Guest Contributor – TomD – 24JAN2022 – COVID

Tom | Flickr

Even in Florida, if I’m in a medical establishment, it’s mask on. At least in the waiting room, once I’m make it back to the examination room I say (truthfully), “I don’t hear well, can we dispense with these?” The Dr will inevitably say “sure!”

But this morning in the waiting room with about 15 others, all dutifully masked, I went into a slow steam. I really wanted to take my mask off and tell the rest, “Don’t you know even the CDC admits that the masks are 100% useless. Why are we being forced to wear them?”

I hate the masks for multiples of reasons, even on others, because I wasn’t kidding, I do have hearing problems. The combination of the USMC, many decades of competitive and recreational shooting plus Deep Purple concerts has dropped my threshold for hearing in the 2 kHz-4 kHz range to 90 dB. Add a mask to that to that and I can’t make out doodly-squat.

Other than medical buildings, there are no masks down here other than the maybe 2% who choose to mask for whatever private reason. I’ve no problem with that, but I hate coerced actions. My sister wore masks before she died a couple of months ago, but that was because chemo had reduced her immune system to junk.


Chemist – 

I feel your pain. I work in a very technical field with technical people. Corporate has dictated masks for all. I get it. They don’t want to get sued. So they enforce the mask rule and dutifully report the number of Covid cases per week at our site.
I recently went on a rant about the uselessness of the mask and that even the CDC admits they are useless.
People in the vicinity of my cube defended the mandate. I pointed out the size of a virus and the mesh size of cloth masks. It fell on deaf ears.
Finally, one senior person stood up and said: “Its worth it if it saves even one life” and the rest agreed.
I doubt masking has saved a single life over the past 2 years around the entire planet.
Even if it has, that’s a crappy way to determine policy.
But I gave up. I sat down. Took off my mask (Yes, we can take off the masks when sitting inside our cubicals) and went back to work.

Guest Contributor – TomD – 21JAN2022 – Photo

Tom | Flickr



The photo above is the Commanding Officer’s quarters at Ft. Pickens, a coastal defense facility on the Gulf of Mexico in continuous operation from 1833 until 1946. It is now a Federal park.

Below is a shot of the latest gun emplacements. This gun is from WWII and defended the coast and harbor from German U Boats but there are also emplacements dating from before and during the Civil War.



Guest Contributor – TomD – Sony A7 IV Camera First Impressions

Tom | Flickr

(Editor’s Note – I’ve decided to collect Tom’s observations into a separate post and I’ll update it as they come in.  I’m very interested in these observations as I wait for my A7 IV to wend it’s way through the delivery chain. – photog)


The A7IV showed up unexpectedly early last Friday the 24th. Your’s?

Cameras are so complicated these days at configuring one to my preferences is almost like moving to a new house.

Sample below, some of the wife’s yard decoration.




I haven’t had a chance to wring it out yet. Other than the impression that focus seems to be instant in all circumstances and that the form factor is more comfortable in my hand, I don’t have a lot to report.

To someone who has had a succession of now 8 Sony cameras, the much-ballyhooed new menu system just means that I have to relearn the menu system. The function button above the control wheel thankfully still gives immediate access to 95% of the functions that I use the most. And you also still have 7-8 buttons and controls to which you can assign functions.

I’m looking forward to playing with the face and eye tracking.

Still playing with the camera, it will take a while.

Just learned a couple of things, my camera, at least, does much better images with the exposure dial kept to -.7.

Tried several exposure stacking series and found that, in aperture priority, the camera mostly but not always creates the different exposures by varying the ISO. All the other Sonys have always varied only the shutter speed. One series inexplicably varied both ISO and shutter.

Big disappointment: My LA-EA 4 does not function at all with this camera.

On the other hand, the focus on my 90mm f2.8 macro has always been sluggish and hunting on my other cameras but it is instant and responsive on the A7IV. The eye autofocus is unbreakable on my animals around the house


30DEC2021 Update

Here is a a shot of mine wearing a 28-70 f2.8 lens.



Guest Contributor – TomD – The Symmetry of Chaos

“But the size of the community isn’t the defining parameter for how safe a place it is.”

The word fractal was trendy once, may still be but certainly applies. The true definition of fractal is a pattern that endlessly repeats on different scales. The memes that turn an ordered society into a disordered one work well and create similar lawless climates at anywhere between small town scale to national. Same poisonous ideas.

Another way of looking at it would be as entropy. A well functioning society is a highly ordered system and there are near infinitely more disordered states that ordered ones. Therefore, random changes introduced into an ordered state are near infinitely more likely to degrade the system.

