17MAR2019 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day

As a native inhabitant of New York City and a parochial school inmate with deep family roots in the NYPD, I grew up with the yearly ritual of the St. Patrick’s Day parade with its kilted and bagpipes playing policemen and endless blarney about the religiosity of the City’s inhabitants.  But I still think fondly of the ritual.  Also March Seventeenth is Camera Girl’s Birthday so she is honorary Irish and celebrates by making corned beef and cabbage for dinner.  So a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to any and all Irish and other fans of the day.

The Goofiest Barred Owl Bar None

This has been a pretty weird winter weather-wise.  We have had fifty degrees and minus five so far in January.  I’ve had snow, rain, sleet and hurricane force winds all on the same day.  There have been torrential rains followed by bright sun.  Weird.  And now just to show you that I’m not the only one who’s confused our local Barred Owl has switched into a daytime critter.  This bugger was in a tree branch right outside my living room window and scarfing down mice right before my eyes.  Their ability to turn their heads one hundred eighty degrees is pretty bizarre.  But if staying up all day means he won’t be serenading me at two a.m. then count me in on the program.  These Barred Owls have one of the weirder sounding repertories among the “Children of the Night” in my neck of the woods.

I happened to have my camera there but it was equipped with the Sony 55mm f\1.8 lens.  I took a bunch of shots through a double glazed window and here they are cropped and resized out of all sanity.

Barred Owl with mouse; Sony A7 III; Sony 55mm f\1.8 lens

If you look real close you’ll see something hanging from his beak.  In the rest of the shots you’ll understand the whole story

Barred Owl with mouse; Sony A7 III; Sony 55mm f\1.8 lens

 

 

 

Barred Owl with mouse; Sony A7 III; Sony 55mm f\1.8 lens

 

 

 

Barred Owl with mouse; Sony A7 III; Sony 55mm f\1.8 lens

Later on in the day he showed up again and I got outside to try and take some shots with my 200mm macro. The effort was only partially successful but it will be the bulk of my photo of the day efforts for the next few days.  Now what accounts for this nocturnal pest suddenly becoming a diurnal pest is beyond my weak powers of deduction.  Just one more sign of the apocalypse I suppose.

Mining the Benedict Option for Practical Advice – Part 1

As I mentioned I’m seriously interested in starting some kind of local organization to allow me to impact the community around me. But other than hot air of, which I possess an abundance, I was short on practical know-how.   I started re-reading Rod Dreher’s,”The Benedict Option,” and I think it will be useful.  I previously reviewed it last year.

A Short Book Review of Rod Dreher’s – The Benedict Option – Part 2

But now I’m looking at it more as a handbook, so it will take a good deal more time to weigh the information to decide what is helpful to me.   At this point, at the very least it has given me a number of resources for researching directions to go.  If anyone else is looking for ways to build alternative social platforms I recommend that you take a look at Dreher’s book. There are definitely some useful starting points at the very least.  And even if your position is non-religious there are things to think about in this book.

 

 

The Twilight Zone Revisited

My hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Last July I posted a review of the Twilight Zone in which I stated unequivocally that all but a handful of the episodes are unwatchable.  Once again, the SyFy Channel featured a marathon the episodes around the holidays and once again, I found myself watching way too many of them.  I recorded about fifteen of them on the cable box and proceeded to replay them almost obsessively over the last few weeks.  I did find a couple more that I had forgotten were pretty good and kept re-watching the few that I do enjoy.  But what became intolerable was having to deal with the commercials from the SyFy Channel each time I watched.  Even fast forwarding through became so painful I finally deleted all the episodes in disgust.

The one episode that I had forgotten I liked was “Two.”  Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery are soldiers from opposing armies that wander into a deserted city five years after a war has depopulated the world.  Surprisingly, the sparse dialog and minimal action work remarkably well and create a genuinely affecting moment.

Anyway, I buckled under the pressure.  I went on Amazon and bought the whole series on blu-ray, all one hundred and sixty odd, mostly awful shows.  I guess this proves I’m a hopeless addict to bad television.

It showed up tonight and I put on “To Serve Man.”  Oh well, at least there are no SyFy Channel commercials.  That’s one nightmare I won’t have to face again.  That’s at least an improvement.

“Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship!  “To Serve Man,” it’s a cookbook!”  Ahhhh, ain’t it grand!

He-Man Woman Haters Club or the Royal Order of Raccoons?

As is my way I’m trying to come up with the name of something before the something even exists.  I’ve become intrigued with the idea of starting a fraternal order that would provide a place for people like me to feel at home.  Both of the names in the title are imaginary societies that appeared in popular tv shows when I was a kid.  The He-Man Woman Haters Club was where the Little Rascals congregated when they were having trouble with Darla or the other girls in the neighborhood and the Racoon Lodge is where Ralph and Ed retreated to when Alice and Trixie were nagging them about the dumpy apartments, they lived in.  Of course, these names may be under copyright protection but any name will do as long as the ground rules are right.

Rule 1 – All voting members will be married men.  They have to be men because women are a nuisance.  They have to be married because wisdom only comes through suffering and no one suffers as much as married men.  Unmarried men are welcome but cannot vote.

Rule 2 – All memberships will be approved by me based on interviews and recommendations of people I can vouch for.  Memberships can be revoked any time someone stops fitting the membership criteria.  I decide the criteria and can change them anytime I deem it necessary.  It’s a flexible system and should prove robust.

