.  Well actually they both move around the common center of gravity of the whole solar system.  But since the sun is monstrously heavier than the rest of the solar system combined, this center of gravity is within the spheroid of the sun so I won’t quibble about it (starting now!).  So, the year is based on the Earth’s orbit around the sun which takes 365 days and a fraction.  A month is supposed to correspond to the revolution of Luna around Earth.  This is about 28 days.  If you try and divide 365 and a fraction by 28 and a fraction you are not going to get a whole number.  And this makes perfect sense.  The revolutional periods are completely unrelated.  And so, we end up with months with lengths varying from 28 days to 31 days and even one that varies every four years to try and make up for the fractions.   What a silly system.  Days, weeks, months (if we even need them at all) and years should be decoupled and allowed to do their own thing.  And don’t even get me started about daylight savings time.  So, you can see I have no particular respect for the calendar and its divisions.

But there is one exception.  Every year I wax poetic about my quasi-religious devotion to one particular example of the imperfect lunar division to the solar year, namely the month of July.  July is the greatest human invention that I know of.  In the northern hemisphere, which is the only hemisphere that I probably will ever encounter, July represents the quintessence of earthly delight.  The days are long, the weather is hot and sunny, and the human spirit cries out for leisure and fun.  And every year I answer that call.  I make sure to take time off and commune with nature and with my friends and family, read books and watch movies, engage in various silly recreational activities, eat all kinds of delicious poisons and commit all manner of misdemeanors against the work ethic.  It’s as close to heaven on earth as I know of.  Now here in New England, where the inhabitants take irrational pride in their ability to withstand horrific climatic extremes of cold and sunless gloom there are many who find July too “hot.”  I guess to each his own.  Maybe my Mediterranean blood is irrational in preferring extreme heat and light to more hyperborean conditions.  But based on my observation of the rest of the New England persona I think humanity would confirm my bias over theirs.  So I’ll take it as a given that July rules.

And the beauty of this month is that everyone else is more or less doing the same thing.  Business productivity goes to hell, television is taken over by boring reruns and truly unwatchable replacement series that no one bothers with and the only people really working are amusement park and hotel employees.  Even website traffic hits its low point in July.  And that is good.  Bloggers need time to recharge their batteries and readers need a break from blather.

Now, don’t panic.  I do not intend to abandon the faithful readers of Orion’s Cold Fire.  After all, writing this blog is one of the high points of my week (and we’ll talk about the origin of the week another time) and not something to be abandoned just because fun is to be had.  I will be providing quotes and photos on my usual daily basis and I will comment on the unfolding Trumpocalypse on a fairly regular basis and I will provide Trump parodies and movie and book reviews as I produce them.  But I might not be as punctual as I usually am and I may have a short hiatus here and there.  After all, July is also my birth month and I like to be lazy right around that blessed date.  So, bear with me and we’ll get through this together.

photog

July

The line goes there are only two seasons in New England.  Winter and July.  Usually I have this big family gathering in July.  It’s a ton of planning and communication and it sort of monopolizes a good chunk of the month with the before, during and after.   But conflicting commitments have forced me to schedule the event in late August.  In a way, this is kind of a good thing.  This means I can enjoy July on its own merits.  So, the New England statement about July acknowledges the fact that July is pure summer.  June can start out feeling like spring.   August can end up feeling like fall.  July has no excuses.  It has to deliver.  Too many children (and adults) are depending on it.  On Bastille Day, I want to look up at a pale blue sky with a blazing sun forcing me to close my eyes and feel the heat of the daystar on my face.  I want to lay in a hammock under a shady tree and hear the deafening whir of the cicadas in the trees overhead.  I want a hot breeze to blow over me and feel the oven-like heat surround me and make me think that jumping in a swimming pool is actually a good idea.  I want a glass of lemonade to seem tempting.  I want to be so lazy that reading an old book like Dandelion Wine sounds strenuous.  I want to put off anything difficult like watching old movies or eating ice cream until night.  I want to watch a baseball game as if I actually care who wins.  I want to take my grandsons fishing.  I want to take the perfect photo of the Milky Way or a dragonfly’s eye.  I want to write a classic short story.  And I want to spend one whole day just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

As you can tell I’m pretty passionate about July.  Truth be told July belongs to me.  I patented it many years ago.  I own it lock stock and barrel.  So, I feel it’s my duty to reap the maximum benefit from it every year.  And once it’s over I relinquish my hold on summer.  After that it’s fitting to put aside childish things.  It’ll be time to start considering the realities of the calendar.  And sure, there are all kinds of things to look forward to in Autumn.  There’s Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead with all that those entail.   But never again for the rest of the year ahead is there that feeling of pure freedom.  Maybe it’s my Mediterranean blood.  Possibly northern peoples don’t crave the intemperate heat of July.  Or maybe if I lived in a southern state I would have my fill of heat and shun July’s burning sun.  Maybe.  But neither of these is the case.  I truly believe that if July disappoints and does not present me with the extreme weather I crave then my whole year is spoiled and I will go into the colder seasons weakened and at a disadvantage.

So, you see July is my time.  Maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way.  But trust me, July belongs to me.  The rest of you just get to borrow it.  But I don’t mind sharing.  You’re welcome.  Enjoy.