President Trump’s Gettysburg Address

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to present an address by the president.

“Good evening my fellow Americans.  Sorry to wake you out of your reality tv stupor. But this will be short.  So put down your bong and try to follow along. I’m speaking to you tonight because I’m making a change in your lives very soon and I didn’t want to surprise anyone.  Starting next month I’m shutting down the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  That’s radio, tv and internet.  The whole kit and kaboodle.  I had the whole news staff in here at lunch and broke the news to them.  They didn’t take it well.  I told them they could maybe get some intern spots on the staff at MSNBC.  Well anyway, it’s moving ahead.

You may be asking why I’m doing this.  Well, it’s like this. I have a grandchild now.  And after catching a few minutes of Sesame Street and a few of the other kid shows I was worried that my grandchild might turn into a loser.  I mean, it’s a bunch of old people hanging out in Greenwich Village with a bunch of puppets. How could that turn out well?  And the Nova guys are always harping about the global warming and animal rights.  Let’s face it.  It’s propaganda.  And that guy Ken Burns is so boring that even real baseball is less boring than his baseball.  I mean what’s the big deal about Gettysburg?  I’ve been there.  A real snooze-fest.  Not a single casino anywhere.

Now maybe you might be thinking that it’s hypocritical for someone involved with the Apprentice to render judgement on educational tv.  Maybe but think about it.  Only the brain-dead watch reality tv.  It’s already too late for them.  I’m just harvesting their welfare residual value.  But PBS targets children.  Only the suicidal sacrifice their own children.  I’m not that crazy.

So anyway, I’m pulling the whole thing off the air.  With any luck those PBS guys can get their own funding or possibly advertising revenue from the letters N and O and the numbers zero and zilch.  Anyway I’m sure Comcast can carry them.  They already funnel money to total losers like MSNBC.  One more free-loader couldn’t make that big a difference.

So the government is getting out of the tv business.  But this is just the beginning.  I’ll be following up with a review of our research funding and social agency support.  I’m guessing that climate science is gonna have to change its name to climate science fiction and get its funding from the Syfy Channel because the government gravy-train has just been derailed.

Alright, that’s all for now.  You can get back to watching porn and smoking pot.  Wow.”

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Hugo Finalists Named – Pandaemonium Ensues

The Hugos are once again at the center of everyone’s attention. The Rabid Puppies have dominated a number of categories (64 out of 81 entries) with a mixture of mainstream (e.g. “The Martian”) and controversial (some might even say satirical) nominees. I guess you can’t completely take seriously an outcome that allows you to list “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle as one of the Finalists for Best Short Story.

Of course the inevitable result will be a tidal wave of rage and condemnation levelled at not only the Rabid Puppies but also the Sad Puppies camp. George R R Martin and all the usual suspects will bitterly condemn the perpetrators of this outrage and mourn for the lost chance to honor really deserving authors and works.

Oh well. In a world where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominate the polls for the major political parties, is it really so strange that stories like “If You Were an Award, My Love” end up as finalists for the venerable Hugos?

My sympathies are with the Puppy camp but I can see why many folks are upset with all the upheaval and disruption.  But I think there are some objective facts that point to which side is in the right.

The Puppies’ claim was that the nominees for the last decade or so have been selected by a small clique of people who don’t reflect the popular taste.  This was denied and the countercharge was that the puppies were just jealous no-talents.  Well, how to decide the truth?  Objectively let’s look at an author who is extremely popular and successful.  Jim Butcher has been producing novels in his Dresden Files series since about the year 2000.  He’s even had a TV series made from the books.  This is basically one of the most popular authors in fantasy.  And yet he was never nominated for a Hugo.  That is until the Sad Puppies began nominating.  Now he’s been a finalist in both 2015 and 2016.  To me this seems like pretty solid evidence of the accuracy of the Puppies’ claims.  Well, of course, no one is going to convert anyone on this topic.  But, I think it makes sense for people to get ready for a resolution that will involve some kind of award that reflects more of the popular opinion.  What will be interesting to see is where the Hugos end up.  Will they stick to the narrow path they’ve been on and sort of evaporate or try to open up the base to a larger group?  I guess we’ll see.

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Loxia 21mm f\2.8 Review (Pt. 2 – Test Photos)

So, I’ve cropped out the four corners of some images I took at infinity focus.

