A Room with a View

Even though I spend much of my day sitting at the computer gazing in despair at all of the continually horrifying headlines, I often end up turning instead to watch the various birds and squirrels enjoying our bird feeders.  Right now we just have two feeders:  one is set up about six or seven feet outside the computer room windows; the second is maybe fifteen to twenty feet beyond the first.  In addition, I sprinkle some seed under the feeders for the ground-feeding birds, plus I put a layer of seed on the bench on the back deck.

So far this season, the usual suspects have been hanging out each day:  cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees, titmice, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, blue jays, grackles, starlings, a family of groundhogs, and the ubiquitous gray squirrels.  In addition, we’ve had a couple of newcomers visiting recently – a male and a female turkey have wandered through separately, but only the female stopped to snack on the seed, and she’s come back more than once.  Red squirrels started encroaching on the gray squirrels’ territory last year, so I’m seeing a few of them in the last week or so.  And we’ve had another bird visiting that I’ve only seen once or twice before in my life, despite their supposedly being ‘common’ in our area: a rufous-sided towhee (aka ‘Eastern Towhee’), which looks like this:

I’ve been very pleased to see that, in addition to the smaller downy woodpeckers, a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers have become regular visitors, particularly enjoying ‘perching’ on the edge of the bench where the seed is easier to access than at the feeders.  A pair of them is shown in the brief video below – turn on the sound for both videos so that you can hear the birdcalls, most of which I’ve recognized for much of my life.

 

 

The few times we’ve been able to open the window, listening to the birds has been a distinct pleasure and distraction during this time of ‘shelter-at-home’.  And when I listen to them, I can’t help thinking about our dear departed friend Ebb (“ebb and flow”, “to ebb and flow”) and her love of all things “on the wing or under the sea.”  I miss her serene outlook, her insightful empathy, and her beautiful soul

This thread is dedicated to the memory of Ebb, whose spirit is flying free.

Open Thread – enjoy this little oasis whenever you need to.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 15th, 2017: Eve of Destruction? Enjoy the View

If we’re lucky, trump and/or Kim Jong-Un won’t blow up the planet this coming week. Unless something insane happens during the imminent fly-by of asteroid 2014 JO25, on April 19th, at a distance of 1.1 million miles, we could get through the week.

And if we’re really lucky and make it safely through these fucked-up times, and humankind is still around ten years from now, another asteroid will be visiting us at approximately 236,000 miles, about the same distance away as our moon. If the scientists are off a bit in their calculations, who knows, perhaps 1999 AN10 will be merciful and finish us off.

In the meantime, enjoy these glorious pictures of a wide variety of places on this planet we call home.

This is our Open Thread-say anything.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday, August 30th, 2016: “Invest in Beauty”

I was going to tell a dreary tale – about a disturbing conversation I had with a customer who, somewhere in the discussion of her foot problems, managed to bring up Trump and her buzzword-laden approval of him – for today’s post. Instead, thanks to two Zoosters’ comments from yesterday’s thread, here’s some cat stuff.

In yesterday’s comments, pete contributed the following:

“I have often thought that the world would be a better place if evolution had just stopped after cats; large and small. Sure. They are vicious predators with a complete absence of mercy but they are also graceful, intelligent, and have a fantastic sense of humor.”

Not much later, fatherbob posted a link to an article about a lost cat being found next to its “missing cat” poster. The same site had another article about professional photographer Robert Sijka’s photos of “Bearded Cats”, aka Maine Coons; the article includes a brief gallery of glorious creatures, and a link to more. You HAVE to check them out.  As the author of the article says:

“Maine Coons are the largest domesticated felines in the world, able to grow up to four feet in length. The breed is characterised by their gentle nature and their fabulous fur, which can easily be mistaken for a scruffy beard.
Basically, they’re kinda like a lynx, except that they won’t try to kill you.”

