Monday, August 31, 2020

Have A Nice Day!

And there's another thing calculated to drive a man out of the agora: it's the practice, that has somehow come into our lives, of greeting people by saying "have a happy day." I don't for the life of me see the advantage in this. Nobody in a painful situation is any the better for being told to "have a happy day."

Libanius (4th century AD), Declamations 26.7 (tr. D.A. Russell)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

And speaking of truth...

This will be quick.

Ya know those 180,000+ who died from the Chinese Floozy?

Well, they didn't.  According to the CDC, the "updated" figure who were killed is (grab something nailed down) 9210.

5%. And that will probably go lower. Estimates of the real total are between 1/2 and 1/5 of 1%.

So all the pain and bankruptcies and fear and dislocation were all lies.

Heads must roll.

Whose that Allegory?

You're never going to guess, so I'll tell you. It's:

Truth Coming Out of the Well Armed With Her Whip to Chastise Mankind
by Jean-Leon Gerome, 1896

Why was she in a well? Probably a reference to a line from Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher: "We know nothing certainly, for truth lies in a deep place;" often translated as "lies at the bottom of a well."

She's clearly yelling, "Hey! My eyes are up here, buddy!"

Donald J Trump 8/27/20

In the Left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on Earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins. Our opponents say that redemption for you can only come from giving power to them. This is a tired anthem spoken by every repressive movement throughout history, but in this country, we don’t look to career politicians for salvation. In America, we do not turn to government to restore ourselves. We put our faith in almighty God.

Funny how a simple paragraph can sum up the last half century.  It's all been leading up to this.

Much as Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech, given 8/28/63, summed up the century before.

Sometimes somebody says something and it just hits you. Or you see an actor in a small part and you know he/she's going places (had that reaction first time I saw Robert Duvall, also Eddie Murphy).

Also funny how dates can resonate. Did you know June 4 is a very important date in WWII? In 1940, the Dunkirk evacuation was completed. In '42, we won at Midway. In '44, we took Rome.

Not sure if I've said this here before, but I think Donald Trump may well turn out to be the most significant, consequential President since Andrew Jackson and for a similar reason

Not saying this because I'm a Trump fan, and you know I am.

I'm saying this because there seems to be one of those coming together moments that hits the country when it needs it. All the lies, all the puffery, are bringing the country into focus. The aristocracy is about to fall and said aristocracy has been pushed for better than 80 years.

Yes, the Left will still hate him, but the vainglory of this year has had an effect.

Friday, August 28, 2020

You oughta get to know Polly O

Simple Spaghetti Sauce with veal

One pound of veal spiedini
six cloves of garlic
two large sweet onions
two cartons Pomi chopped tomatoes.
three table spoons of olive oil
three teaspoons of oregano

Mince the garlic and fry it in the oil. Thinly slice the onions and fry until translucent. Then add the veal. Now you can fry it up in strips as shown above or you can dice it. I like to fry it in the shape of a sliver dollar so I can put it in a sandwich. Brown it.

Then add the Pomi tomatoes and the oregeno. Siimmer on a low flame with a cover. Long time low flame that you check to see it doesn't dry out. Add a little water by sloshing it around the tomato carton to get the rest of good stuff.

After about 40 minutes it's ready to serve over a good spaghetti. Not Ronzoni. Add a little pecorino romanno.


RIP there Spaghetti in Heaven?

Anthony the kid in the Prince Spaghetti commercial is dead at 61. Just a couple of years younger than me so we are almost exact contemporaries. I lived that life in Brooklyn.

The clothes and the food and the decor in the commercial are what I grew up with in the 1960's. My Mom had the same haircut as his Mom. I used to be outside with my friends playing all day and at dinner time the Moms would open the window and shout at us to come home. It was never all the Moms. Just the one closest to where we were hanging out The rest of us got the message and hurried home. If we didn't want a smack.

Back in those days everyone bought the same stuff. Not Prince or Barilla or some other brand. Everyone bought Ronzoni macaroni and Red Pack tomatoes and Polly O mozzarella and ricotta. It was a given. They were always on sale at G&G on Henry Street and my Grandmother would send me out to buy it. A simple supper was often just spaghetti and sauce with nothing much on it other than grated cheese. Sometimes as a special treat she might cook up some veal spiedini in the sauce. But usually it was just a basic puree. Of course that wasn't the Sunday sauce with the meatballs and sausage and the pork skin. That was what made Sunday Special.