Here’s the full photo

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Here are some magnified shot of the four corners (two at the shown 45 degree slant and two more with the opposite 45 degree slant) of an infinity focused landscape at f\2.8 and f\5.6.

f\2.8

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f\5.6

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From my inspection on a proper monitor even at 100% magnification the corners are clean and in focus. There is some improvement at f\5.6 but even f\2.8 is very good.

Here’s a close-up shot just to give an idea of the file look.

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I’ve taken all the landscape shots at infinity focus. Trying to back off the infinity stop has not shown any focus improvement for distant objects. Because of the nature of wide angle lenses the view finder image (even at high magnification of the Sony manual focus assist) is not easily focused manually. I have used an additional 2X magnifier today to better the infinity stop setting but I think it is exactly set for infinity objects.  Which is a great situation to have especially for older eyes.  I’ll follow up this review with more information in the days ahead.

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Transcript of the First Trump – Sanders Debate

Maddow:  Good evening everyone and welcome to the first presidential debate.  I’m Rachel Maddow and tonight we’re here at Smith College to hear Senator Sanders and Mr Trump debate each other and answer the questions the whole country is asking.  The agreed to rules are simple.  Each candidate has 2 minutes to answer the question.  His opponent has 2 minutes to respond.  The moderator may ask a follow-on question.  If either candidate overruns his time or attempts to speak out of turn his chair will be energized with a moderate electric shock.  And here are our candidates.  Gentlemen, welcome.

Sanders:  Rachel it’s good to be here among the good and thoughtful women of Smith College.  I only hope that someday soon I’ll be able to liberate Smith from the cruel injustice of tuition and open the doors to everyone no matter how poor or stupid.

Trump:  Hello Rachel.  Still no make-up, I see.  Tell those cheapskates at MSNBC to break down and spring for a make-up girl for God’s sake.

Maddow:  Mr. Trump, I’m a lesbian and do not submit to the stereotypical ideas of female grooming.

Trump:  Yeah, well even Rosie o’Donnell wore some make-up.  I’m not saying it helped much but at least she tried.

Maddow:  Let’s move on.  First question is for Senator Sanders.  Senator, if you are elected president what will be your first priority?

Sanders:  Rachel, that’s a good question.  My first priority upon entering the White House will be to restore good relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has indicated that if I am elected he will be encouraged to accept all the food and ICBM shipments we can send in exchange for 11 percent fewer condemnations of America in the DPRK’s news stories.  I forsee the day when America and the DPRK will have reversed places with respect to caloric intake and nuclear megatonnage.  Only then will we be able walk down that long road of accepting the guilt for having been happy and prosperous for so long.  Once we’ve experienced starvation on a national level and had a couple of cities obliterated by thermonuclear attack, then we’ll finally know how evil we’ve been and … OWWWW!!

Maddow:  I’m sorry Senator but you’ve exceeded your time.

Sanders:  Holy crap Rachel, that smarts!

Maddow:  Mr. Trump, your answer or rebuttal.

Trump:  Are you kidding me?  What kind of freak show is this.  I mean, come on!  Look, the only reason me and the Nutty Professor over there are the candidates is because the Dems and Repubs were so completely brain-dead that they thought they could run Bush and Clinton again.  So it doesn’t take a lot of smarts to know that I’m not the most qualified man for this job.  I just happened to be willing to tell them that the Emperor had no clothes.  But come on!  This guy’s a raving lunatic.  I’d as soon give Hannibal Lector a straight razor and ask him to give me a shave, as to let this guy control the nuclear stockpile.  Look, for the good of the country, just load him up with some thorazine and cart him off to Bellevue.  After this performance the only one nuts enough to vote for him will be the Occupy Mom’s Basement crowd.  So shut off his mike and let’s call it a night.

Maddow:  Mr. Trump you exceeded your time but you didn’t experience any electric shock?

Trump:  Of course not.  I’m not stupid.  I just put on a wet suit under my Trump Collection suit.  Many people think it’s Armani but it’s even better.

Maddow:  Mr. Trump, if you leave now it will be viewed as a victory for Senator Sanders.

Trump:  Rachel I knew you were odd but I didn’t think you were delusional.  Look, if I don’t leave now people will think I’m as nuts as him.  Anyway, do yourself a favor, don’t get in the elevator alone with that guy.  He’s gonna go postal eventually,  Don’t let it be with you.

Sanders:  Hey I resent these remarks!

