Donald Trump vs. the All-Star Break

Scene: Trump for President campaign Headquarters, noticeably quiet.

Donald Trump (DT) – Hey where is everybody? Where are all the reporters waiting for my abuse?
Obsequious Flunky (OF) – Good morning sir. It’s so good to see you … here.
DT – Skip the groveling. Where the hell is everyone? I haven’t insulted anyone in almost a day. What the hell is going on here? The New York Times says I’m slipping in the polls and Hillary hasn’t coughed up a fur ball in over a week.
OF – Don’t worry sir. We’ve lined up an interview for you with Brian Williams.
DT – Williams? Are you nuts. He’s a total loser. They won’t even let him cover an Easter Egg Roll. He’s poison. Cancel that right now.
OF – But Mr. Trump there’s nothing else scheduled today. You’ll have to go twenty four hours without a reporter beating. That would be death for your election hopes.
DT – You lousy flunky! I’ll have your head for this. You’re fired!

Scene: Trump’s bedroom. Donald is on the phone with his wife Melania.
DT – Shmoopie, I’m worried. I fired my obsequious flunky and now I’ll have to go all the way until Monday without a headline. This could cost me the election.
MT – Oh no shmoopie, does this mean I’ll be poor?
DT – No, of course not. But it could mean you won’t get to live in the White House and you’ld have to stay here in Trump Tower.
MT – (delay before anwering) Yeahhhhh, that would be really bad. Anyway shmoopie, don’t worry. You are very smart and they are very ugly and smelly. You will win.
DT – Well I hope you’re right. Good night shmoopie.
MT – Good night shmoopie.
(They hang up.)
DT – (talking to himself as he gets into bed) I feel so alone. Who can I go to for advice. Nobody is as great as I am. Who can understand my unique problems? (he falls asleep).
Scene: Same bedroom later. The ghost of George Steinbrenner appear at the foot of Trump’s bed.
Ghost of George Steinbrenner (GoGS) – Donald, Donald, wake up.
DT – (waking up and pulling a 1910 from under his bed and pointing it at the apparition) Who the hell are you and who let you in?
GoGS – Donald it’s me George Steinbrenner.
DT – That’s impossible. Steinbrenner is dead.
GoGS – Yes and I’m his ghost.
DT – Holy crap. You do look like him! Well what do you want?
GoGS – I’ve come to help you with your problem.
DT – There is no problem. My hands are not only everything they should be but they’re also everything they could be.
GoGS – No you idiot I’m talking about your campaign problem.
DT – Oh that. Can you really help me?
GoGS – Yes. I know exactly what you need.
DT – Well then what should I do?
GoGS – Nothing.
DT – Well that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If I do nothing Hillary wins.
GoGS – Hear me out. What was my expertise?
DT – Building ships?
GoGS – Yeah but what was I known for?
DT – Hiring and firing Billy Martin?
GoGS – Exactly. Baseball. I knew exactly how to navigate a baseball season. And did you know that a presidential campaign and a baseball season are almost identical?
DT – I stand corrected. THAT is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
GoGS – Oh yeah smart guy? Think about it for a minute. Before the primaries is basically spring training. The primaries are the first half of the season. The convention is the All-Star Game. And the rest of the season leads up to the World Series which ends about the beginning of November.
DT – Okay. So let’s pretend that that makes sense. How does that help me?
GoGS – Well think about it. It’s almost time for the All-Star Game. What happens right before the All-Star Game?
DT – I don’t know. What.
GoGS – Exactly. Nothing. Nobody pays any attention for the last couple of weeks before the All-Star Game. Everybody needs a break from the non-stop schedule. And the All-Star Game (just like the convention) is a big symbolic stop in the calendar to let us catch our breath and enjoy the Fourth of July before the second half of the season begins.
DT – Okay that almost makes sense. So you’re saying I should go into hiding until the Convention.
GoGS – Hell no! Just make sure you don’t commit any unforced errors before then. Relax and map out your strategy for the playoffs and get ready for the World Series.
DT – You know, that’s pretty good. Thanks. I do feel better.
GoGS – Good. Now go back to sleep and make up some new names for Bill and Hillary.
DT – Thank you Ghost of George Steinbrenner. Is there anything I can do for you once I become President?
GoGS – Well a presidential decree disbanding the Boston Red Sox would be appreciated.