You can't buy Ronzoni anymore. It is way too starchy. The macaroni just falls apart. Some big company bought it from the family that ran it and ruined everything. Red Pack is still around but I use Pomi tomatoes exclusively that are imported from Italy in cartons not cans. Much less salt and much better tasting. Still only use Polly O since they are the best by far and are what we are used too.

Kids don't play out in the street anymore either. It's was all play dates or video games on the phone. Nobody plays stick ball or stoop ball or skelly.

Anthony wouldn't recognize the North End. Just like I don't recognize South Brooklyn.

I hope they have spaghetti in Heaven.

I know Hell has Indian food.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Kamala for Vice President!

"This morning all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in our communities, but today, today just maybe they're seeing themselves, for the first time, in a new way — as the stuff of presidents and vice presidents."

Whose that Legal Aid bitch who likes PDA?

She only had one role where she was a star and played a ball breaker of a feminist who really embodied the times.

She was Lawyer who tortured everyone as a public defender who helped criminals and would be in the forefront of both BLM and the MeToo bullshit. I don''t understand why an Italian guy would ever go out with her. He must have been a masochist of the first water.

Oh and she like pizza.

Whose that lawyer bitch.

WKRLEM: Wait maybe this video from Kenosha is worse!

He Pearl Harbored him again!

WKRLEM- The most politically incorrect match I could find

Chief Jay Strongbow put a choke hold on a big black man.

"He Pearl Harbored him!'

I miss the 1970's

Buy My Friend's Book

. . . or I'll kill this dog. (No I won't. Please don't cancel me, PETA.)

The book is Huckleberry Finn In Love And War: The Lost Journals. (You have to admit, that's a lot of title for the money.) The author is an old friend of mine.

If you happen to have Kindle Unlimited, you can download the e-book for free; if not, the download will cost $9.95 (which strikes me as steep, but blame the publisher, not the author). The dead-tree paperback is $14.95, which is closer to reasonable.

If you're into Mark Twain and/or the Civil War, I think there's a good chance you'll like it. If not, probably not. It took some chutzpah for the author to get in the ring with Sam Clemens. If you want to judge whether he's got the chops, there are a couple of excerpts below the "Read more." Also, you can read the first seven chapters at the Amazon link; they mostly take place during the Mexican-American War.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

 On this evening's run I got to thinkin' about things I have seen in my life. Sixty years ago democrats attacked peaceful diners over in Greenboro, yelling at them, spitting on them, calling them racial epithets, and trying to provoke a physical response. The diners, were able to restrain themselves. They did not respond in kind. They allowed their racist democrat attackers to beat themselves against the rock that they had become, thereby carrying the day.

They demonstrated true forbearance in the face of violent evil.

Will we be as strong? Can we be? I certainly hope I remain true to my values and training, if only because I need to be here to care for my animals. 

Washington D.C., the city of my birth, is now a viper pit. I have not been back this century nor will I ever return. Of course, that is true of every democrat city - I will not go.

This piece works for me, today.

I just saw this over at Insty's place

 Thanks for the shout-out.

What's funny is that even if they burn down her house she will still vote for Biden. Clueless doesn't begin to describe her level of idiocy. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Picture This


A few weeks ago, in order to do a post about a local street sign, I dug out my old, cheap digital camera that I hadn't used in years. This weekend I took it for a spin in the gardens at a nearby regional park. The results were pretty sad. I took ten pictures, and eight of them were blurred and unusable; including, unfortunately, a zoomed-in picture of a goldfinch in some flowers. The other two you see above.

It was a cloudy day, and I guess the problem was the shutter had to stay open too long, and I couldn't hold the camera steady enough. I don't know why the two that worked, worked. I'll try again on a sunny day and see what happens. I suppose a tripod would fix the problem, but I'm damned if I'm going to be seen using a tripod with a Nikon CoolPix.

For those of you who are interested in the botanical details: the top picture is some kind of dogwood, and the bottom one is some purple flowers and orange-leaved plants in a big concrete pot.