Trump:  Shut up Bozo.  You’ve had your say.  Now go quietly with the orderlies and they won’t have to use the straitjacket.

Maddow:  Good night from MSNBC.

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President Trump’s United Nation’s Address

Look, I’m not wearing any headphones, it’ll mess up my hair.  Besides if these mooks don’t speak American then they’re losers and I don’t need to hear what they’re saying.  And take some bleach to that dais, I don’t think all of these guys understand soap.  And I’m using my own microphone.

Hello UN.  This is your landlord, President Trump.  Looking out across this audience I can see why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.  I don’t see how most of you got past the TSA at Kennedy Airport.  Anyway, let me get right to the point.

THE GRAVYTRAIN IS OVER.

I’m closing this place down.  I’m sick of paying for you bums so go home.  Now!

There’s an airline ticket for each of you and cab fare to Kennedy.  Don’t bother packing.  I’ll have your crap shipped back to the useless countries you’re from.  Once you’re gone I’m gonna demo this dump and disinfect it for a couple of years and then Trump Corp is going to put up a 400 story building here.  It’ll be huge.  Once you freeloaders are gone and no longer clogging up the streets, I’ll be able to get a cab without resorting to Uber. From now on don’t call us we’ll call you.

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A Lost World Re-Discovered

Growing up back in the Stone Age, science fiction and fantasy were my favorite reading materials. I was able to fill my spare time with stories by Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and the other “golden age” writers. Being a normal boy of the era I could enjoy both the pulpy action of E E “Doc” Smith’s Lensman yarns and the more literary stories of someone like Bradbury or Sturgeon. Likewise for fantasy, I could find pleasure along the whole axis from Tolkien to Robert E Howard. To sum up, I was able to enjoy reading a gamut of styles in these genres that differed in literary sophistication but shared the quality of excitement.

Time passed. Other activities (school, girls, work, family) began to compete with reading for my time. Also a lot of the authors I knew so well disappeared from the scene. This combination of events meant that my knowledge of and interaction with the SF&F field became more limited. Also fewer of the new authors grabbed my interest as much as the old ones. I noticed that the stories weren’t as much fun. At first I wasn’t sure why. The sf still had a colony on Ganymede or time travel. But instead of adventure and discovery we had ennui and social issues. Characters were whining about their problems and their sense of alienation. I think the most extreme example was a book called Triton by Delaney. None of the characters were admirable or likable. The story was haphazardly written and highly depressing. Now this was a Nebula nominated novel. I had always assumed that Hugos and Nebulas were given out to really good stories. But over time I found that to no longer be the case. By the mid-eighties I had given up on SF&F. I reread old books I owned and read fiction outside these genres. Whenever I still bothered to pick up a science fiction story it reinforced that the stories now produced were wholly uninteresting for me and tended to openly antagonize my sensibilities. So I stopped looking.

Time passed. I came across an article on line (I think it was on Instapundit) talking about Sad Puppies and Social Justice Warriors (SJW). I read up on it and found out about Larry Correia, Vox Day (and his dreaded Rabid Puppies) and Sarah Hoyt and the madgeniusclub.com and Baen and Tor and all the other interesting characters. In a nutshell, the claim was that science fiction had been over-run by authors and publishing houses that pushed a social message based story type at the expense of what people actually wanted, fun. And that these SJWs controlled the Hugo and Nebula awards because of the small number of voters involved.

It rang a bell.

I decided to test the premise. I tried out Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter books. I tried out Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

And they were fun!  If any of this story resonates with your own experiences, I recommend you try some of the Puppy recommendations and see if they work for you.

So now I’ve got a backlog of stories to read and I can also follow the soap opera that is the Sad Puppy movement. I can cheer for the Puppies and try out their books. I can boo the Puppy Kickers and mock their silly message fiction. I look forward to the day when fun science fiction is once again reliably identified by its garishly colored cover. I mean, you know you can’t go wrong when you see a scantily clad woman in the clutches of a tentacled space monster on the cover. Jack Williamson would have been proud.