Lenses for the Sony E-Mount Cameras – Part 1

Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 Review Part 3

I’ll be writing a series of posts on lenses that I use with the A7 cameras (and other Sony mirrorless cameras as they appear). In addition to e-mount lenses, there are a-mount lense that can be used with the Sony adapters (LA-EA3 and LA-EA4). And as everyone is aware almost any other lens that can be found has some kind of an adapter to put it on the A7 cameras.

The first lens I’ll look at is the Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro.

One of the things that the Sony a-mount (and also of course the e-mount) lacks is a native 200mm macro lens. When I was shooting a-mount cameras I found the out of production Minolta 200mm f\4 macro available on ebay for what I thought at the time was a ridiculous price of $1,500. Of course I bought it and it was one of the best lenses I’ve ever used on the Sony cameras. I use it for both typical macro shots and also to chase butterflies and dragonflies. The lens is a screw-drive type so back when I was using the A-850 dslr I could autofocus it but on the A7 cameras the LA-EA-3 provides only manual focus. The LA-EA-4 will autofocus but interposes a “translucent” mirror into the light path. Well life is full of compromises. I don’t think Sony will be releasing an LA-EA-* adapter that autofocuses screw-drive lenses without a translucent mirror (although I’d really love that option). But even with the restrictions on its use, I feel the 200 macro is one of the best lenses available on the Sony system. Of course there are probably Nikon and Canon equivalents (which in some cases could be used as autofocus lenses) and the Sigma 180mm for Canon could be used with a metabones adapter on an A7 (I think). But I intend to keep the Minolta. I find it excellent and I love the photos it produces. I’ve used it for macro, portraits, landscapes, short telephoto, wildlife and general interest. It never lets me down.

Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 macro

Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 Review Part 3

Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 Review Part 1

Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 Review Part 2

Lenses for the Sony E-mount Cameras – Part 1

On Friday June 10th 2016 I took the 10mm Voigtlander out on my Sony A7S. I tried it on both landscape and closer objects. I’ll have to say that this lens is completely acceptable for both. The central sharpness is excellent and the corners are good enough for almost any lens critic. Let me clarify. The corners on the Loxia 21mm are much better. But that is a much narrower angle of vision. The correct way to compare this is to lenses that are close to the 10mm here. I’m comparing it to the Sigma 12-24 zoom at 12mm or the Voigtlander 12mm for M mount. When compared to these lenses it is actually better in the corners. Of course a tougher test would be against the Canon 11-21 zoom. I hear that lens has excellent corners and f\2.8 aperture. I’ll leave that test to others. Suffice it to say I’m very pleased with the 10mm Voigtlander. This summer I’m going to use it to capture Milky Way landscape shots. I think that will be interesting.

So here are some more shots to examine.



















Voigtlander 10mm F\5.6 on Sony A7S
Voigtlander 10mm F\5.6 on Sony A7S

The Day the Trump Stood Still

Scene: The Trump Penthouse Apartment

Melania Trump (MT): Good morning, Shmoopie. Would you like bacon and eggs, or pancakes, or an omelet, or French Toast for breakfast?

Donald Trump (DT): Yes, Shmoopie.

(MP): Yes, but which one?

(DT): All of them, of course, Shmoopie.

(MP): No, you’re shmoopie!

(DT): No, you’re shmoopie!

(MP): Shmoopie, I’m so bored of talking to all of those ugly, smelly people. You know, George Snuffleupugus, and Jake Zappa and Megyn Belly. I hate them all. And I hate that you have to be away so much. Haven’t you won the president yet?

(DT): But shmoopie, I just won the nomination and now I have to go to the convention and give a speech and then do the debates and then win the election in November.

(MT): November! I can’t do this for another six months straight. Shmoopie! You need to take a week off and pay attention to me!

(DT): But shmoopie, Hillary isn’t taking a week off. What if I fall behind during the break.

(MT): Don’t be silly. It’s the summer. Everyone expects reruns in the summer. Just tell them to watch The Apprentice for the next week.

(DT): Shmoopie, that’s brilliant. That’s what I’ll do.

(MT): Of course, shmoopie, after all, you did marry me for my brains.

(DT): Uh, yeah, sure. Brains.

End scene.

Two Days Later
ABC News Room
George Snuffleupugus’s Office

The intercom speaks.

Intercom: Mr S., Disney is on line 2.

George S. (GS): Okay Janey, I’ll take it in here.

