A photog and His Corner

Old people and literary types will have heard of Thomas Mann.  He was a German author born in 1875.  He won the Nobel Prize in literature in the 1920s and he belonged to the Modernist school.  Back in the 1970s if you had a high school English teacher who was especially perverse he would assign a book of Mann’s called “Death in Venice and Other Stories.”  Now the title story “Death in Venice,” is vile.  It’s the story of an old German writer who has a premonition of death and goes to Venice to feel young again.  He has an infatuation verging on pedophilia for an adolescent boy that mercifully goes unfulfilled and then to the reader’s great relief the protagonist dies.  The only legitimate reason to read this story is for law enforcement profilers to gain a better understanding of pedophile motivation.

One of the other stories in the book is called “A Man and His Dog.”  It is autobiographical and describes Mann’s life in a suburban/rural area of Germany.  He chronicles the walks he takes with his approximately German Shorthaired Pointer dog Bashan.  We hear about the landscape, the flora and fauna and the farmland occupants of his little world.  It is without a doubt, the best thing in the story collection and I’ve always envied his opportunity to share a slice of his world and life in such a congenial narrative.  It really is a pleasure to read.

So, even though I keep German Short Haired Pointers, I can’t do what Mann did.  I don’t have his facility for felicitous phrasing.  But I’m a lot funnier than he was.  So, from time to time, I’ll address things in a post that have very little to do with politics, photography or science fiction.  When that happens, I’ll assign them to the category “photog’s Corner” and that will be a warning sign of irrelevance to the primary foci of this blog.  Caveat emptor.

 

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The Silly Season

It’s officially the summer doldrums both on the web and in the real world.  I remember an old science fiction short story called the “Silly Season” that had as a premise that during the summer doldrums newspapers were so starved for real news that they would publish any kind of nonsense just to fill space.  Apparently the Martians knew about this too so they flooded the news with UFO sightings throughout the silly season for several years running.  This had the effect that the papers and their readers became so completely fed up with reading these accounts that when the real invasion began everyone ignored the initial news stories for so long that the humans were conquered before they could react.

That is how I’m beginning to feel about Flynn and Cohen and Manafort and Mueller and Hayden and  Brennan and Clapper and Rice and McCabe and Comey and Page and Stryzk and Rosenstein and, and, and!!!

I am completely and utterly fed up with hearing about these idiots.  I just can’t decide who is playing whom.  Is President Trump about to be dragged off in irons or is Comey and the whole lot of them headed for Guantanamo Bay?  Either way I just can’t care anymore about any of this stuff.  In fact, I can’t even care enough to make a Trump vs. —– parody about it.  The only thing I can think of is to have a parody where he is bored to tears about it.  That seems reasonable.

So anyway, sorry for the lack of output.  But let’s face it, the silly season is in full swing.  If only there were some way to get the Kanamits to load all of the Deep State swamp creatures into the saucer and send them off to that big smorgasbord in the sky.  That at least would be worthy of a parody.

18JUL2018 – OCF Update

Greetings readers old and new.  As is my want, or as less pretentious people would say, my habit, I like to let you know what is coming up on the site.  This week is my annual stay-cation.  For eight full days I make believe that my corporate masters have been swallowed up by some beneficent plague that only spared the good.  I revel in the joys of summer and put all cares aside.  After monsoon-like thunderstorms deluged us yesterday, the world has been swept clean and the air is hot and dry just the way I like it.  I’m hosting my annual family reunion on Saturday but with days off on both sides of the big event, I see plenty of time to produce excellent OCF posts all week.

  • I’m renting the “Contemporary Series” version of the Sigma 150-600 lens and the Sony 90mm Macro lens.  They should arrive today and allow me to post on how they perform for the things I would use them for.
  • I plan to yammer on about the joys of summer.
  • I have a photo post I’m going to write about moths and butterflies and maybe other insects in my area.
  • I have some things to say about several political topics.
  • I’ll start reading some more sci-fi which may provide a review this week.
  • I plan on doing some classic movie reviews.
  • I might have some country music reviews coming up too.
  • And I plan to include this summer’s installment of my rant about the Twilight Zone.

Looks like a good week to visit the site.

10JUL2018 – OCF Update

So, I got a surprise YouTube plug by Captain Capitalism where I advertise.  Thanks Aaron.  I figured it out when the site traffic spiked to stratospheric levels.  Aaron is a fan of the Southwest landscape photography so I reposted a Zion photo collection to go along with the every other day Grand Canyon Photos of the Day.  Hello Captain Capitalism readers and viewers.

I’ve been guiltily spending too much time reading the Leftists hyperventilate over Kennedy’s retirement  and the subsequent mouth-frothing over Kavanaugh.  I’ll have to light a candle at the shrine of Saint Schadenfreude, the Patron Saint of Spiteful Bastards.

But now back to work.  I’m about half way through the fourth volume of the Galaxy’s Edge series.  It took me a little while to make up my mind about this series but I’m convinced now.  The combat scenes, and those comprise a good chunk of the books, are first rate.  The question is where this story is heading.  The Galaxy has been cracking up for the whole length of the series so something’s gotta give soon.

