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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's a pretty galaxy to start off the (working) week -- number 101 in Messier's catalog, also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy.

Image Credit and Copyright: Laszlo Bagi

Monday, May 29, 2017

Urban poetry

I was going to save this for the end of the week, but what the hell, it's a holiday.

A very cool bike rack, just off North Rush Street.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Random things I managed to see in Chicago

Right up my alley

Two samples of the Chicago-style alleyway, one charming with painted brick, those wrought iron hanging lights and the city looming in the background, and the other more typical big-city grunge, with giant beer cans and a dumpster.

I could live here, definitely

And I'm equally sure I could never afford to.

This is East Bellevue Place, a street of charming houses just off Michigan Avenue. It was chilly and getting dark and I didn't stop to try to get decent pictures from the other side of the trees lining the street. But I would have loved to be going up those front steps and into the warm glow of that living room.

Sunday bird blogging

I saw this bird hopping in a gutter near the Natural History museum last weekend, and took its picture mostly because I couldn't figure out what it was.

Away from the park, New York birds are mostly limited to pigeons, house sparrows and starlings, all of which are quite distinctive. This was too small to be a pigeon and much too large to be a house sparrow, so it had to be a juvenile starling. I'd seen them before, but I'd forgotten how dull they are compared to the flashy adults.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

John Hancock Center

Another look at the tower disappearing into the mists.

Water Tower

North Michigan Avenue, in the gloaming.

Saturday reflections

The Burberry store on North Michigan Avenue, up the street from my hotel in Chicago.

It had been raining most of the day and I didn't get outside until evening, but the gloom just enhances these reflections. The building is so insanely shiny that it takes advantage of every photon of light aimed its way.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Urban poetry

Some of the Times Square costumed characters posing with a baby while the parents took pictures. I love the expression on the kid's face.

I was in Chicago for a conference this week, and I had intended to come up with something very Chicago-y for urban poetry day. But I had very little time to get outside and walk around -- once the sessions finished for the day I had to spend most of the evening answering email and doing my regular job -- and I've had no chance to look at the pictures I did take. 

I got in very late last night, after thunderstorms shut down La Guardia for most of yesterday. I sat around O'Hare for five hours before getting on the plane, then we sat at the gate for another two hours while we waited to find out if we'd be allowed to take off. (It wasn't just that no planes were being allowed to land there -- La Guardia usually shuts down at midnight and they had to get approvals to keep the airport open.) We finally got in around 3 am, and I've been cross-eyed from lack of sleep all day.

So Chicago can wait. In the meantime, here's a grumpy baby, brought to you by Grumpy Kathleen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

I've posted several amazing images from the Cassini mission to Saturn recently, but Jupiter has its own exploration going on, and the images from the Juno probe are also stunning.

This white spot is a massive storm in the planet's Southern Hemisphere, surrounded by thousands of miles of turbulent swirling cloud.

 Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

Forget the warblers -- for me the real sign of spring is when the redwing blackbirds show up. (Plus, I can actually identify redwings without a field guide, so I'm already inclined to like them.)

This isn't a perfect picture -- too much clutter in the way. But that's life, or my life, anyway.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday reflections

Because I haven't done a taillight in a long time.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Urban poetry

Okay, so this woman with bright red hair just happened to be standing in front of the red awnings of the Westway Diner on Ninth Avenue reading a book called Book of Dissent that happened to have a bright red jacket and -- I don't know. I feel as though she must have been posing for someone; it was all a little too perfect. Or maybe she was meeting a blind date and the book was how she was going to be recognized?

Anyway, she ended up posing for me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

I've seen a lot of galaxies, but I have to admit that this image just made my jaw drop. How lucky are we to live in such a splendid universe?

This is UGC 1810, which is in the process of colliding with a galactic neighbor. All the brouhaha has resulted in that striking ring of hot young blue stars around the more traditional spiral form; in another billion years or so, UGC 1810 will pull the kids into line, they'll cool down a little, and the galaxy will look more like a typical spiral.

I'm on jury duty, in Federal Court, so no electronic devices of any kind are allowed. I don't mind having to read a dead-tree book rather than my Kindle, but I do wish I could bring my camera or even my phone. The weather has been gorgeous, if windy, and I could have taken a hundred pictures of the skyline yesterday.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing and Copyright: Domingo Pestana

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Abstract in spring colors

It poured rain all day yesterday, and the paths in the park were still dripping this morning, with deep puddles and shallow streams running down every slope.

Here's the reflection of trees and sky on one of the wet paths.

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a house finch, looking vaguely disapproving of his surroundings. It's something about that big beak -- I think they may be physically incapable of appearing to have a good time.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday reflections

The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding. -- John Updike

Much as I love New York, there are other places, many of them, where I could live and be happy. But for the Updikeans among us, here's a whimsical tribute reflected in the windshield of a tour bus.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Urban poetry

Bicycles are automatically abstract. I love the way they paint the sidewalk in patterns of shadow on a sunny morning.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Well, this made me smile.

The big fuzzy white lights in the center of the picture, and the smaller, similar ones encircling it, are the Abell 370 galaxy cluster.

And the tiny bluish lights, some of them smashed flat or pulled into arcs, are galaxies behind Abell 370, so far away they wouldn't otherwise be seen. But the galaxy  cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying and distorting whatever's on the other side.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Jennifer Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

It may be gray and gloomy today, in the allegedly merry, merry month of May, but the warblers are passing through on their biannual migration vacations.

This pine warbler turned up a few weeks early, discovered the feeders in Central Park, and saw no reason to leave in a hurry.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday reflections

The Radio City sign reflected in a car window on West 51st Street.

Friday, May 5, 2017

More urban poetry

Because sometimes even Lady Liberty needs a little wardrobe adjustment.

Urban poetry

Liberty contemplates the implications of a recent phone conversation.

This is one of the characters who pose for pictures with tourists in Times Square.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Everything in the universe is moving -- expansion pulls it apart, gravity pulls it together. Galaxies may not technically dance, but they do spin.

This particular galaxy, UGC 12591, has the faster rotation rate yet measured, 480 kilometers per second, almost twice as fast as our own Milky Way. You go, girl!

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble

Monday, May 1, 2017

Welcome to the working week

A man selling balls in the plaza in front of the amphitheater in Amman. And more evidence that life in those scary Middle Eastern countries is often a lot like -- modern life anywhere. The father with the phone at his ear, the boys with their eyes, quite literally, on the ball.

This young man brought his own ball -- not as colorful maybe, but just as much fun to chase.

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