Of course, Maine Coons start out all tiny and innocent-looking, like these:
MaineCoonsPictures-1024-768-Origami-MCO-f2203-photos-Ni794815Maine_Coon_cat_licking_its_paw_044972_But they eventually turn into the fiercely beautiful, majestic, dignified, imperial creatures that all cats innately are, regardless of size or fur length.
MaineCoonSilverTabbyMaine-Coon-Cat-6-1024x680There, that’s better than some scary Trump supporter, right?

Last week I ran across a quote on a greeting card that I’m compelled to share:

“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

This is our daily Open Thread. You know what to do.

Sunday Roast: Vivaldi Spring

Well, it’s acting like Spring more and more around here — gorgeous sunny days, rain, hail, overcast, wind, flowering trees, sneezing, more sun, more sneezing, etc — so I thought I’d post the definitive music of Vivaldi’s Spring.

Feel free to post your own Spring-ish music or photos in the comments section.

This is our daily open thread — What are you doing today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 27th, 2016: Antidote

I’ve been up all night wallowing in the dregs of American “humanity”, IOW, reading headlines and comments on various internet sites. Right now I don’t even want to think about what a despicable, bigoted, uncaring, brutish devolution of a formerly (somewhat) civilized society we’ve become.

So, since I’ve blown right through sunrise here in the east, missing it completely, I’m putting up someone else’s glorious and unusually-tinted sunrise photo as an antidote to the darkness in my mind and soul. I hope it soothes your souls, too.
Golden Sunrise

This is our daily Open Thread – talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 1st, 2016: Clouds and Cute Stuff

Let’s start this week with no mention of anyone in the (R) Kandidate Klown Kar, or crazy-assed snackless ‘militias’, or wacky Talibangelists (or Talibanjoists.) I’m going with Mother Nature today.

The Weather Channel has a recent piece about this ‘Hand of God’ cloud that appeared over Madeira, Portugal. To me, it looks more like the ‘Fist of god’, and I wonder at whom it’s being shaken. Is there some satanic evildoer on Madeira who is (using Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape voice) “…UP to something”?

(Photo Credit: Rogerio Pacheco, via TheWeatherChannel)

(Photo Credit: Rogerio Pacheco, via TheWeatherChannel)

Next, Lenticular Clouds ~
lenticular-clouds-andes
I know that we’ve covered lenticular clouds before, but take a look at some spectacular shots from (apparently) dedicated Russian photographer Vladimir Voychuk.

Now for some cuteness: Also from The Weather Channel, penguin chicks cuddling together against the cold.
EmperorPenguinChick

While we’re on the subject of penguins, here’s more wonderful shots of them, this time under the sea. The photos were taken by French photographer/diver Andre Voyer.
Emperor-Penguins-diving

And finally, cuteness that will make you squee.

"Hey, margay kitten, what big eyes for you...TA HAVE!"

“Hey, margay kitten, what big eyes for you…TA HAVE!”

This is our daily Open Thread–go ahead, start talking about something.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 25th, 2016: All-“Christian” Edition

Today’s offerings are from two sites whose only thing in common seems to be that they both have the word “Christian” in their names.

First, let’s look at a few things from the Christian Post website (the more ‘persecuted-RW-Christian’ site.)

The Christian Post has sent the 2016 Presidential candidates a list of 12 questions which they feel are most important for the candidates to answer. So far, only two Republican candidates, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, have responded.

Here’s Ben Carson’s responses, a few of which I’d like to comment upon:

2. What is marriage, and what should be the government’s interest and role in marriage?
Like many Christians, I believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman in the witness of God. The government’s interest and role in marriage should be to protect and sanctify this institution[emphasis mine] because it is the cornerstone of our society. Raising families with two parents is key to a child’s development, and marriage is a strong institution that solidifies this crucial social structure. Marriage combines the efforts of two people to provide for and raise children, and gives children two parental figures to love and care for them.

Okay – First, define “sanctify”. According to Wikipedia:

“Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.[1] “Sanctity” is an ancient concept widespread among religions. It is a gift given through the power of God to a person or thing which is then considered sacred or set apart in an official capacity within the religion, in general anything from a temple, to vessels, to days of the week, to a human believer who willingly accepts this gift can be sanctified. To sanctify is to literally “set apart for particular use in a special purpose or work and to make holy or sacred.”