My next foray into Trump humor, I think, will have a literary or historical flavor, perhaps touching on a Roman or Athenian theme.  I always imagine President Trump as akin to the Steinbrenner character on Seinfeld.  Some might think this disrespectful but I feel a kind of ownership over the man as if he were some kind of comic book character that I can summon up to amuse me while also befuddling my enemies in real life.  It’s an odd paradox I have built up around him but I have nothing but affection for the man who basically saved us single-handedly from slavery under the Clinton Crime Family.

Listening to ZMan’s guest spot on that podcast a few days ago has gotten me thinking about what I actually believe is the correct way to think and act in the increasingly hostile world that we live in.  He made some very good points about what is important and what is a waste of time and I want to try to sort through the options and come up with a rational approach to interacting with friends, enemies and neutral parties.  I don’t know if that’s one post or a few but I’m getting started on it.

And finally, I have some more macro photos of bugs and flowers and stuff and more shots from the Grand Canyon.  Tonight, I caught a Polyphemus moth and I want to take some photos of it before letting it go.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll lay some eggs.  The caterpillars are really cool looking.

So stay tuned.

04JUL2018 – OCF Update – Photo Theme

I’ve finally gotten around to post processing a good chunk of my Grand Canyon photos.  I’ll start out with the Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River and move forward geographically and chronologically.  Just to provide some variation I’ll mix in some local stuff (macro and other themes) along with the Grand Canyon trip.

 

Horseshoe Bend – Colorado River -Arizona
Voigtlader 10mm lens on Sony A7S

 

Horseshoe Bend – Colorado River -Arizona
Voigtlader 10mm lens on Sony A7S

 

 

 

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.

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07JUN2018 – OCF Update

The summer is now an actual thing and get-togethers and parties are happening.   But things will continue unabated here on OCF, the pulse of the spite filled, unforgiving, vindictive vengeful right.  I’m starting to read David Reich’s book “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.”  It goes over a lot of the same ground as Gregory Cochran’s book “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,” but from a very apologetic, politically correct, “diversity is our strength” point of view.  But from of the small parts I’ve read it’s still very interesting to see the pushback he experienced.  Should be instructive.  I’ve got the last Majipoor book to read and the next Galaxy’s edge installment and some other sf and I’ve got some photo projects lined up.  But the elephant in the room should be the DOJ IG’s report coming out this week.  I’m hoping that will trigger a lot of stuff.  Maybe even the end of the Mueller investigation or at least a counter-attack to take him out.  So good stuff coming up.

On a more local note I’ve been intrigued by the general dearth of comments.  Now this is my first blog so maybe it’s how it works but I’m curious, so I have a survey poll on it.  I’ll leave it on the next few posts and I look forward to the info I get.

26MAY2018 – OCF Update

The thirty degree mornings have relented.  There is a break in the seemingly endless succession of torrential rain and wind storms.  I have a non-work day where I can cut the grass and put the yard in post-winter order.So today may be a bit slow.  What’s on tap and coming up soon:

  1. Photos from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
  2. Photo essay on the Sigma 150-600 Sports lens on the A7 III.
  3. Book Review on Robert Silverberg’s “Valentine Pontifex.”
  4. Book Review on “Kill Team (Galaxy’s Edge Book 3).”
  5. Book Review on “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.”
  6. Review of the Vanguard Alta GH-300T Grip Head for heavy lens shooting.
  7. Review of Deadpool 2.
  8. Review of Capture One 11 Photo Editing Software.
  9. President Trump’s summary firing of the intelligence agency conspirators.  Wait I’m not supposed to write that.  Let’s call that Trump Humor.

And some of these may not be in this order.  I am human after all and sometimes the mood strikes me to switch stuff up.  So stay tuned.

06MAY2018 – OCF Update

This week I’ll finish up reading Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter Seige” and post a review.  The hard cover version came out back in July but I buy the paperback for convenience and that version just got issued.  The site has been a little slow because I’m putting together a sort of “best of” post on my southwest landscape trip for a link that Captain Capitalism is providing me and it’s a time-consuming endeavor.  It’s like eleven hundred files and I’m still learning how to use Capture One.  So bear with me.  That post should be pretty interesting for the photo enthusiasts.  As I mentioned earlier I’ll get those rental lenses on Friday the 11th and that will spawn some interesting posts on the viability of using Sigma lenses with Canon mount on the Sony A7 cameras.  That may be interesting to Canon shooters with Sigma glass who have been interested in switching to Sony and anyone who is still constrained by Sony’s telephoto and macro lens choices.