Political conservatism is an instinctive method of dealing with the reality that willy-nilly releasing totally unproven assumptions into an ordered society will greatly increase the entropy (disorder) of that society. So maybe the concept that there are 73 genders that we can all sequentially occupy by simple declaration should be examined for a while before being released into the wild as a fundamental ruling precept.

Guest Contributor – TomD – Thoughts on Energy

In Reply to Energy Equates to Wealth

and Guest Contributor – Chemist – Thoughts on Energy

You don’t need to be all that intelligent to realize that the entire green movement is built on extremely shaky engineering underpinnings. And I’m pretty sure those at the top fully realize the sheer unreality of the movement. But, I think it’s a decoy and that the base impulse behind the entire thing (at the top levels anyway) is Malthusian in nature. There are just too many people, increasing at an exponential rate and that trend will not end well.

I have sorta had those leanings myself for a good portion of my live. Decades ago, I remember watching some documentary showing the world population through history. During the Napoleonic wars in 1800, it was around 1 billion, with the GREAT majority of that in China. Over 200 years later, during WWI, it had only grown buy around 15%-20%. I remember thinking that, whatever the problems of the early 20th century world, very few people ascribed them to a lack of population.

When I was born after WWII, the number was around 2.75 billion. What’s it up to now? 10 billion?

I’m not wise enough to know if there is a optimum human population or what it is. I do know that if there is a provable optimum and that population level is significantly below current (as I suspect), I am not aware of any method of getting from here to there by any means that I could condone or tolerate.

I’m not sure that last statement applies to the top elites of the green movement. I think they just may want to bring the whole structure down and let the chips fall where they may as long as they are protected.

Eggs, after all, must be broken.

Guest Contributor – TomD – Insights Into Atlanta – Part 3

I grew up in Sandy Springs, used to ride my go kart on the perimeter (285) when they were just grading it. It only went from Chamblee Tucker to the river at first.

Fulton County has a long history of looting the northside communities of exorbitant property taxes, which are promptly distributed to political supporters in other areas. A few weeks ago I was driving through North Fulton County on roads barely changed, if at all, from when I traveled them while I was in High School in the mid-60’s. This despite the current population being orders of magnitude denser and the insane attendant 24/7 traffic jams and 100’s of square miles of near to $million dollar + homes. God only knows how much tax money has been looted from North Fulton to be distributed inside the perimeter. But it wasn’t spent in the interests of those who paid it.

I remember Fulton Commissioner “Queen” Emma Darnell using Fulton tax money to buy herself a bejeweled multi-thousand dollar Mont Blank pen because she had a “rare disorder” that allowed her to write only using such an instrument. When unincorporated Fulton started to incorporate into cities to escape the taxation, “Queen” Emma famously announced that the northsiders should not be allowed to escape because the southsiders “owned” that tax base. That really happened.

All the houses that I’ve owned in the area were carefully selected to not be in Fulton county. I spent my last 20 years there in the East Cobb County area where the property taxes were 45% of what they would be in Fulton and with far better roads and amenities to boot. Newt Gingrich was my congressman.

So this tax-confiscation-with-no-correlating-benefit war between relatively affluent and less affluent but more populous Atlanta areas has been going on for quite some time. Atlanta has been exporting money from Buckhead and importing crime almost forever. Lenox Square opened in 1959 as the 1st Mall in the southeast; it was an incredible success, for a while. It took less than 20 years for the Mall to turn into a battle zone of shoplifting and robberies.

So I’d say, “Let’s Go Buckhead!”

Jason M: You commuted from Buford to Sandy Springs for 13 years? I85 south to top end perimeter to Sandy Springs or reverse twice a day x 5 days+ per week for 13 years? Whew!

Guest Contributor – TomD – Insights Into Atlanta

Tom | Flickr

Above, going through Buckhead on Ga 400 a couple of weeks ago.

I grew up in metro Atlanta and spent most of my life there up until a few years ago, but never within the City limits.

The big deal there now is that the richest subdivision of the city, Buckhead, is trying hard to secede from Atlanta in order to form it’s own police force and may well succeed. (I think I’ve never previously managed to get both secede and succeed in the same sentence.) The chaos, murder, car jackings, rampant shopliftings and police stand downs really didn’t play well with the folks over on Blackland Rd near the Governors Mansion along with their $50k-$100K per year property tax bills for their “houses”.

If Buckhead pulls it off, it will play the devil with Atlanta’s tax base. It would take away around 15% of the population of Atlanta City but maybe up to 60%+ of the property value. That’ll teach them to screw with the goose that laid the golden egg! Just try looting a few $billions in “tax” from the inner city neighborhoods. Fat chance of that.

BTW: The City of Atlanta is just a niche in Greater Atlanta, with a population of around a half million in the 7 million person by 10,000 square mile metro area.