Monday, August 24, 2020

What I have learned so far

 Peter Gunn is CTE patient zero. He sustains a concussion every single show. It's a wonder he lasted three seasons. 

When they needed to wreck a car they brought in a Nash four door.

I am watching this show so you don't have to.

I can't wait until the warden lets me out.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Political Discourse

                    The Ogre does what ogres can,
                    Deeds quite impossible for Man,
                    But one prize is beyond his reach,
                    The Ogre cannot master Speech:
                    About a subjugated plain,
                    Among its desperate and slain,
                    The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
                    While drivel gushes from his lips.

                         --WH Auden, August 1968

When I saw the remarkable picture above, and in particular the mostly-peaceful young gentleman in the silvery mask, I thought of Auden's ogre. Auden wrote his poem in response to the Soviets' crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968. Our ogres, like his, are very good at causing chaos and destruction, but utterly incapable of, and uninterested in, speaking clearly and understandably.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday night

 I have been working. I have been taking pictures. I am still learning how to operate the camera. 

I took this picture today - this is my old 616 Kodak Jr. camera that I bought in San Raphael. It still has its original box and instruction manual. Based on the latest patent number printed in the label I think this one was produced around 1934 or so.  

It's in good shape and I used it right up until I could no longer buy film, including expired film in out-of-the-way stores. What I liked about it is that is it easy to operate and goes all the way to f/45. So while it is no Ansel Adams f/64 large format camera, the aperture in this one is far tighter than modern cameras will stop down to.

Today's lesson - use a wide open aperture to blur the background. This was shot with the camera set to f/2.4. The cat is not impressed.

This evening's sunset. I cranked the ISO way up, but I think I better start taking notes - if I take 20 shots with a variety of settings it is important to be able to repeat the settings that work in a given setting.

Peter Gunn is Bewitched

Why would I say such a thing? Because they replaced a major character without so much as a word. In one episode Mother is a giant of a woman who towers over Peter Gunn, in the next she qualifies for membership in the Lollipop Guild. Darrin would be proud. I know what happened, but still the transition is jarring.

Friday, August 21, 2020

My All-Time Favorite Insult

          Walking home I tried to think what he reminded me
          of and there were various things. They were all medical
          except toe-jam and that was a slang word.
          --Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, writing about Wyndham Lewis

Hemingway, despite his Macho Man persona, really knew how to be bitchy.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Whose Lives Matter

I've been thinking about this for a while. The trolls on all the comment boards talk about BLM and how white Trumplicans care naught about black people.

Well, I concede it's sometimes hard to work up a lot of sympathy about our darker brethren, but some things, as a great man once observed, crowd a man.

Everyone's heard about Cannon Hinnant and how he was casually (and that's the right description) murdered in front of his sisters and left to die. Fake News said little, if anything, but it's been much more a cause celebre on the Interwebz. Likewise, the death toll in Chiraq, home of Mayor Beetlejuice, gets little press. 38 black kids killed so far this year, 7 in the last 2 weeks.

Mayor Tippytoes was renowned for not caring about the deaths of his constituents, particularly the black ones. One might well ask where are the Os on this? Or The Ozarks? We know what Gropin' Joe thinks. More to the point, where is black America? They can't be happy about it. Do they figure this is the price for a place at the table?

Some place. More kids are aborted than brought to term. The leading cause of death for young black males is young black males. You think there has to be a point where the EBT card just isn't worth it. Maybe it is a black thing and we don't understand (if you recall the sweatshirts, etc.), but at what point does your own flesh and blood become unimportant?

There is something of the Einsatzgruppen in this kind of mentality. For those who missed the lecture, Einsatzgruppen were SS units about the size of a Ranger battalion, trained in mass killing techniques. Their job was to go into a Russian village, root out all the Jews, and execute them in as expeditious a manner possible. They made great use of locals who saw the Krauts as liberators in this.

The Einsatzgruppen were, like all SS men, indoctrinated to see Jews as Untermenschen and their job was to be the local Orkin men. Most shrugged it off as part of the job of winning the war, some just gave into a thousand years of blaming the Jews for everything, some compensated by making light of it. Many couldn't get past the fact that, eventually, they'd see someone in their sights who looked like Grossmutter, the girl next door, baby sis, Dad. These groups had the highest substance abuse rates, mental crackup rates, suicides, and "malingering" (avoidance of duty) of anybody's army.

