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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday reflections

It's maybe cheating a little to call this a reflection shot, but too bad -- I'm on vacation.

This is the early evening view along the water in Sunriver, Oregon, yesterday evening. The journey here was mercifully hassle-free, except for the getting up at 4:30 in the morning part. The air was thick with wildfire smoke in the afternoon, but did clear, as you can see.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Urban poetry

If you're really, really, desperate for cash (perhaps because someone is pointing a weapon at you) here's a convenient ATM on one of the not-quite gentrified streets of Hell's Kitchen.

I'm leaving at dawn tomorrow (assuming I remember to bring my wallet this time) for Oregon and a weekend of eclipse-related activities, followed by some time relaxing with friends in California.

Blogging will probably be sporadic until I'm home again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Cassini is coming to the end of its mission around Saturn after thirteen years, but continues to transmit spectacular images.

Here's a closeup of a ring, showing density waves caused by the gravity of one of the many small moons.

Image Credit and License: NASA/JPL/SSI; Digital Composite : Emily Lakdawalla (Planetary Society)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

Wikipedia informs me that “a mustering of storks” is the correct collective noun, but these painted storks in Keoladeo National Park don't appear to be up for mustering anything much.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Palate cleanser

In case you ignored my warning about the cake song and are now stuck in a loop of singing to yourself about birds like tender babies in your hands, here's the song that finally supplanted it in my stubborn brain.

Here we are now, entertain us.

You're welcome.

Saturday reflections

A monster face smiles benignly out at the streets of Providence. This is the window at Big Nazo, a puppet-making and performing collective.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Regarding the earworm

Why is it usually the worst songs, the songs you really hate, that get stuck in an endless loop in your brain?

This all started with Glen Campbell. When I read about his death this week, I thought about songs of his that I'd liked -- this is a clip of my favorite, Gentle on My Mind, with a smokin' guitar solo that demonstrates why, before the corny TV show and string of soft-rock hits, he'd been a well-known session guitarist, and had briefly replaced Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys.

But this isn't the song that got stuck in my brain. Thinking of Glen Campbell made me think of Jimmy Webb, the man who wrote many of his hits: Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Galveston.

And who also wrote what I personally believe (and I am not alone) is the worst song ever written -- MacArthur Park. So, of course, that's the song that's been on endless replay ever since I made the mistake of remembering its existence.

Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with it. My mother, although an admirable woman in many ways, had a fatal weakness for both Irish actors and variety show-type crooners and Richard Harris was both. He recorded many excruciating songs, all of which my mom repeatedly inflicted on the family throughout the late Sixties -- early Seventies, but for sheer awfulness I contend nothing in recording history comes close to MacArthur Park (and I once owned an album called Hugo Montenegro's Dawn of Dylan that made people run screaming from the room.)

Everyone remembers the cake out in the rain, and how he'll never have the recipe again, oh noooooo...but that's not even the worst lyric. There's this, for one:

I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun

Huh? This is the lyric I've been especially stuck on, because I've been reading so much about eclipses and eye protection, but I still don't understand why he wants warm wine, or is trying to sneak peeks of the sun when his lover isn't looking.

But nothing tops this:

As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

You might be tempted to search it out and give it a listen to see if it could possibly be that bad, but I'm begging you: It is. Don't go there.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Urban poetry

The stern faces of plastic barriers on West 51st Street.

I know I haven't written much about the photos lately -- life, work, and a large volume of the usual crap -- but I leave on vacation the end of next week and hope to return relaxed, refreshed, and significantly more verbal.

With my bad luck streak of cancelled travel in the past year, I've been joking that I expect to get an email from God notifying me that, unfortunately, he's decided to call off the eclipse. The eclipse is still happening as far as I know, but the wildfires in Canada after the extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest have been covering the entire region with a thick layer of smog.

When I checked the forecast for Redmond, Oregon a couple of days ago, the current weather was listed as Smoke. (So apparently that's not limited to Jaipur.) It's clear again now, so fingers crossed that it stays that way until after August 21st. Mama wants to see that corona!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

This is spiral galaxy NGC 1512, which has two unusual rings. The one closer to the center of the galaxy is the bright blue characteristic of a star nursery. The gas and dust in the outer ring are pulled by gravity into the inner ring, where they fuel the baby stars.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Space Telescope

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

This lovely creature is an Indian pond heron, also known as a paddybird.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday reflections

Summer in the city: the tower of St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue reflected in nearby office towers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Urban poetry

That door looks as though it ought to be an exit, but there aren't any stairs, just that small balcony overlooking a rather grungy parking lot in Providence.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Now that's an aurora.

Christmas came early, in flashes of red and green, in the skies south of Australia in June, as captured from the International Space Station.

Image Credit: Jack Fischer, Expedition 52, NASA

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