Picking up the phone.

(GS): Snuffleupugus here. Who’s calling.

(WD): It’s Disney.

(GS): Yes I know you’re from Disney. But who is this?

(WD): It’s Walt Disney, you shrimpy twerp!

(GS): That’s impossible! Walt Disney’s been dead for forty years.

(WD): Yes, but any idiot knows I had my body cryogenically preserved. And now that the technology has advanced enough I’ve been revived. What did you think was going on at Epcot Center all these years? Flying car research? Now stop yammering and listen!

(GS): Uh, but you don’t pay my salary do you?

(WD): Not if you keep yapping like this I won’t. Now listen. Trump’s been on hiatus for only two days and already the whole news business is drying up and blowing away. Without his tweets and his quotes on Hannity nobody’s watching anything. Google had to shut down two whole server farms the size of Iowa. MSNBC had to be re-purposed as a home shopping channel for cat video collectors. And the New York Times has become a sex chat site. Maureen Dowd has become a very popular dominatrix turning tricks for most of the conservative punditry. Things cannot go on like this any longer. If you boobs can’t get him back on the job of mocking you and the Clintons we’re gonna have to euthanize the whole news department.

(GS): You’re gonna shut us down?

(WD): No, the severance packages would be too expensive. I’m gonna send my grandson Dave down there with a tanker truck of chloroform and flood the ventilation system and declare it a tragic accident.

(GS): You can’t do that!

(WD): Well then, screw this up and I guess we’ll find out won’t we? Disney out!

Snuffleupugus hangs up the phone and buries his face in his hands. After several minutes he straightens up and calls over the intercom.

(GS): Janey, get me the big dog.

Janey: Goofey?

(GS): No you dizzy bitch, Bubba, former President Bill Clinton.

Janey: Yes sir.

After several minutes.

Janey: Mr S., he’s on line 3.

(GS): Thank you Janey.

He picks up the phone.

(GS): Hello Mr. President. Sorry to disturb you so suddenly.

Bill Clinton (BC): George you little pissant, why are you disturbing me during my very private relaxation time. I was very close to complete relaxation. This had better be important.

(GS): Yes, Mr. President it’s extremely urgent.

(BC): Yeah, what’s that?

(GS): Donald Trump is on break from the election.

(BC): So? Who, gives a crap about that?

(GS): Well, take a look at the present price of Google on the NYSE.

(BC): Well I’ll be a ring-necked lewinsky! I’ll be ruined. I’ll have to go back to shaking down trailer park floozies. Snuffleupugus. We have to fix this.

(GS): Well, that’s why I called you. You’re the greatest con artist of the last century. Surely you can relate to the greatest con artist of this century. How can we get him back on the job?

(BC): All right, all right, don’t rattle me! Give me a second here. Okay, I know, I’ll call him up. Big dawg to big dawg. I’ll cut him a deal he can’t refuse.

(GS): “Can’t refuse?” You’re gonna threaten him?

(BC): No you half-wit. I’m not Don Corleone. I’m gonna give him something he wants.

(GS): But what could Donald Trump want?

(BC): Hillary.

(GS): Uh, Mr. President. How can I put this diplomatically? Have you seen Hillary and Melania side by side?

(BC): No you cretin. He doesn’t want to hump her. He wants her head on a platter. I’m gonna throw the election to him in exchange for his return.

(GS): But you wouldn’t do that. That would be disloyal.

(BC): Oh man. Where did we find you anyway? In the cabbage patch? Look this isn’t just about the presidency it’s about something really important, my money. Hillary will just have to take one for the team. Anyway, she’s kinda used to that.

(GS): Goodbye Mr. President.

End scene.

Scene: Trump Penthouse.

Early Afternoon

Donald Trump is dressed in a costume that sort of resembles one of the Three Musketeers except that he’s also wearing a Phantom of the Opera style mask. He’s singing along and dancing around to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and playing the air guitar.

(DT): Easy come, easy go, will you let me go? Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)

(His cell phone rings to the tune of the Jetsons theme.)

Awww crap. Something always ruins the best part of the song. Trump here. This had better be good. I was just closing a deal worth billions of dollars.

(BC): Well, I feel you pain. I surely do. But this is hot stuff that can’t wait.

(DT): Clinton? What the hell do you want?

(BC): Now hold on. This is strictly a business proposition. No politics, no tricks. I want to sell you something you want.