It was the big reason the Krauts had to transition to the gas chambers at places like Auschwitz.

But we don't see the ones who can't deal with it. The people who should care don't. On any level.

Is this one of those Joe Stalin things where “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”? Are all these deaths just necessary to swing public opinion in the glorious world socialist revolution, but are meaningless in and of themselves to the people who make a living crying about the oppression of blacks?

The issue seems to me that nobody's life matters to the Dr Evils of the world, or this country. The only thing that counts is the power To be sure, some deaths are sensationalized to create public outrage in some quarters, but those are only for the purpose of moving the Overton Window in a certain direction.

The real tragedy is that all the enablers are numb to it. I know to be a Lefty, you have to go with the program without exception, without question; you have to hate as hard as they tell you to hate.

But where are the ones who see Grossmutter?

Where are the ones who realize if All Lives Do Not Matter, No Lives Matter?

Or will we see them on Election Day?

Not sure I said this right, but I hope I got the point across.

New post, new approach

 I have been watching "The Great Courses, Fundamentals of Photography" which is taught by Joel Sartore. He knows his stuff and is an able teacher. I tried out some of the things he teaches using the camera on my cell phone, but that is a sadly limited device. Good for snapshots, but limited when it comes to adjustments.

Next, I dragged out a Sony camera I bought a few years back as a favor to a friend. She was going through some tough economic times and she sold me her camera and a lathe. I ended up selling the lathe to free up some space in my shop, but I set the camera on a shelf and didn't use it, until now, that is. 

This show sparked a bit of interest so I got out the camera, recharged the battery, found the manual, a tripod I had lying around, and started taking pictures using what I had learned from the course. 

Are these good photographs? Nope. But some of them have good lighting and a couple of them capture a funny moment, but they are still snapshots, just taken with a better camera.

WKRLEM: Putting Out The Fire with Gasoline

It seems what we have been doing these days.

I seem to be obsessed with Cat People these days.

"Is That Supposed to be a bad thing

The God Emperor of the Cherry Blossom Throne put the lying media in it's place when it questioned him about the support of the followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Basically these people believe that the Deep State is undermining his administration and protecting pedophiles and abusers like Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein  and the scumbags in Hollywood.

What like that is not believable? Did you hear about the Netflicks child porn movie that celebrates 11 year old girls dancing like whores?

We know the Democratic response to this:

A photo of Bill Clinton getting a massage by an underage girl who was sex trafficked while he flew on Epstein's plane. That dropped yesterday. The Democrats had him making a speech at their convention.

We know where the Democrats and the Media stand.

It''s sick out there and getting sicker.

Like the turning of the earth...we never think we will get old

In 1985 I bought season tickets for the New York Knicks when they drafted Patrick Ewing in the first pick of the draft. I got two tickets for $12 a seat for 40 home games plus two exhibitions. All in all it cost about a grand. I kept buying the tickets for 17 seasons as they got more expensive and the Knicks failed to win over and over again.

On that early team they had a good little player named Gerald Wilkins. He played shooting guard or small forward. Not much of an outside shot but he was very athletic and could go to the hole. Nowhere as good as his brother Dominique but still he was a very serviceable player and a fan favorite. The reason he was a favorite was because he was a happy guy. Always smiling and happy on the court he was great when he met the fans. I met him a couple of times at team functions that I got invited  to as a season ticket holder. All  in all I liked him a lot.

Now basketball has abandoned me. Filled as the game is with hatred towards white people and our country the league is not for me and I have haven't seen a game in five years. I don't know one player on the Knicks roster. Gerald Wilkins has fallen even more than my regard for the game.

