01DEC2018 – Quote of the Day

It’s Ayn Rand week at the Quote of the Day.  Rand has fallen seriously out of fashion due to libertarianism’s current unpopularity.  But I think she has made several valuable points.  See what you think.

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”

Ayn Rand


Sony E-Mount Macro Lens Decision

I’ve been investigating how I wanted to do certain close-up photography work on the Sony E-mount.  Transitioning from the Sony A-mount I had the Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens.  This is a superb lens but it has a screw drive autofocus system which is not accommodated by the LAEA3 adapter and if used with the LAEA4 adapter forces me to have the so-called “translucent mirror” of the adapter in between the lens and the sensor.  So I went around looking for other options.  I rented the Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens.  It is excellent and has an excellent autofocus response with the Sony A7 III camera.  But it is less than half the focal length of the 200mm lens.  I looked at adapting the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 macro in Canon mount with the Sigma Canon to E-Mount MC-11 adapter.  I rented this combination and found the autofocus inconsistent at best.  Finally I tried to find the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 in A-mount and see if the LAEA3 combination would autofocus better.  The A-Mount is not a very popular one so none of the rental places had this lens.  I called up B&H Photo who had the lens and asked them to mount it on an A7 III with the LAEA3 and test the autofocus.  They said the autofocus was fair but completely blown away by the native Sony lens performance.  When I heard this I knew it was time to give up and go with the Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens.  I’ll always have the Minolta 200mm for times when I want the extra reach but autofocus is not critical.  But for hummingbird and butterfly shots the autofocus of the native sony E-Mount lenses is more important than the extra focal length.  I ordered it from B&H last night.  Case closed.

Longmire – A Television Series Review

I don’t currently stream television shows or movies so I have to wait for the DVDs to be available to watch shows.  For that reason I have just finished watching last year’s sixth and final season of Longmire.  I started watching this on a recommendation based on my enjoying the series Justified.  Well, Longmire and Justified both have protagonists that are law enforcement officers that wear cowboy hats.  I would say that is where the similarity ends.

Walter Longmire, the eponymous protagonist of the series is the sheriff in Absaroka County, Wyoming.  His best friend is a Cheyenne Indian named Henry Standing Bear played with ironic humor by Lou Diamond Phillips.  Surrounding these two characters are an assortment of characters involved in the Indian Casino opening up and the other commercial developments cropping up in the pristine countryside where Walt lives and on the not so pristine Indian Reservation where the tribal police clash or cooperate with Walt and his deputies.  And those deputies try to solve crimes and keep up with Longmire’s two-fisted and gut-feeling law enforcement procedures.  And this is one of the unintentionally funny aspects of Walt’s character.  At least a dozen times during this series Walt is shot, stabbed, snake-bit or bludgeoned and it’s almost as if he’s some kind of supernatural creature that doesn’t require normal medical attention.  He’ll get through the episode or even two and then maybe he’ll have a bandage.  Other characters can reflect the results of an injury for several episodes or even longer.  Walt just takes some vodka and splashes it on the stab wound or whatever and gets back to business.  I mean, sheesh!  What is he a Terminator?

A lot of the plot revolves around the machinations of tribal bigshot Jacob Nighthorse as he manipulates the Indian and White populations to launch his casino and change the dynamic between the Reservation and adjacent Absaroka County.  In addition, the Connally family has a big impact on Walt’s life.  Branch Connally is his deputy and his daughter’s boyfriend.  But he is also running against Walt in his re-election as sheriff.  And Branch’s father, Barlow Connally is a powerful and under-handed businessman who plays all sides against each other for his own ends.

In addition to Branch, Walt has a deputy named Archie Ferguson (the Ferg) who is not very formidable as a law enforcement officer and a Philadelphia transplant named Victoria Moretti (Vic) who does all the annoying liberated woman clap-trap but is an effective deputy and backs up Walt when things go south.

Other characters include Walt’s daughter Cady Longmire who is incredibly annoying and is a lawyer (of course) and the Tribal Police Officers Matthias and Malachi.

When the series starts Walt is recovering from the loss of his murdered wife.  Henry has been helping him track down the killer and Walt’s job is in danger from his erratic behavior.

The show moves through a very long arc throughout which characters go from being allies to adversaries and back again.  There are some surprising developments and some of the characters do grow into more interesting personalities.

On its own terms the series is enjoyable although I would not say it was great.  Some of the characters grow on you like Lou Diamond Phillips’ Henry.  And Walt is the old fashioned John Wayne, strong, silent type who lives by his own code and doesn’t even have a cell phone.

Comparing it to “Justified” I’d say the writing is nowhere near as good but far from bad.  It’s a show that can be enjoyed on its own terms but don’t expect timeless drama, just a good cowboy cop show with nice scenery.

The Long Horn Beetle – A Study in Macrophotography Monotony

I have too many shots of this goofy beetle.  So instead of stringing them out, here they are in all their chitonous, coleopteran tediousness.


macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle
macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle
macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle
macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle
macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle

[caption id="attachment_5283" align="aligncenter" width="1559"] macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle

28NOV2018 – My Take on Things

Here’s a quick review of where everything stands.  The President comes out of the mid-terms losing the possibility of getting things easily through the Congress because of the Democrat capture of the House.  But he gains a reliable Senate majority for appointments to the Supreme Court Bench and the Cabinet.  Having disposed of Jeff Sessions and seeing the Mueller investigation blind-sided by a Manafort defection on his plea bargain it looks like the President is maneuvering to a place where he can deal with Mueller.  His temporary appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Attorney General is angering the Progressives so it must be a good move.  The strong stand the President is taking at the southern border is the right move and I hope he holds firm on that front.  It will win him support and help make clear that a wall at the border is a necessity.  It might even force the Democrats in the House to support funding out of fear of losing re-election in 2020.

The economy continues to move forward and unless you have all your money in the stock market (which is finally seeing a long overdue correction) this will be a very Merry Christmas.

The bad publicity and federal investigations examining anti-conservative deplatforming in the social media and on-line circles hasn’t materially helped our side very much yet.  But the comments by the President and other government leaders have had some effect on Silicon Valley and if there is more than just threat associated with this talk maybe we can see some pushback.  It would be nice if paypal and the other fund transfer vendors are slapped down and forced to play nice.

And finally, the continuing awakening of Americans to the reality of the assault on their way of life and even their identity is moving apace and is having a powerful effect on attitudes and actions.  Many people have gone from mindlessly following the proclamations of the left-wing media to seeing for themselves who is on their side and who is selling them out to the progressives.  This doesn’t involve the Millenials unfortunately, they are pretty much hopelessly in thrall to the Narrative and will continue to be the most loyal proponents of the Progressive path.  But I think it’s apparent that older folk will have to help steer the next generation (Gen Z?) into a better mode of thinking.  That is something I have thinking about myself.  Hopefully other are too.

All in all, we go into December in a better place than we were last year and with a clear path to improving things on all fronts.  It still remains for President Trump to resolve the Mueller situation.  But he seems much better suited than I to decide how that should be done.  And he needs to get his Justice Department working on bringing relief to all of us suffering at the hands of Progressive tech barons and lower court judges who attack conservatives whenever they can.  And I think he will.  So, paint me optimistic and here we are at the quick sprint to Christmas and New Year.  Ho, ho, ho.