So Carson believes that the U.S. Government has role in every citizen’s marriage, and that role is to make it “holy or sacred”? Does that make the U.S. Government a god?   Doesn’t that conflict with the Establishment Clause?  If Ben Carson believes that marriage is such a strong institution, why not rail against divorce? Christians get divorced at the same – or higher – rate as any other group, not to mention that divorce is said to be a big sin in the eyes of Jesus. If Jesus thought divorce was so wrong, but didn’t mention homosexuality, why can’t the “key” two-parents-must-raise-a-child be in a same-sex marriage?

10. What are your priorities related to both protecting the nation’s natural resources and using those resources to provide for the nation’s energy needs?

Energy is the life-blood that keeps our economy growing. It fuels the tractors that plow America’s fields. It powers the trucks, trains and planes that deliver American products. And it drives the American people in their everyday lives. If we want to return America to its former prosperity, we need to ensure that America’s energy grid is not only reliable, but affordable. That means looking into all potential energy sources to find the most efficient, most effective and more reliable energy grid possible.

We can’t afford to mandate unrealistic fuel standards or price-inflating renewable mandates. But as these energy sources compete head to head, technological advancements and innovations will help drop costs and raise efficiencies even further.

[and the money quote]

When it comes to the environment, we should be good stewards of God’s resources, but the best way to do that is through market-based mechanisms and private efforts, not via government edicts that destroy businesses and intrude into citizens’ lives.

Yeah, because I’m sure that “God” was thinking of “market-based mechanisms and private efforts” when he told mankind to be good stewards of Earth. And wasn’t Carson just talking about how “government” should have an “interest” and “a role” in a couple’s marriage, i.e., “intrud[ing] into citizens’ lives”, and very personally, I might add? But the “government” shouldn’t be involved in determining how the entire country uses its natural resources, because that would “intrud[e] into citizens’ lives”?  Carson has very mixed, and incorrect, notions of what government’s priorities should be.

12. What caused the Great Recession, and what should be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again?

A number of factors contributed to the global financial crisis, but what became clear was that when bankers engaged in highly leveraged financial bets, ordinary taxpayers ended up footing the bill for the big banks’ bailouts.

I believe that certain types of regulations are reasonable for regulating financial markets. For instance, Glass-Steagall was a reasonable piece of legislation after the 1929 stock market crash, and perhaps should be re-imposed in a modified form.

This does not mean that the regulations imposed after the financial crisis were appropriate. In fact, Dodd-Frank is a monstrosity that does not address the root cause of the crisis, imposes heavy burdens on community banks, severely limits the freedom of financial institution to engage in ordinary business and saps economic growth with restrictive government controls.

I believe that when such government regulations choke economic growth, it is the poor and the middle class that are hurt the most.

Carson (or whoever wrote his ‘responses’ for him) must have just skimmed the “U.S. Economic History, Late 20th – Early 21st Century” Cliff Notes(TM), latching on to just enough topical buzzwords and meaningless phrases to put together a few sentences. Too many points there to elaborate on, I’ll let you all pick them apart if you wish.

And here’s Carly Fiorina’s responses. I’m just going to comment on one of them.

10. What are your priorities related to both protecting the nation’s natural resources and using those resources to provide for the nation’s energy needs?

Fiorina: As president, I will ensure that the United States is the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century.

That means reinstating the Keystone XL Pipeline that President Obama rejected. It also means rolling back the regulations from this administration that limit our ability to find resources by imposing regulations on hydraulic fracturing and our ability to be energy independent by regulating drilling on federal lands. As president, I will make America an energy leader through technology and innovation.

No, no, no! Fiorina is just so wrong, it’s hard to believe that she could possibly be serious. Keystone XL, fracking, and drilling, and on OUR federal lands, no less? How does one become an “energy leader through technology and innovation” while relying solely on finite, filthy fossil fuels? Aaarrgghhh!