"Former New York Knicks guard Gerald Wilkins was reportedly arrested on assault charges Tuesday after a string of arrests over separate incidents earlier this spring.
Wilkins, the younger brother of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins, faces two counts of battery after he was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia, TMZ reported Wednesday.
The second-round pick has had numerous run-ins with the law lately and was cuffed three times in 10 days over late May and early June."
The Gerald Wilkens I knew is long gone. The game of basketball as well. I never thought I would despise the game and its players so much. But it is par for the course. I never thought I would despise Brooklyn the way I do. I can't even bring myself to talk about the Yankees I am so distraught.
You can only go on and try to carry on and drop the things that have changed beyond redemption. Nothing ever gets resolved. Nothing ever gets better. The dystopian horror that I read about in so many science fiction stories seems to be upon us. Nothing anyone is doing seems to make it betterr.
It's like putting out fires with gasoline.

Enlarge Image

Wednesday, August 19, 2020


Natasha in her primal state!

Pussy Power!

Fore-edge Paintings

Sometimes a video is worth a couple of hundred words. Click the YouTube above to see what a fore-edge painting is. It's only 33 seconds.

Neat, huh? Here's a longer video (4:19), showing ten very nice examples, including one with both the fore- and bottom-edge painted:

These books are not common, of course, but they're not as rare as you might think. Artists are still creating them today. Prices at ebay and Abebooks are typically in the hundreds of dollars.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Who Goes Karen?

I've mentioned the essay, Who Goes Nazi?, here and elsewhere on several occasions.

Doxxing, the knockout game, various ambushes and assassination attempts have become part of the tolerant peaceful Left's stock in trade, much like the SA was to the Nazis.

What we have now is an escalation in violence, particularly assaults, arson, looting, and murder. And it's very hard to buy the idea it's all random; there is no plan to it.

One thing most people have never heard is that the Gestapo was a very small agency, not a lot of guys in black leather trench coats skulking in the shadows. What the Gestapo had was informers, by the thousand; people who would turn their own mother in if they thought it would do them some good.

And that's where we seem to be going, at least in the Blue Zone, nowadays. The people (there are, sort of, men who do this, too) are known as Karens and you get the feeling they would send you to Dachau-on-the-Brazos without turning a hair.

Because they are right. They used to call themselves right-thinking people back in the 60s when they lived in places like Scarsdale. They are doing the work the government can't and know they are right because their intentions are right.

The Karens will drop a dime on anybody not wearing a mask or wearing  a bikini they think is inappropes. Sometimes they will throw hot coffee in your face for it. Sometimes they will harangue you like the harridans they are in front of God and everybody because you did something that traumatized their designer child.

The cost of this is considerable, as this vid which is making the rounds shows. Lost jobs, lost businesses, suicides because the governor or the mayor wants to impose his will on the serfs. The Karens don't care. They are right. But the people on the other side are getting fed up.

This is not a new issue. It goes back to the early days of the Vietnam War. They set themselves up as the arbiters of Right and only they could be in the right. So the grandchildren of the hippies who called Vietnam vets baby killers and told themselves they had the right to break what they considered unjust laws are just following what they learned around the Festivus tree.

The people who get hurt, of course, the no-collar, white-collar, blue-collar working stiffs who make the country go. They're the ones losing money, jobs, businesses, homes, even lives. The Left loves to whine about the working classes, a flexible definition if there ever was one, but everything they've done in the last 4 years has been against them. It's been a long time since anyone was on their side, he's the one fighting back.

Donald Trump may end up being the most consequential President since Andrew Jackson. He has inaugurated a second Era of the Common Man. It's why the Left hates him with such a murderous anger. It's why no overreaching of moral boundaries is too low to persecute his adherents.

The era of Karen means that some Americans have had to learn der Deutsch Blick, the German look, before speaking to ensure prying ears hear that All Lives Matter or social distancing is a crock. Others don't care. They aren't going to follow arbitrary rules made up simply to feed some politician's megalomania. America is still out there, standing tall. They refused to be forbidden from church or to go to their job. Some have been forced out. They are finding ways around it. When they can't, that's when the trouble really starts.

We know sports rating are terrible. People have found they can live without overpaid jerks telling them they're racist. Same with the movie business. There will be a big reckoning in the end.

Some of these issues are being fought in  the courts.

Some, I think. will be fought in the streets The Left asked for it.

More peeksures

 Pictures, I have many. Words - we'll see.


My dog Bou running this morning as the sun was rising:

She's moving, and I guess the idea is to indicate speed. My technique needs work.