The other thing I am interested in writing about is the direction of right wing movement.  I am trying to formulate my own particular spin on what makes sense going forward.  There is a lot of confusion and undirected anger that doesn’t seem to be producing much in the way of results.  And there seems to be a certain amount of opportunism and charlatanism that makes it difficult to know what is solid and worthwhile.  Sometimes it seems that several people have each latched onto a different piece of the puzzle needed to reform the current situation but like the blind men and the elephant they only “see” a small part of the reality and are missing the big picture.  And because of that, they diagnose that small part of the problem and their solution doesn’t address the broader situation.  And some of the “wise men” are too extreme.  They would throw out the baby with the bath water.  The more I think about solutions for the social disintegration the more I think that restoring the common-sense institutions we used to have is the solution.  Stopping unlimited immigration is neither impossible nor radical.  Restoring respect for the traditions and institutions of our forefathers is important and relatively straight forward.  And replacing social justice and reverse discrimination with actual justice is so rational that it shouldn’t even require explanation.  I think some of the emphasis on race reality is a response to the absurdity that occurs when racial and sexual protectionism and intersectionality tactics are used to attack the American white middle and working classes.  If you eliminate these irritants then the rules of American society should be competent to allow different types of people to function relatively harmoniously.  Anyway, that is what I’m starting to think.  I’m definitely interested in other opinions.  And I read around to hear what other people are coming up with.  For instance I’m going to read Gregory Cochran’s “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution” and David Reich’s “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past” to see if there’s anything in biology that rules out my optimism for a functional multi-ethnic America.

And finally, I’d love to get more feedback from the readers.  Even if it’s negative.  It’s useful to know what you like and what you don’t.  Or even to just say hi.  It’s definitely appreciated and part of why I made this site.  I am interested in hearing other points of view.  And if you find something interesting on-line pass along the link.

22APR2018 – An OCF Update

I was thinking of putting up a comical post about Trump and the Republican Midterm Panic but I’m not feeling it.  The mainstream media is drum-beating the gloom and doom of a Blue Wave coming for the midterms.  I’m guessing they’re hoping for a self-fulfilling prophecy and knowing the gutless republicans I completely believe that they could be stampeded into almost anything, up to and including sex change surgery to try and sway liberal voters into their camp.  Let’s face it.  These GOP guys truly are hopeless.

But it’s boring and my readers deserve better.  I mean really, do you think Trump is that much better off with the Republicans in charge of the House?  Sure, the Senate is important because of the Supreme Court and the odds favor the Republicans holding on to their control.  But the House has been a joke.  Ryan might as well have been a pro-amnesty Democrat for all the help he gave.

The bigger story is what is happening between Trump, Sessions and his DOJ operatives.  Here the stories are just as crazy as the Blue Wave stuff but much more interesting.  The scenarios run the gamut from Trump gets indicted to Sessions is getting ready to round up the whole lot of the DOJ conspirators and get them to rat out Obama’s lieutenants.  Trying to figure out what actually will happen is virtually impossible.  But at least we can see developments happening in a relatively straightforward manner in the news.  So that is why I think the next [Trump vs …] gag will involve Comey being broken on the wheel and probably giving up his cable guy for installing free HBO.  Or maybe Andy McCabe doing an impression of Jimmy Cagney in White Heat, going on the lam and shooting it out with Library of Congress police over some overdue VCR tapes.

I guess the problem is that events although still pretty wild have sort of slowed down since porn actresses were popping up on network news shows a few weeks back.  I’ve become jaded.  Luckily Deadpool 2 will be released in the next few weeks.  I think the wise-cracking masked superhero will recharge my sense of humor and inspire me to plunge our larger than life commander in chief into some new absurd and hopefully funny crisis.

Meantime I’m busy testing out the Sony A7 III camera I just bought.  I’ll have a review on it soon.  One thing I will say is the autofocus is an order of magnitude better than the second generation A7 cameras and pretty close to the performance of the $4,500 A9.  My biggest problem is getting long lenses.  Sony only has a few and they cost an arm and a leg so I may get some Sigma Canon mount versions with an adapter.

And I just started using Capture One as a replacement for Lightroom.  I’ll do a post on my thoughts about switching.

I’ve got a ton of photos from my US Southwest trip that I’ll continue to dole out one a day.  Later I’ll put together some background info and travelogue type post or three.

Science fiction wise, I’m reading the second book of Robert Silverberg’s old Majipoor Series.  This volume is a collection of short stories tied together by a clever plot device.  After that I may read the next book in the Galaxy’s Edge series.

That post I put together on space opera has got me thinking about putting together some more theoretical, generic comments on science fiction, fantasy and fiction in general.  It seems to me the reason fiction is in the state it’s in is that people have sort of forgotten why people read.  Hint, it’s not to provide employment for would be “artists.”

And finally, I really do need to update the Directory of Right Wing Businesses.  I was hoping I’d get a lot more stuff from the readers but I guess I should make a good faith effort to do my part.  So, I will.

A big hello to the new readers from Captain Capitalism and Day by Day.  I’ve seen a lot of people looking at lots of content and return viewership is way up and that’s extremely gratifying.  If you want to sign up for the e-mail notifications you can.  And feel free to leave comments on the posts or the forums to give me feedback, suggestions or encouragement.  It is most appreciated.

And most especially a thanks to the loyal regulars who’ve been here since the beginning.  Have a good start to the week.

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