Let’s turn to the Christian Science Monitor for a few things that are more reality-based and inspiring.

First, I’m sure that you’re all aware by now that Earth may have a new neighbor, as astronomers announced the possibility of a hidden ninth planet.

The evidence for the existence of this “Planet Nine” is indirect at the moment; computer models suggest a big, undiscovered world has shaped the strange orbits of multiple objects in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune.

Next, we can once again thank the Hubble telescope and NASA for showing us the amazing beauty of space, in this article about the Trumpler 14 star cluster. Just don’t let Donald Trump know about Trumpler 14, he’ll probably think that (a) the star cluster is named for him, and (b) therefore he owns it.
Trumpler 14Source: Hubblesite.org

And finally, for our Zookeeper, here’s an article discussing why the zebra has stripes. While it appears that the idea that the striping is for camouflage may be incorrect, there is still no consensus on a proven biological reason.
brown striped zebra

This is our daily Open Thread–discuss whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 11th, 2016: Odds and Ends

Let’s start with some recent local news:

Woo-hoo!  New York State’s medical marijuana program is now open for business.  One of the new dispensaries is in White Plains, NY, about 40 minutes south of us.  I think I’ll email the story link to my doctor, who used to say that, if NYS ever legalizes pot, she’ll start her own business.  I realize that this isn’t the same as legalization, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

It was recently revealed that Donald Trump had wanted to ruin summer fun for thousands of local children.  It seems that, a few years back, The Donald had been interested in turning Playland Park in Rye, NY, into a residential development.  Now, a little explanation is in order:  when we were kids, the end of many a school year was celebrated with a class trip to Rye Playland–it was fairly close, fairly affordable, and in addition to the rides, it had a decent-sized beach on the Long Island Sound.  I feel safe in saying that at least 90% of kids who grew up within a 50-mile radius of Playland has been there more than once.  Not to mention that the park has been around since 1928.

Rye Playland DragonCoaster5I was horrified to read about Trump’s offer in our local Patch online news – losing Playland, a part of our childhood, would be sad enough, but losing it to Trump would have been so much worse.  Good thing Trump’s meeting with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to discuss the possible development came to nothing:

“I could just imagine the gates of Playland with a big ‘T’ on it, you know?” a chuckling Astorino  told The Journal News. “Trumpland.”

Exactly right, Mr. Astorino, and that would be SO wrong!

Next, a few pieces from The Weather Channel:

A traffic camera in Montreal caught a snowy owl in flight.  The gif below is comprised of four photos the camera took, which can be seen here in TWC’s article.

snowy-owlAlso from TWC for your viewing pleasure, here’s a series of photos entitled “Liquid Mountains”, by photographer Dave Sanford.  These are amazing shots of storm-tossed waves on Lake Erie–and take note of Sanford’s apt titles (shown above the upper left corner of the photos) for each of the shots.

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy, discuss, whatever!

 

 

 

Sunday Roast: Color

Jade 036

Jade 015

Photos by Zooey

Sometimes, the color of the ocean is unbelievable.  I was going through some old photos on my computer — these are from 2011 — and found these in a folder called “Jade.”

I’ve never seen the ocean look like this since then, and I feel lucky to have captured these photos that day.

This is our daily open thread — What’s your favorite color?  😉

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 23rd, 2015: NatGeo, Take Me Away!

I can’t deal with “Ugly Americans” [of course, “Ugly Americans” = “Republican Presidential Candidates and their Fans/Supporters”] anymore; we keep thinking, “How can these guys sink so low?”, then, the next hour or day or week, one or two or several of them come out with such outrageous shit that we really need a new word to define what circle of hell lies beyond “outrageous” or “horrific” or “despicable” or “abhorrent” or “inhuman” – sorry, I need more words!