My dog in the evening light, shot from a low angle, not a great picture, but I am trying different things:

Cars in the Peter Gunn show

The automobiles seen in the Peter Gunn series caught my eye. Without reading the credits I think the show was sponsored by the Chrysler corporation. All the trucks, cars, limos, and random cars on the streets, even the police cars are all Mopars. Case in point, this car was used in the episode "The Dirty Word" about a crooked private eye:

It is a 1958 Dodge Custom Royal Super D 500. The design flourishes provided by Virgil Exner are apparent all over the car, but even a portion of the front end reveals the excesses of the time - pointless geegaws and a filigreed design language that would make a Rococo interior decorator blush. I will leave it to the reader to discern which silly add-on was one too many. For me it is either the three verticals under the headlights or the doodad on top of the headlights. Also, just imagine how much chrome was used in the production of this land yacht! Mind boggling.

In the episode "Sisters of the Friendless" we see a car and driver I recognized immediately - the car was designed and built by Norm Grabowski and came to be known as The Kookie Kar after it was driven by Kookie on 77 Sunset Strip. But here it was in Peter Gunn, trying to run over a hapless hitchhiker:

You will notice that the door has been opened and allowed to flop up against the exhaust header. The car took a beating over the years and Norm was loathe to allow any actor to drive it.

Here is Norm behind the wheel, and you can see the Tiki-inspitred gear shift knob he carved. He originally carved a skull but the producers of the show thought that was a bit too much, so a Tiki it became.

More on Norm Grabowski. He was a pioneer post-war hotrodder and his work and designs influence builders up to this very day. There is a Prime show about his life and work entitled "The Car that Ate My Brain" and it is about a fellow who, to date, has built two replicas of the original Lightnin' Bug, which became the Kookie Kar and all the iterations thereof. Norm, an American original.

Whose that Merkel?

She was the only kraut who was worth a shit for the past thirty years. One sexy piece of work back in the day she starred in several great movies back in the 1980's. Mostly know for being a movie where she starred as a pussy person she is also known for her crazy Dad who was very wrathful all the time.

Whose that Merkel?

St Lucy with her eyeballs on a plate

Carroll Gardens is lousy with statues. One of the more famous one is of St Lucy with her eyeballs on the plate at the corner of my old block on Third Place. It is a memorial to Tuddi who was an old time resident who died many years ago.

What is interestting is you can see the bar in the background. Back in the day it used to be the Three Fours as the address is 444 Court St. Now it is a hipster bar called Abeline with a Western motif. It is run and patronized by hipsters. They had outside seating before the virus and the typical hipster drinker was a mom with a stroller and a dog attached getting their drink on in the middle of the day. The bar is always full of kids as these hipster parents don't want to lose out on their drinking so they bring their brats everywhere.

The other thing that is interesting is that the statue gets a lot of offerings. Not candles or cards or other tokens of respect. No cigarette butts  the the hipster scumbags toss on the floor. The owner of the building has to come clean it every day.

It is sick out there and getting sicker.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Holy Moses

A Catholic church in my neighborhood used to have a big statue of the Virgin Mary on a pedestal at the entrance to its main driveway, with a smaller statue of the church's patron saint kneeling in prayer in front of it. For the last few years the pedestal has been empty, I don't know why. Recently the little statue pictured above (it's no more than two feet high) appeared there.

It's obviously Moses -- note the tablets. But I've never seen a statue of an Old Testament figure in front of a Catholic church before; and it seems kind of wrong to have the saint praying to him. I guess it's a mystery, as the nuns in the movies say.

And anyway, to me that statue looks more like a fantasy-game wizard . . .

. . . than one of the Hebrew prophets.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

More lessons

When taking wildlife photographs try to frame your subject and get a clear picture of the animal's eyes:

The lecturer keeps stressing that you can take pictures right where you are - you don't have to travel to exotic locales. This mouse showed up in my house this morning. I have caught a mouse (the same one, or different ones, seven times this year). Is this a good picture? Meh - the eyeball is just outside the rule of thirds, there is a bit too much reflection off the plastic, but it tells the story of the constant battle for food between humans and rodents. Now pardon me while I go get treated for Hanta virus.

2020, Man! 

