Preying Mantis (photo study)

So this summer is an experiment to see if I can stock the fields and garden with praying mantises.  I’ll have to say, I haven’t seen any of the released mantids but I wanted to say a few words about my history with this insect.

My paternal grandfather was a doctor and he had a fellow physician who liked to give books as gifts to his friend’s children.  And one of these gifts was a very handsome edition of Fabre’s Book of Insects to my father when he was a boy.  Well, in my turn I inherited this book and I was fascinated by the author’s scientific investigation of the common insects to be found around the fields of Provence, France and charmed by the very attractive illustrations that adorned its pages.  In fact I still enjoy looking through the book and seeing these pictures eighty six years after it was published.  And I’ve provided copies of the book to my own grandsons to try to capture that same sense of wonder at combining nature and art in a form that a young boy can enjoy.

So I’m juxtaposing the original inspiration of my interest in the mantids with my own modest attempts to document their fascinating existence.

 

Fabre’s Book of Insects
You Lookin’ At Me?
Me and My Shadow

Supreme Court Upholds Religious Freedom in Case Pitting Catholic Adoption and Homosexual Rights

Within a narrow interpretation the Supreme Court upheld the right of religious organizations to refuse to allow homosexuals to adopt or foster children.  The decision was unopposed but was narrowly worded to let stand underlying law that still threatens the 1st Amendment rights of religious freedom.

“Although Roberts handed a win to Catholic Social Services, he slapped down a push from fellow conservatives to use the case to overturn Employment Division v. Smith, a landmark 1990 case in which the court found that laws that are generally applicable do not violate the First Amendment. That decision has been increasingly called into question as a number of states pass laws raising conflicts between religious and gay rights interests. Roberts wrote that Smith did not apply here because Philadelphia’s policy was not neutral.

Several justices said they wanted to revisit Smith. In her concurrence, Barrett wrote that she had found “compelling” reasons to overturn Smith. Still, she added, that since the case did not apply here, she joined the court’s opinion in full. Alito also attacked Smith in a 77-page opinion, writing that the case is “ripe for reexamination.”

Alito added that CSS’s victory can be easily undone as long as Smith stands.

“This decision might as well be written on the dissolving paper sold in magic shops,” Alito wrote of Roberts’s opinion.”

Well, even a small win is till a win.  But with the Roberts court there’s never really asense that much progress is made.  Basically he is progressive in sheep’s clothing.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – A Movie Review

This is a caper movie.  Four men armed with machine guns hijack a New York City subway train and hold the passengers for a million-dollar ransom.  Walter Matthau plays Lt. Garber of the NYC Transit Authority Police who negotiates with the kidnappers.  Robert Shaw is “Mr. Blue,” the criminal mastermind of the gang.  With supporting cast members Jerry Stiller as Lt. Rico Patrone, a cop working for Garber, Martin Balsam as “Mr. Green,” the man in the gang who knows how to run a subway train and Lee Wallace as the despised and cowardly Mayor of New York the movie is a taut drama with humor and suspense mixing perfectly to suspend disbelief.  And with gobs of local color from a supporting cast that acts and talks remarkably like actual New Yorkers of the period (as I can personally attest) the movie bumps along from the initial capture of the train to the first dead body to the mad dash to get the ransom money to the stone-cold killers who enforce a deadline with the lives of the hostages at gunpoint.

Matthau and Stiller provide the comic relief and Shaw provides the menace with bloodless calm.  The hostages are a tapestry of the ethnicities and callings of that time and the other parts, cops, the mayor’s cronies and the transit workers all add texture to the story.  And the swearing!  Except for Robert Shaw almost every character including the women curse a blue streak.  Some of it is actually quite amusing but it should be mentioned in case there are any folks who would take offense.  And the most important character of the whole drama is the New York City subway system of that era.  The movie was made in and on the subway trains and tunnels and it is unmistakably authentic.  It brings back the thousands of hours of my life I spent travelling around Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and The Bronx on subway cars.

Here we are almost fifty years since this movie was made and it stands up very well although only the old remember the New York City being represented.  I must confess it did my heart good to see the people of that era being represented.  The city back then probably had a higher crime rate than even now in these post George Floyd riots times.  And racial tensions were high and neighborhoods treated outsiders with suspicion.  But at least back then people still considered the police as part of the solution.  Nowadays the police are so disrespected that they probably wouldn’t even bother to save the hostages’ lives.  They’d wait until the hostages were shot and then write up the reports and look for some surveillance footage for the six o’clock news report.

I highly recommend this movie with just a warning about the swearing for the genteel.

Abstract Macro

So you might be saying to yourself, “Boy, that’s a weird looking one.  What was he thinking putting that up?”

I’ll make a story out of it.  Why not?  It was a sort of an oddball day.

As I’ve noted, we’re in the silly season and I couldn’t bear to read about Joe Burden telling us about how he rassled with Vlad the Impaler and forced him to raise the price of oil to a thousand dollars a barrel to save the world from green house gasification.