And I’ve had it up to HERE with the holidays being turned into meaningless “shop-’til-you-drop” commercialism [how about if “Black Friday” could be turned into “Black Lives Matter Friday” – hell, make every day of the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday shopping season a day of protests]. So I’m going with some beautiful photos from National Geographic to start the week.

Here’s some pretty birds, from “A Flight of Birds”, a section of NatGeo’s Photo Ark, including a photo capturing the iridescent plumage of the Purple Glossy Starling, such as seen below,
purple_glossy_starling
and a more close-up shot of the Javan Rhinoceros Hornbill, like the one seen below:
javan rhinoceros Hornbill

And if you prefer a larger gallery for leisurely viewing, here’s more from NatGeo’s 2015 Photo Contest. The “Week 10” group includes a brooding sunset photo of Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland – here’s a chilly winter shot of the falls, just to start the calming process:
waterfall-godafoss-iceland

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy the views or rant away – or you can do both!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 29th, 2015: Let’s Get Away From It All

This ought to take your minds off of the insanity of the Republican “presidential hopefuls”, if only for a little while.

The Weather Channel has posted the finalists for its 2015 “It’s Amazing Out There” photo contest. So enjoy some cool photos and forget about Teh Stupid.

Here’s one of last year’s photo finalists, a cool shot taken by Dwayne Kear:
2014 Its Amazing Out There photo submitted by Dwayne Kear

So go ahead, refresh your sense of wonder at something other than jaw-dropping idiocy.

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy!

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 12th, 2015: Chuck Should Listen to George (Bonus: Birds!)

I started this post (a few days ago) thinking that I would rebut Senator Chuck Schumer’s reasoning, as reported in this NY Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, for his opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  But that would have taken too long and wouldn’t have been good for my mental and physical health.  Suffice it to say that Chuck’s ‘arguments’ against the deal are specious and unfounded, and the final quote in the article is, quite literally, nonsensical:  “To me, after 10 years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.”

Then I got distracted (once again) by President Washington’s Farewell Address, with his  warning against aligning the Nation with any particular nation(s) at the expense and enmity of any other nation(s), and at the expense of our country’s interests.  (If you’re interested, the pertinent discussion starts at “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”)  I wanted to scold Schumer with these two sections in particular:

“Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

~ and ~

“Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

Then, for a bit of crazy, there were a couple of stories on RightWingWatch about Michele Bachman “predictions” and/or supposed validation of previous “predictions.” 

Finally, I ran across something to wash the bad taste out of your minds: a story about birds from DailyKos.

This is our daily open thread, so talk about ‘such and stuff’ (as my mum used to say.)

Sunday Roast: Day trip

L1070424

The day started a bit hazy…but cleared up nicely.  My eldest likes to take the Otter Crest Loop byway, and in the few minutes it took to get there, the day became crystal clear.

L1070429

L1070435

L1070440

Photos by Zooey

So it was another beautiful day on the Oregon coast — and there were FAR too many people who agreed with me.

This is our daily open thread — Hey look!  I didn’t forget and posted on time!

Sunday Roast: Gravity Glue…again

“The Man” in Boulder was trying to mess with Michael Grab aka Gravity Glue guy, because stupid reasons, but the prosecuting attorney told those cops to piss off, which I like in a prosecutor.

If you go to Grab’s video list on YouTube, you’ll find all kinds of awesome balancing going on.

Is it just me, or does anyone else’s hands get super cold watching him convincing those stones to do what he wants them to do?  Brrrrr….

This is our daily open thread — Enjoy it while you can, cuz 2016 is coming…

Sunday Roast: Sea Lions Doing Sea Lion-y Stuff

Lounging...

Lounging…

Swimming...

Swimming…

Vocalizing...and more lounging...

Vocalizing…and more lounging…

Blowing bubbles...napping...maybe waving?

Blowing bubbles…napping…maybe waving?

Photos by Zooey

I definitely waved back, just in case.  😉

Sea Lions, I like ’em.  Some people hate ’em.  Whatareyagonnado?

This is our daily open thread — Get on with it!