Loxia 21mm f\2.8 Review (Pt. 1 – Preliminary Comments)

I received the lens Tuesday and took some preliminary shots on Wednesday.  Today I went out to do some infinity-focus landscape shooting to test the corners.  I used 45 degree angle shots to test all four corners at apertures 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 and 11.  That allows you to test for de-centering or any kind of wavy focus characteristics.  I just got finished inspecting those test shots.  This copy of the Loxia 21mm is extremely good in all four corners across the whole aperture range tested.  As expected, it does improve from 2.8 up to 5.6.  But even wide open at 2.8 the corners are very good.  I’ll provide samples soon to demonstrate what I mean.  But until I put together some jpegs to show the results consider this simple proof.  I’m not going to return this manual focus lens that costs $1,500.  That’s quite a tribute right there.

Now for some subjective comments.  I’m using this on the A7S.  Not a super high resolution camera, but one that seems to highlight a lens that renders color and micro-contrast well.

The images look great.  The colors are punchy and the contrast makes the images pop.  So of course within a day of this lens showing up on my doorstep, Zeiss announces the Batis 18mm.  Normally this would have annoyed me.  But honestly, auto-focus is almost completely superfluous on a lens this wide.  And the mechanical focus is truly satisfying compared to the focus by wire that Batis provides.  Plus I’m still waiting for the Voigtlander 10mm to debut.  I think that lens will tick the box for ridiculous wide angle that I actually find uses for.

So while I’ll add to this review with more stuff (including photos), the short answer is the Loxia 21mm is a real keeper.

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Escaping the Whole Post-Normal Experience

So the Freak Show is not a passing phase.  It’s the new normal.  Somewhere in the vicinity of 5% of the general population is certifiably nuts and another 10 – 20% is permanently depressed and medicated.  And we have been informed that we’re the ones with a warped view of reality.

So what’s a red-blooded American to do?  Well I guess the best thing to do is find like minded folks and lock the crazies out of the club house and have some fun until the zombies chew through the walls.

And since we’re in the age of social media I plan to spit in the face of Facebook by blogging here at OCF on my favorite things (photography, sf and politics) and attracting like minded folks to join the discussion.  Other topic will be added in as we go but I guess the important point is that the other team doesn’t infringe on the non-crazy people having fun.  So my plan is to try to let folks enjoy themselves in the comments sections and keep everything fun and low key for the non-political topics.  Moderation will be light.  But I’ll have a very low threshhold of tolerance for anything left-wing.  I guess the best way to measure this will be to imagine you’re communicating with someone time-warped from circa 1957.  Hopefully it will go swimmingly, or it will be an unmitigated disaster.  Time will tell.

First thing coming up will be a review of the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8.  It just arrived today and I’m waiting to test it out.  I’m particularly interested in the quality of the corners.  This is one of the first native full-frame e-mount lenses.  Previous to this the 16-35 f4 zoom was the only fe lens this wide.  Because of this Sony users tried adapting various wide lenses, especially rangefinders (for their small size and quality).  Almost all of these attempts were disappointing.  The light rays reaching the corners of the sensor were so far from perpendicular that they interacted with the cover glass to produce smearing and chromatic aberration.

Because of these problems it was a great relief when Zeiss announced that the 21mm Loxia lens would be a Distagon design.  This design is known to produce perpendicular rays in the corners.  So for the last six months I’ve been reading reviews by the few lucky souls who were able to get their hands on this gem.  And true to form the reports said the corners were excellent.  Only problem from my point of was that the damn thing was always of of stock.  I’ll qualify that a little.  You could pay three or four hundred dollars above the MSRP of $1,499 and get a gray market copy from Japan or ebay.  But with something this pricey I restrict myself to B&H (or direct from Amazon, no third party sellers).  Well it finally hit my pre-order on B&H and here it is.  It does have one quirk.  So much of the lens barrel surface is taken up by the focus and aperture rings that there’s just the thinnest ring of non-rotating surface available to torque the lens on and off the camera.  Add this on top of the tightness of the o-ringed connection and you have a tricky fit.  This is a little annoying but hardly a deal breaker (unless you’re even nit-pickier than me).  I’ll put out the review in the next week or so.

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President Trump’s Inaugural Address

Is this thing on?  Can you hear me?  Yeah?  Good.

I’d just like to start by saying thanks to Judge Roberts.  I heard what a lousy job you did on that Obamacare case so I wasn’t expecting much from you today.  I figured you’d probably forget to bring your glasses or something.  You know, typical low-energy behavior.  But you were okay.  So for now you’re not fired or anything.  Now go sit down and try not to fall asleep or anything.

