I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday bird blogging

In a few more weeks, it will be new feathers and courtship clothes, but for now, we're all still bundled up for the winter.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday reflections

Fresh air!
Times Square!

They don't often coincide, but occasionally you can have both. This was a rainy evening earlier this week when I was walking downtown for a board meeting.

This part of Broadway has been a pedestrian mall for many years now, but it's usually full of vaguely sinister superhero and SpongeBob imitators who pose for pictures with the tourists and get annoyed if you don't tip them enough for the privilege.

It had been pouring all day though and all the fuzzy creatures and naked cowboys had scurried home, and there was no one in Times Square except for New Yorkers anxious to do the same.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Astronomy Tuesday

And speaking of Australia....

This otherwordly landscape beneath the literally otherworldly Milky Way is Nambung National Park, on the west coast near Perth, a good half continent away from the touristy east coast and central desert sites I'll be visiting in a few weeks. Those limestone pillars are called the Pinnacles, and they're the oddly eroded remains of ancient seabeds.

Image credit: Michael Goh

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday bird blogging

A female downy woodpecker, looking fierce.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday reflections

All things considered, this is not a bad winter. I think it's only the inescapable excruciating election that makes it seem so dreary.

I'd like to say that if Donald Trump won't go away, I will, but my first trip of the year -- a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand -- is still six interminable weeks away.

But I have guidebooks to go through and new bird names -- dusky gerygones, chiming wedgebills, pied currawongs, spangled drongos -- to smile at, and it will be here before I know it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Urban poetry

There is a door there, next to the bricks. I'd hate to be looking for it on a dark night after a couple of drinks.

This is an art collective on East 2nd Street, so that's not so much graffiti as a design choice, but it's still cool.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The slush pile

Here's a pretty abstract to start your day.

I've been submitting entries to juried photography shows, and so have been going through thousands of pictures, over and over again. Because photos in a show have to be large enough to be printed and hung, many of my favorite pictures aren't eligible because they're details I've cropped out of much larger images.

Or because, like this one, they didn't quite work. This is the sort of thing you need a tripod for -- taking a long exposure of moving water to get that feathery effect without having everything else blur as well. But I was in Inverness, and didn't have a tripod, and so this is what I got, blurred leaves and soft whirls and whorls of water.

But I like it anyway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Astronomy Tuesday

This star cluster has the not very romantic name R136, but it's located in the more colorfully named Tarantula nebula, in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The nebula is extremely bright; if it were as close to Earth as the Orion nebula, it would allegedly cast shadows, and much of its luminosity stems from this star cluster. You can tell from their bright blue color that these are young, huge, very very hot stars.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, & F. Paresce (INAF-IASF), R. O'Connell (U. Virginia), & the HST WFC3 Science Oversight Committee

Saturday, February 13, 2016


There's always something reassuring about patterns. If the second law of thermodynamics teaches us that, in our universe anyway, things always get messier, maybe creating order where we can is our natural way of fighting back. And so pattern pleases us.

This is temporary seating at Edinburgh Castle, I assume for the famous Military Tattoo, which took place a few weeks before I was there.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Urban poetry

There is always more than one way to go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's some color in the dreariness that is February. This is the Heart Nebula;  it vaguely (very vaguely) resembles a human heart. On the other hand, its companion in the upper right corner is called the Fishhead Nebula, and I can't quarrel with that.

Image Copyright: Simon Addis

Sunday, February 7, 2016


The no doubt carefully curated presentation of random junk in an Orchard Street shop window.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Orchard Street

I took a break from sorting and resizing photos to meet my friend Jayne for an early brunch at Cafe Katja on the Lower East Side. The neighborhood is a hipster paradise these days, but all the cool is a veneer over the very old wrought iron and brick bones.

For all the glossy super-high rises and luxury this and that everywhere, much of Manhattan still looks the way it did a century ago. For which I am profoundly grateful.

Saturday reflections

Rockefeller Center curving like a flag across a windshield on Sixth Avenue.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Astronomy Tuesday

This floating potato is called Prometheus, one of Saturn's smaller moons.

This is far from the most dramatic image that Cassini has sent back, but it's actually an interesting representation of just how damn complicated the universe is. That bright line in the background is the outermost distinct ring of Saturn, the F ring, and Prometheus actually carves channels in the ring when their orbits meet, stealing material, and there appear to be smaller, as yet undetected, moons inside the ring doing the same thing. Though the rings always look so lovely and serene in pictures, the F ring is quite active and changes visibly on a daily basis.

Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

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