(DT): What?

(BC): The election.

(DT): Why would you sell me the election?

(BC): Because I’m loosing cash.

(DT): Oh, the Google thing?

(BC): Exactly.

(DT): Okay spell it out.

(BC): I give you the Vince Foster deal, the Rose Law Firm caper, the $100,000 futures scam and the Benghazi details and that will make sure that my Google calls are in the money for at least the next couple of weeks.

(DT): You’re gonna go on tape with all those details? Hillary will just deny it all.

(BC): Of course she would. That’s why she’s gonna say them herself.

(DT): Why would she do that?

(BC): Because I’ve got her doped to the gills with sodium pentothal and in the trunk of my car. We take her to Snuffleupugus’s studio and do a little interview. Two hours later you’re as good as president and I’m on the next plane to Epstein’s little resort for a permanent vacation.

(DT): Well Melania is gonna be disappointed by this interruption but I’ll make it up to her in January. I’ll name a monument after her.

(BC): All right then it’s settled. I’ll head there now. But I can’t wait around for you there so this is goodbye. Enjoy the White House. And if you check the bottom right hand draw of the desk in the Oval Office there’s a secret compartment. Some of my favorites should still be there. Barry won’t have found them. No imagination. I know you’ll like them. Just make sure Melania doesn’t find them. Bubba out.

To Serve Trump

Announcer (sounding surprisingly like Don Pardo):  Ladies and Gentlemen, and all you other less easily addressed members of the television audience, we interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important message from the President of the United States.
President Trump (PT):  Hello everyone, sorry to break into your brain dead stupor again but if the safety of the nation is of any importance to you, drop the bong and try to concentrate.  I’ve got some very disturbing news.
As you know, we’ve begun our first round of deportations.  One of the steps required is identifying the country of origin for the millions of illegals living here.  Now this is a tricky business and very careful work is needed to prove where these people come from, especially since they’re not very cooperative.  Anyway, after careful investigation it has been determined that about 11 percent of the rounded up aliens turn out to be actual aliens!  By that I mean outer space guys, you know like E.T. only smellier.  As you can imagine, this will make repatriation more difficult.  But fear not, I’ve already begun the process of contacting the home planets of these deadbeats and getting them to ferry these bums back home.  In fact I’ll have to admit that several of these governments have been more cooperative than our neighbors to the south.  The Kanamit, for instance, went so far as to offer to accept as many illegal human aliens as we could send and at no cost to us.  Their only request was that we put them on a two week bacon diet before we send them.  Huh, go figure.
So this development gave me an idea.  I have enacted an executive order which will allow any American citizen who no longer wants to live here to obtain asylum with the Kanamit.  They have described their world as a socialist paradise without war or hunger, where no one works, food is free and plentiful and people aren’t discriminated against for putting on a little extra weight.  After hearing the Kanamit offer during congressional hearings Senator Sanders, Congresswoman Pelosi and former Secretary Clinton have decided to lead a large scale emigration of democrats, federal workers and university employees to the Kanamit home planet.  Secretary Cinton’s exact words were “So long to Trump and his capitalistic bullshit.  From now on it’s gonna be mashed potatoes and gravy.  I’m throwing away this stupid pants suit and getting a moo-moo.” The Kanamit ambassador thanked me profusely and asked if I was interested in joining the group. I told him I was too busy, at which point he gave me an autographed copy of his new book, “To Serve Man” which he told me was sort of like “The Art of the Deal” on his planet. Well he was a really strange sort of a guy, reminded me of Kasich, only like 4 feet taller and with sharper teeth. Anyway they left this morning and Washington is much quieter now.
Well, they’ll be missed but we’ll have to try and soldier on.  In related news, I’ve officially opened up relations with the Lensman dimension.  They’ve agreed to take over drug interdiction on the Mexican border. I had to agree that they would be allowed to summarily execute any zwilniks they caught, whatever the hell those are. I said yeah sure.
And finally, at the request of the Predator home world I’m allowing Governor Jerry Brown to be extradited to stand trial for murder. He says it’s a mix-up involving his predecessor but I’ll let them sort it out without me.
Okay folks, you can get back to your twinkies and doritos you losers. Trump out.