I guess it’s traditional to talk about all the good things I’m gonna do once I move into the White House.  But I’m not gonna do that.  I just spent the last year and a half telling you what I’m gonna do.  If you didn’t hear me then you’re not gonna now.

What I am gonna do is tell all the losers who doubted me exactly what I think about them.

I’ll start with Hillary.  First of all I just want to tell you that the only woman more fat and disgusting than you is Rosie O’Donnell.  And I don’t have anything good to say about Bill or Chelsea either.  The whole bunch of you are disgusting losers.  And beating you in the election was great and truly fun.  Now go back to your small sad smelly house and drop dead the two of you.

Okay, now for the republicans.  You’re all a bunch of losers and I can’t believe you thought you could beat me.  Low Energy Jeb, Pathological Ben, Little Marco, Scary Carly, Crazy Kasich and the rest of you other losers.  I knew the American people would identify with the Trump brand.  It is the best brand.  All of you go back to whatever sad meaningless things you were doing before.

And as for you Lyin’ Ted, just be glad I let you be VP.  Your job is to translate all this Constitution stuff and that conservative talk into something that fits on a Power Point slide deck.  I don’t have a lot of time for theory.  Just give me about twenty bullet points and line up those cheap suits over at the Senate to take their marching orders.  And tell McConnell and Ryan that I’ll kick their asses if they don’t get this all done in January.  I’ve got a trip to Cancun planned for Valentine’s Day with Mrs. Trump and I don’t want to be distracted.  I don’t expect you to understand this but with a woman as hot as Melania you’ve got to be on your game on V-Day.

Now I have a message for all you government workers.  You’re fired!  That’s right.  Everyone who works for the federal government, except for the soldiers, is officially fired.  Anyone who wants to continue on as a temporary worker can stay for half pay.  And that’s step one.  Then I’m doing a top down and bottom up review and if someone can’t convince me that what you do is vital you better get your resume tuned up.

And for Megyn Kelly and the rest of the creeps in the Media and especially you morons at NBC you better wake up and pull your heads out of your asses.  Because with all the ass-kicking I’m gonna be giving you from now on you’d end up with more brain damage.

And all you lazy bastards living on the dole, start looking for work.  I’m cutting the cord for all of you.  Lucky for you there’ll be plenty of work once I raise the tariff on chinese crap to 300%.

Well that’s all.  Now get off the lawn.  I’m late for a meeting with Fox.  I have a new Reality show called White House Shenanigans.  It’s a thirty minute format that just drips with class.  No total nudity, just boobs.  It’s gonna be huge.

 

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Hello, My Name is Inigo Montoya, You Stole My Delegates Prepare to Die

So chances are Ted will win in Wisconsin tonight and get most of the 42 delegates up for grabs.  Where does that put us?  Well, he’ll still be about 200 behind with NY, PA, and several other eastern states coming up in a couple of weeks.  The numbers in these contests look much better for The Donald.  So unless this win tonight galvanizes the electorate to support Ted he has basically no chance of reaching 1237.  Let’s look at the options.

For Trump he either reaches 1237 or he doesn’t.  If he does then he’s the nominee.  And honestly I don’t think anyone knows how that would turn out but I think he has a better than even chance of beating Clinton.  And also it would be guaranteed to be highly entertaining.  If Trump doesn’t reach 1237 then things become less clear.  Theoretically the rules could be changed ahead of the convention to allow Establishment insiders to negotiate anyone they like to be the nominee.  The question is would they?  Between Trump and Cruz they’ll have well over 70% of the total delegates.  If they decide to give the prize to a third party it will anger so many voters that it would effectively give the general election to the Dems.  My guess is that they’re just stupid enough to do exactly that.

One way that this could be avoided would be for Trump and Cruz to come to an accommodation.  If they formed a ticket they could try to steer all the delegates between them on the first ballot to one of them.  Of course they hate each other’s guts.  But they’re both kind of calculating players so I could believe it could be done.  But how to pick the top of the ticket?

Flip a coin?  Arm wrestle?  Spelling Bee?  No!  Pistols at ten paces!

Now, Cruz is a Princess Bride fan so sabers would be more fitting but if it was good enough for Hamilton/Burr, it’s good enough for Cruz/Trump.  I wonder if Trump has a floating casino that leaves US territorial waters.  That would make it legal.  Of course if one or both are killed, Jeb! is still available.  Where’s that Dread Pirate Roberts when you need him?  I’m moving to the Fire Swamp until it’s over.

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