Guest Contributor – War Pig – Memorial Day

My Memorial Day weekend will be spent visiting various cemeteries. I have veteran relatives to honor, such as mom, dad and several uncles and cousins. I will also remember conrades who died in action or later after retirement. My Vietnam generation is fast aging. Most of us who were privates then are in our 70s now, and those who were officers and NCOs are even older. Many of us served well into the War on Terror and against Iraq and even Afghanistan, as well as many places that never made it in the news.

For me and many others Memorial Day is bittersweet and rather melancholy. Families with a strong military tradition likely feel the same. Since the Civil War there have been men and women in our family who have served and fought in each war and “police action”. So I will stand and salute as the Anthem or Taps is played or the colors pass at various cemeteries and Memorial services, and I will shed the odd tear in memory of those braver than I who went before.


Guest Contributor – Chemist – Impeachment

Impeachment! Tie him up with impeachment trials. The democrats won’t vote to convict? Fine. Have another impeachment. Keep it going and bind his hands until he(Or is handlers) realize that this is all that will happen until he is replaced.
Things Slow Joe can be impeached for (Off the top of my head):

Not securing the border. This is a responsibility of the executive defined in the constitution. He is not doing his duty. It will be easy to prove and it will be fun watching the partisans voting no when the evidence is incontrovertible.

Influence peddling. Lets have fun with Hunter’s laptop. Let’s put it out there for everyone to see. Lets name and shame the people who sent money to Hunter so he can give 10% to “The big guy”.

Extortion. Joe admitted to forcing the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Hunter. Let’s put that on display and, while we are at it, show the truth of the Trump phone call to Ukraine.

That should keep us busy for the first year. I’m sure there is more.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – Ulfberht Steel

And we still don’t know who by or where the Ulfberht swords were made. The steel was centuries ahead of its time.

Ulfberht steel was crucible steel. It was remarkably fine grained and had very few inpuruties. Likely imported from south Asia. Europe did not work out crucible steel for centuries after the Ulfberht swords were made. You can learn a great deal in the NOVA special on PBS.

Also MAN AT ATMS REFORGED did a short on making an Ulfberht sword from scratch. They made their own steel from ore and all.

The flexibility and strength in sword steels today we rather take for granted. Ulfberht steel would have seemed to be magic to the smiths if the age. An Ulfberht sword would be equal in value to a small castle back then. Of course, where there is quality there were counterfeits. Humans haven’t changed much in the last thousand years or so that way. The NOVA special references fakes. Just like fake Rolex qatches today, there were fake Ulfberht swords.

Guest Contributor – TomD – Photo – Converting From A-Mount to E-Mount on the 70-300MM Zoom

Tom | Flickr


Speaking of lenses, we were talking about lenses, weren’t we? Ahh, I thought so—-

Anyway, back in the days of my Sony A mount cameras, one of my most productive lenses in terms of the real “keeper” shots that it produced was a Sony G series 70-300. It was pretty slow with a maximum variable aperture of f3.5-5.6, but that didn’t matter much because I used it almost exclusively outdoors with lots of light.

What did matter is that it was extremely sharp and had a great bokeh (that soft blur in the out of focus areas of the picture). Any time I would be looking through my pictures of that time frame and saw one that I thought was particularly good, the EXIF date would show that was the 70-300 lens on a percentage of the GOOD shots that far exceeded the percentage of the time I used it.

I got into the E mount Sony era in 2017 with a A7RII and added a A7III to it about year and a half later. While I was building a E mount lens collection, I bought a Sony LA-EA 4 lens adaptor to mount A type lenses to E type bodies so that I could use my old lenses.

The adaptor worked to a certain extent to tie the 70-300 to those bodied but the auto focus was sluggish and not as accurate. The lens fell out of use and was used a time or two a year and yielding acceptable but not stellar results.

I recently sold both the older Sony cameras and bought the latest Sony A7IV. When I tried my LE-AH 4 adaptor on the A7IV with the 70-300, I got nothing. Sony is apparently abandoning the older A series and a little research told me that the 70-300 lens does not and will never work with the A7IV or later bodies. Well.

That left my existing E mount lens collection biased to the short side, the longest lens being 105 mm and I really needed a replacement to that lens. A direct replacement, a new version with the exact same optics as my old lens but in e mount costs around $1300 these days. I’m retired now and don’t spend $1300 without at least some research so I spent a couple of hours on google (whom I hate but use anyway).

That search yielded a large number of reviews stating that the new Tamron 70-300 E mount is at least equal of the Sony version with one caveat. That being there in no in lens image stabilization. But that’s okay because my A7IV has 5 axis in body stabilization, so in lens would be redundant. But here’s the kicker: the Tamron cost $499 vs $1300 for the Sony.

The Tamron arrived a couple of days ago. I really haven’t have a chance to wring it out other than 40 or 50 snaps at stuff around the house, but it shows promise.

Couple of examples below including a shot of the camera and lens. These shots are just out of the camera, not modified and not examples of picture that I would keep. But they do show the image quality of which the lens is capable in terms of sharpness, color and bokeh.





#3 a Bottlebrush Bush, seen these only in Florida. Just a microsecond after this shot, a Hummingbird flew into my field of vision, but only for only a half second. You snooze, ya loose.


The purpose of these shots is to demonstrate the lens’s potential, not artistic quality. I think it’s hard to imagine the IQ (image qualiity) being much better. It certainly exceeds expectations of a “cheap” lens.



Guest Contributor – War Pig – 03MAR2022 – On War

(In reply to comments on the review of the 1965 movie “The Battle of the Bulge”) – photog

I’ve never heard what Eisenhower had to say about it. I get my lean on it from my uncle, an enlisted man. Battles are seen quite differently if you’re one of the dogfaces in the ranks than by staff generals and politicians and people who write about it later.

Having been in a couple or so battles myself I can say the troops fight a battle intimately, not cooly and detached like they do at headquarters. You fight what is in front of you and you do not fight for king or country. You fight for the dogfaces to your right and left, your brothers. Your own world in battle is quite small, really. Your brothers on your right and left, and what you can see to your front. Usually about 400 yards or so. Modern thermal sights changes that for tank xrews and the like, and better optics on rifles extends that range a little bit but the soldier with the rifle in the ranks can only worry about what he sees and what can see him.

I generally don’t watch war movies that involve ground action. They are so fake overall. I’ll watch Battle of Brirain or In Harms Way about planes and ships, but I usually don’t watch ground war movies. I saw Bulge before I went to Vietnam. After that I gave up on ground war movies. I especially never watch movies about conflicts or operations in which I took part. They remind me of things I’d rather not remember and they are so wrong I get angry.


Guest Contributor – War Pig – The Battle of the Bulge

My uncle, who fought under Patton, told me of how the battle shaped up for him and his tank crew. It was snowy and icy and muddy all at the same time. The Germans did blow up trees to block roads and used mines and panzerfausts with skill and daring. They shelled trees to make splinters to wound the infantry. Pattons forces did have to fight without air cover. I don’t know if it was the prayer Patton uttered or just a warm front moving in but when the skies cleared, P47s, B25s/26s and British Typhoons feasted upon the Germans. The brave men of the 101st Airborne were heroic in their stand which brought down the entire offensive. Both the last stand of the 101st and Patton’s charge are excellent examples of American military exceptionalism.