Larry Correia and Adam Baldwin Together at Last

This week I had the chance to listen to the audio file of Larry Correia’s “The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent.” Adam Baldwin was the narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours it lasted. Now granted that combining the inside jokes about Larry, Adam, Firefly and the Obama administration and the spirited recital provided by Baldwin was great fun but it seemed strange how happy I was over this very minor comic tale. It seemed excessive.

So I considered the source of all this positivity.

As a general rule I’ve always contended that any show is improved by adding Adam Baldwin to it. And this was no exception. But Tom Stranger was no Jane Cobb. And without a doubt I’m quite a fan of Larry Correia’s work but this little work is a mere slip of a story.  So even though Tom’s adventure is very fine and plain good fun why did I like it so incredibly much?

It’s simple. It’s because of what the story represents. It’s the potential of a Monster Hunter movie with Adam Baldwin as a main character. Imagining a big budget fantasy movie written by and acted in by conservatives is almost too much to imagine. But that’s what makes it so exciting. Finally something good all the way around. No sucker punches. No hippies. No social justice.

So even though it’s just a pipe dream it colors the experience of this little work and makes it something more. Here’s to better days and bigger and better things.

The Donald vs “The Sleaze”

A couple of days ago I read about Trump taking on some reporters in an event where he was confronting the press over whether he had raised a bunch of money for veterans.

Now there was a big dispute over whether he had waited until the reporters had dug into the facts before donating the money that he said he’d raised several months ago. The reporters were breathlessly announcing their gotcha moment and preparing for the trillionth time to bring down Trump with the scandal to end all scandals. And apparently for the trillionth time Trump performed the verbal jujitsu that ends with him looking smart and them looking dumb. Or actually not dumb but dishonest.

So I’ve heard about these confrontations before but until recently I never bothered to go to the video tape, as it were, to get the full effect. But I’d heard several commentators (including Rush Limbaugh) extolling Trump’s performance. So I decided to give it a listen. And that was no small investment. The full event was over forty minutes long. And listening to Trump go over a relatively simple sequence of events and list the facts of his donations should have taken about four minutes. So his rhetorical style is far from laconic. And in fact I found it quite annoying. He dangled the facts of the case and the list of donations as if it were catnip on a string and we were the desperate felines being tantalized as the bait kept being bounced out of reach at the last second. I felt like grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him until he relented. So you can tell that I’m not bewitched by the siren song of The Donald’s shtick.

But it is undeniable that every time he rounded on the assembled media and called them sleazy and dishonest and “not-good” I inwardly cheered. His ability to call them out and take them to task for their biased treatment of republican candidates and the complete pass they give to the democrats is like a breath of fresh air. By the time the event was over I was almost giddy. I felt like I had watched a rousing western where in the last reel our hero wins the girl and the gold and the villain is led off to jail or worse.

So why do I find this interesting? Definitely not because I think it such a victory for Trump. In fact it wasn’t completely clear that he hadn’t neglected to expedite the disbursal to the veterans groups of the funds he had raised.

What I think makes it so exciting is that Trump fully understands how to counteract the various media strategies. This particular attack is part of the “death by a thousand paper cuts” method. Each attack is relatively minor but by means of a steady drumbeat of bad news they drag down the victim and surround him in a cloud of negative energy. The best example of this was the Iraq
war reporting where every single day featured several pieces of bad news that inevitably went unanswered by the president and his administration. A less intense example was the skewering of Mitt Romney. An attack was put together that for the most part consisted of trivial items or out of context statements that added together was meant to portray him as uncaring and out of touch with average people.

And it worked.

Trump doesn’t let this happen. He recognizes when he needs to answer criticism and then he answers it in a devastating direct manner that doesn’t so much present a defense of his own actions but rather attacks the methods and motives of the press.

And it works!

Trump has recognized that before you can storm the castle where the democrats hide you first have to kill the Loch Ness Monster they have defending the moat. And whenever he attacks the press he not only helps his own case but he gives hope to all the conservative voters who have watched for twenty five years as the hapless Bushes and Doles and McCains and Romneys have cowered in front of the press and slipped on the endless banana peels that the press tosses in front of them. Instead of being stuck with a candidate who is like Charlie Brown being hung out to dry by Lucy and her football, we get Popeye Doyle from the French Connection, kicking in doors and punching out lights. Or to make a simpler entertainment metaphor we finally get to win with the Roadrunner instead of lose with Wile E. Coyote.

Finally someone who can fight fire with fire.