Rule 3 – The women’s auxiliary is made up exclusively of wives who can make sandwiches.  They have no standing in the organization other than to assist the members, cheer at sporting events, chaperone children’s activities and make sandwiches (and other designated foodstuffs).  If any wife becomes a nuisance she will be ejected and her husband will be liable for the offense up to and including expulsion.  Girlfriends of unmarried members can join the auxiliary but must get along with the wives.  Any member who has a wife and a girlfriend will have to sort that out himself.

Rule 4 – All children’s activities must be chaperoned by the parents or legal guardians of the children attending.  This is key.  People should care enough to spend time with their kids.  If you don’t want to why would we?

Rule 5 – No member can openly espouse Democrat, progressive, communist, socialist, globalist, anti-American or any other pinko sentiments.  You can be an atheist if you refrain from annoying religious people about it.  The organization is innately pro-God because God has always done right by me.  But we are not denominational.  God only talks to me when I’m alone and won’t allow me to tell anyone else what religion he belongs to.  Sorry.

Rule 6 – Men will wear pants at all times.  This is very important.  We are Americans and American men wear pants.  End of story.  You Scots are out of luck.

Rule 7 – Whenever in the course of a meeting or in organizational documents a pronoun is used for a person of indeterminate sex the masculine form will be used.  If this bothers you then you’re in the wrong club.

Other rules equally idiosyncratic will follow as I get around to making them up.  Suffice it to say that I will provide rules to prevent all the behaviors that annoy me in everyday politically correct arenas.  No make-believe pronouns, no gender equality, no weirdos of any kind (other than my kind of weirdos).

I am openly soliciting a name for this noble fraternal organization.  And if you can think of anything that needs to be added to the rules or if you have other comments, such as, “you must be insane!” then just leave them in the comment section below.

Yours in fraternal benevolence,

photog (AKA, the High, Exalted, Mystic Grand Master General)

 

24DEC2018 -OCF Update – Christmas Wish

Merry Christmas, to all of you who visit here!

I’ll have a photo and quote for the day on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But I will be hobnobbing with my fellow wizards and ingesting mass quantities of Christmas comestibles both days and so I cannot promise much posting.  But I just want to wish all of you a happy and well-needed celebration with all your loved ones.

photog

Images from Camera Girl’s Annual Christmas Cookie Project

Christmas cookies account for a full 30% of my annual weight gain.  Oatmeal, chocolate chip and Grandma cookies (or white cookies as one of my brothers calls them) are sinfully good with a mug of coffee.

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

The only ones that don’t tempt me are the sugar cookies.  With their sweetness and the colored sugar crystals adorning them I think of them as a snack for young children who haven’t yet developed a more discerning palate (to each his own).

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Camera Girl is revered by all who can get their greedy hands on any of these treasures and the short time that they last is one of the high points of the culinary calendar.

That Damn Beaver’s Dam (and Lodge)

Since absconding with my game camera the Rodent of Unusual Size has been unobserved.  He probably sold it on ebay and used the proceeds to fund a vacation in Cancun.  Well, partially funded anyway.  But the puddle has remained at its elevated level so I decided to venture into the swamp and see what I could see.

There was no sign of the waterlogged rat anywhere but his handiwork was all around.

Here are some photos of his tree chopping abilities.

Beaver chewed branches, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Beaver chopped sapling, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

And here is a mess he left while chewing the bark of sticks.  I should turn him into the Staties for littering.

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Sony 50mm f\1.8 lens

And here is his Lodge (what a dump).

Beaver lodge, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Beaver lodge, view from above, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

And here is the much vaunted dam.  Well, as a fellow engineer I can only say he’ll have to do a lot better than this if he expects to get his P.E stamp.

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

 

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

And here’s a close-up of his handiwork.

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

 

Disappearing like this leads me to believe either he has been eaten by one of his woodland brothers (coyote would be my guess).  Or he’s gone completely nocturnal.  I could test this theory out if I still had a game camera.  Oh well, maybe Santa will come through.

A Photo Theme for the Next Few Weeks

I dug out a bunch of shots I took back in 2012 with my Sony mirrorless crop sensor NEX 5N  camera at the American Museum of Natural History.  This was an earlier mirrorless and really didn’t have good low light capability or auto focus but for non-moving dinosaurs and stuffed african animals it was mostly okay.  That museum is probably my favorite place in NYC.  A less well known fact is that the museum’s charter states that any resident of NYC can get admission by paying any amount of US currency he desires down to a penny.  But the museum posts admission fees that are over twenty dollars a head.  When I saw this that day I gave them hell and told them I was paying a buck a head for my family.  Hoping to get me out of earshot of the rest of the crowd they took my reduced price and rushed me in.  It’s a great place.  And the statue of Teddy Roosevelt on a horse with an African and a North American native flanking him is so politically incorrect that it always does my heart good.

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Sony NEX 5N, Sony 24mm F\1.8 APSC lens
American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Sony NEX 5N, Sony 24mm F\1.8 APSC lens

 

Have You Ever Wondered Why Uranus is Lopsided?

That wasn’t meant as an insult!

https://apnews.com/d1e2c440af57450ab82b62d035adac61

Apparently several billions of years ago it was side-swiped by a planet at least twice as big as Earth and has been out of kilter ever since.  Probably a female planet like Venus not paying attention to the road (sorry Camera Girl, I had to say it).

Interesting article.  They even tackle the embarrassing alternate pronunciation for the planet’s name.