So I spent today outside digging some weeds and planting some seeds and playing around with the camera.  In fact I spent so much time that I lost track and actually filled up the 64 Gbyte memory card I had in the camera.  Now it wasn’t empty when I started, far from it, but I got so wrapped up taking photos of bugs and flowers and mosses and mushrooms that I definitely took way too many shots.  And that’s why someday I will have to do a massive purge of bad and mediocre images.  I have something like a million files and I could easily get rid of 75% of them if I had the heart to face that task.

Believe it or not I have images many times worse than the ones I put up on the photo of the day!  So I had to stop and empty out the files onto the desktop.  But then I got distracted.  I started looking through the images and I started liking some of them.  And then I got playing around with them.  I’d crop them mercilessly to see some tiny corner or center that had some geometric or pattern thing going on.  And before I knew it the day had disappeared.  But it was fun.  So I figured I’d share the reverse order of what I was doing today.

 

 

 

 

So as you can see even weeding has its moments.

 

 

16JUN2021 – Quote of the Day

Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused — in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened — by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes — of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world, who cannot call up such thoughts any day in the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire — fill the glass and send round the song — and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it off-hand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse. Look on the merry faces of your children (if you have any) as they sit round the fire. One little seat may be empty; one slight form that gladdened the father’s heart, and roused the mother’s pride to look upon, may not be there. Dwell not upon the past; think not that one short year ago, the fair child now resolving into dust, sat before you, with the bloom of health upon its cheek, and the gaiety of infancy in its joyous eye. Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass again, with a merry face and contented heart. Our life on it, but your Christmas shall be merry, and your new year a happy one!

Charles Dickens

A White Pill for 15JUN2021

An old expression is, “Forewarned is forearmed.”  And over the course of the last few months, I have come to think that is a good message for all of us.  Knowing what these rats are trying to do should be a huge advantage in minimizing the damage they can do to us.

But not only that.  Framing the situation correctly has other advantages too.  The utter contempt and hatred I now openly express for our enemies is not only liberating but also truly pleasurable.  Getting to call them vile names is a joy.  And if anyone tries to tell me how both sides are legitimate leaders for this country, I just laugh at him and express as derisively as possible how absurd that statement is.  Of course, I qualify it by saying that most of the Republicans are also phony bastards.  But the primary message is that the Democrats are open enemies of the free people of the former United States.

And looking at things that way clears my head and drives away the feeling of helplessness and confusion.  I assume the worst.  I reckon from the point of view that they’ll get Joe Manchin to do their will and that will allow them to pass their election bill and the slavery reparations and the Supreme Court packing laws.  I assume they’ll do all the crap they want to.  Assuming that means that what I’m waiting for is whether any of the red state governors will push back and say no.

The only way this country, or at least, a part of it survives as a free land, is if someone stands up to the feds and says no.  “We won’t let you steal our elections.  We won’t follow a packed Supreme Court that makes unconstitutional decisions.  We won’t let our children be taught to hate their ancestors.”

That’s what I’m waiting for.  And I can afford to wait a little while.  But not forever.  If nothing happens and we get dragged over the cliff into serfdom then I’ll make a move to a better place.  I’ve begun to look at other places like Hungary, Poland, Singapore, even South America.  It won’t be a happy decision to make.  It’ll be a sad one.  But it can be made with a clear understanding of what is here and what is gone.

And that is why I will forever have a fondness for Donald Trump.  He is responsible for opening my eyes.  He spoke the truth when everyone else was afraid and everyone else lied through their teeth.  JEB and McCain and Paul Ryan and Rubio and W and all the rest of those phonies who sold us down the river every single time there was a chance to fix things.

Donald Trump made all of this possible.  He wasn’t able to drain the swamp.  They harried his administration for over four years.  They tried to disrupt every good thing he did.  They are still going after him personally and they are punishing everyone connected to him.  He may even one day be able to get back to the White House and make more progress.  But even if he never does another thing, he has brought light into the darkness.

So, there’s my white pill for today.  Knowing the score makes you free.  Your mind is free and you can determine your own fate within the possible options that are out there.  You can’t single-handedly make this into Old America again and you can’t completely avoid the damage that the Left spreads.  But you can act from an intelligent position.  And that’s not nothing.  That’s my message.

Someone at the American Thinker is Speculating on the Arizona Audit

Someone named Andrew Coy is wondering exactly what would happen if it turns out Donald Trump won Arizona.  He further speculates what would happen if the other swing states also do audits and it turns out Trump won those too.

He looks at the likely reaction by the Military and the Supreme Court.  Interesting speculation.  I haven’t thought about it enough myself yet.  But I put it out there in case anyone was interested.  I’ll reserve judgement for a few more weeks when the Arizona count is due to conclude.  If it does come out in favor of President Trump that will be a big deal and then things could start getting very interesting.