On another subject, back in January my car's odometer rolled over to 100,000 miles. I thought - well, that's interesting, and I expected to add another 3,000 miles, maybe more, like I do in an average year.

2020 had other plans for me. This afternoon, when I drove over to where I take my dog for walkies I took another picture of the odometer:

So between January and August I have driven a total of 819 miles. I am a regular freakin' road warrior, I'm tellin' ya. I don't know whether I should laugh or get depressed or just chalk this up to a watershed year wherein things change. I am going with the latter, for now.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Election Anagrams

I Shred Brain

The Wordplays site has an anagram generator that does all the work for you.

Biden-Harris: I Shred Brain

Trump-Pence: Men Crept Up

Joe Biden: I Need Job

Donald Trump: Old Damp Turn

Mike Pence: Pink Emcee

Kamala Harris: Malaria Shark

Friday, August 14, 2020

This evening's photo essay

 I found the gear wheel on the cell phone camera, there are not a lot of adjustments available, but I took these pictures with the low light setting on.

By getting in close to the subject I was able to make the background fade away.

That is a closeup of a router bit I use to flatten wide boards on my CNC. The cutters are four sided carbide inserts that you can rotate when one edge gets dull. They were dull, so I took the bit off the machine and rotated the inserts. I had never noticed the dot in the upper left - how about that - you can keep track of where you were and where you are going.

The cutters are held in place with a hexalobular recessed screws (yeah, I know, but I like the word hexalobular).

This is an overhead view of the bit and the driver they provided to remove and install the cutters. 

The bit is close to 3" in diameter and makes fast work of flattening boards that are too wide to run through the planer.

Here is a piece of red oak I sawed out of a huge tree a while back. The streaks are burn marks left by dull cutters.

Here is the same slab after I milled it down from roughly 3" thick to a finished 1-1/2" board with parallel faces:

I poured some water on it to show what it might look like once it is finished. It is 24" wide at its widest and 36" long. 

And just because this post is about pictures, here is the obligatory cat picture:

I took that picture before I started watching the photography class and now I see what I would have done differently. That's the idea, right?

The sky this evening. Dude has not covered landscape or sky pictures yet. I have much to learn.

Thursday, August 13, 2020


I have been watching a show on how to take better pictures. The instructor is a professional photographer and the gear he carries around costs more than I paid for my house. I use my cell phone. But at least I now know what some of the adjustments on the control screen on the phone mean. 

In the past I have used a Kodak 616 bellows camera, I liked that one, a Pentax K1000 SLR, that served me well for many years, a couple of early digital cameras, they were pretty much disappointments, so for now, the camera in my phone is the sum total of my camera gear. I am cheap so that is unlikely to change.

In addition to the settings on digital SLRs, dude also teaches about composition, lighting, the rule of thirds, framing and a lot of other important stuff. I kind of knew a bit of it, but he really makes you stop and look at, and moreover, critique your own pictures. 

I will post a few that I have taken in my house - all of them are bad, some are terrible, a couple are slightly less bad. I am using my pets for subjects and they hate having their pictures taken (or made, to use the local vernacular).

I took this picture this morning - the assignment was to use ambient light then add artificial light. You can see the difference in color and how the shadows are filled differently. Ignore the cat, she wants to bite your face off.

Next up, same cat, in natural overcast light, shot from a low angle. Cluttered background, bad composition, but nice soft light.

My twenty year old cat - better composition, the line in the upholstery leads to his face and eyes, but the picture is out of focus so there you go.

Same cat, ready for his wall-eyed closeup. Not a sharp picture, but I like the subject.

Here is a more traditional, for me, picture. I was walking out to the shop and saw a rainbow in what appeared to be a clear sky:

I thought that was interesting.

I have a ton of other pictures, but I will leave you with this one, tonight's sunset:

One more note - I am anti-mask. If everyone in a place is wearing a face diaper then why should I? That's a rhetorical question, but today I was in a place that required that I wear a mask. I hung it over one ear. No, no sir, you must put it on your face. I applied it like a chin strap. Try and make me wear one and it will end badly. Woman saw what she was up against and left the room. I placed the mask on the desk and proceeded to complete my transaction. After six months of a two week lockdown I am over it.