Sunday Roast: Road Trip pics

Some sort of duck in a pond

Some sort of duck in a pond

Fields, farm & hills

Fields, farm & hills, Cougar Ridge area, ID

Awesome canoe sculpture, Lewiston, Idaho

Awesome canoe sculpture, Lewiston, Idaho

View of the rolling hills of the Palouse, from Steptoe Butte, WA

View of the rolling hills of the Palouse, from Steptoe Butte, WA

Dried thistles, Steptoe Butte, WA

Dried thistles, Steptoe Butte, WA

Basalt formation, Columbia River Gorge, Biggs, OR

Basalt formation, Columbia River Gorge, Biggs, OR

Photos by Zooey

So it was a good trip, with beautiful sunny days and cold nights, visits with friends and family, and lower gas prices than Oregon.  It’s the little things that count.  🙂

This is our daily open thread — Did you turn your clock back or forward?

Sunday Roast: Happy Birthday, Pale Blue Dot!

I’m only a day late, but it’s been 25 years (yesterday) since the famous photo was taken by Voyager 1.

I don’t know about all y’all, but every time I hear Carl Sagan talking about “the only home we’ve ever known,” I weep like a baby.  It’s so hopeful, but, at the same time, it’s a severe reality check.

This is our daily open thread — Remember, we’re all in this together.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 17th, 2015: Gud F*cking Gramer

Although, ages ago, in his “Ask The Grammar Guy” piece, Wayne had expertly covered these common grammar mistakes that make us cringe when we see them, here’s a pithy and profane way to remember the rules:

Fucking Grammar

Fucking Grammar

I realize that all of us here are well familiar with these rules, and are exceptional and eloquent writers who never make those mistakes (and we’re humble, too), so here’s a (very large:  300+ photos) photo gallery of “The Stunning Creatures of the White Sea.” The gallery was put together by Camille Mann and Edicio Martinez, and (as usual), is brought to you courtesy of the Weather Channel. Here’s just one of the unusual creatures:

 Coryphella verrucosa

Coryphella verrucosa

Enjoy!

This is our daily Open Thread, so talk about, you know, whatever…

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 8th, 2014: Keep Watching the Skies

I’m totally depressed.

My fucking Jets blew it yet again after raising my hopes.

This month is the tenth anniversary of my parents’ deaths, flashbacks started before Thanksgiving.

Our company’s holiday party is tonight, I dread going – I hate the fact that Adam is not here, flashbacks there, too.
.
I hate the “Holidays”.

This country is going crazy and descending into a chaos that could, IMO, result in a violent “civil” war.

I fucking HATE people.

So here’s a nice slideshow of 100 Hubble photos, courtesy of weather.com. At least the human mind brought us the Hubble to show us so many marvels. At this point, I feel that space is the only thing that holds promise and hope for the future. Hopefully some alien species will learn from our human fuck-ups.

Star V838 Monocerotis

Star V838 Monocerotis

This is our daily open thread – don’t mind me, just go ahead and talk about things.

Sunday Roast: Turbulence & Van Gogh

Wrap your head around this one!

Although it makes a weird sort of sense, to me anyway, that a mind in the midst of extreme suffering might perceive things in a different way than a calmer mind.  It is rather simplistic, but thinking about it that way feels good.

Let’s not neglect the gobbledygook math thing…on second thought, let’s do.

And now, a beautiful quote from one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor.

The Doctor:  Between you and me, in a hundred words, where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?

Curator:  Well… um… big question, but, to me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Can anyone doubt that Vincent van Gogh is my favorite artist?

This is our daily open thread — Get on with it.

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 29th, 2014: Intelligent Life…Please?

Although I’ve only been back online since the beginning of the weekend (my home computer crashed early last week, and access from the office was hit-or-miss, too), my search for intelligent life in American politics found little. So for today’s post I’m turning to the infinite wonder and majesty of “space, the final frontier”, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, there could be a civilization out there that isn’t aiming to destroy itself through its own arrogant stupidity.

The following are just a few of the more recent Hubble Deep-Space images from a photo gallery that I found at space.com:

"All-sky-view of Magellanic Stream"

“All-sky-view of Magellanic Stream”

"A Selection of Hubble's planetary nebulae"

“A Selection of Hubble’s planetary nebulae”

"...two galaxies interacting. NGC 2936, once a standard spiral galaxy, and NGC 2937, a smaller elliptical, bear a striking resemblance to a penguin guarding its egg."

“…two galaxies interacting. NGC 2936, once a standard spiral galaxy, and NGC 2937, a smaller elliptical, bear a striking resemblance to a penguin guarding its egg.”

This is our daily open thread – feel free to discuss intelligence, life, whatever you want.

The Watering Hole; Friday August 15 2014; Give Me An Inch, I’ll Take A Mile (maybe several)

It’s an axiom that’s as old as politics: give a political hack an inch and s/he’ll try take a mile. Sarah Palin, anyone? Steve King? Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? The hack list is, literally miles long, and it can wear one out just pondering it. 

Personally, I prefer that other world, the natural world ‘out there’ where in any crevice no matter how small or in any expanse no matter how large or how distant, there exists sufficient allure to captivate the soul and mind of the poet, the artist, the scientist, or even simply the curious. Consider, for example, the following small handful of photographs. Each is simply a fleeting moment’s capture of a split second of time, the content of a single point of ‘space’ ranging in size from a square inch or less to untold tens of thousands of miles. To some, photographs of the natural world are more than simply a graphic record; they are, in fact, a bit of poetry ohne worte, or poetry without words, and perhaps in that sense they stand as evidence that John Keats was absolutely correct when he noted that The poetry of earth is never dead.

Without further ado, a few moments of time, of space that happened to wander by in just the last few days.

Happy Little Bee in a White Rose

Happy Little Bee in a White Rose

Busy bugs on a wild sunflower

Three unrelated but Busy and Buzzy Bugs on/in a wild sunflower

'Insect Inside' his sunflower's dining room

‘Insect Inside’ his sunflower’s dining room

Aug. 11 2014 Full Moon at dawn's first light, 6:22AM

August 2014’s Full Moon at dawn’s first light, 6:22AM (MDT)

Aug. 11 2014 Full Moon about to set behind the Rocky Mtn. Front Range; 6:38AM

August 2014’s Full Moon about to set behind the Rocky Mtn. Front Range; 6:38AM MDT

Interesting to note that the amount of time captured in those five photos combined totals less than one second. The amount of captured ‘space’, meanwhile, ranges from a square inch or less in each of the flower/bug photos to the full moon’s visible surface area of a bit more than 8.5 million square miles. As for distance of the subject from the lens at the time the shutter was tripped, it ranges from two inches to 250,000 miles. Ah, the virtues of technology!

OK. Finally, and last but not least, a single (pictorial) summation of the entire of the Natural World’s opinion of the typical human’s anti-nature and pro-stupid mystique, all on full display within a square inch or two of the REAL world:

Unidentified bug MOONing the world from the SUNflower!

Unidentified bug MOONing the WORLD from his private Sunflower!

There you have it: one happy bug both summing up and ‘saluting’ — with total perfection — the nefariousness of the bulk of the earth’s human species. I suspect if he could put it all into words, he might express his thoughts and direct his worthy criticisms in much the same fashion as did William Wordsworth in his masterwork entitled Ode on Intimations of Immortality:

The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

The problem, of course, is that these days there are only a relatively small handful of humans with the ability to understand, much less feel any sense of lament. And sadly, not a damn one of them seems to be in much of a position to turn the tide away from destruction, away from greed, away from politics. Maybe if ‘they’ simply paused and took a look around? Nah. As John Ruskin so eloquently summed up the human condition a century or more ago,

“Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think,
but thousands can think for one who can SEE.”

Personally, I think I prefer the company of bugs, and flowers, mountains, the moon, and everything else ‘out there’ to politicians, and industrialists, and rich dudes, and stup . . . well, y’know.

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