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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

The Spindle Galaxy lies about 50 million light years away, near the constellation Draco.

Because we're seeing it from the side, we miss all of the typical galactic detail and see only a line of dust and some bright blue young stars. But I love that even though the real beauties of this galaxy are reserved for those with better seats, that halo of light surrounding it is still worth looking at, and bright enough to earn it spot number 102 in Messier's catalog.

Image Credit and Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a different kind of masterpiece -- a male cardinal in Central Park.

And speaking of Art Deco

This screen features the most Art Deco fish imaginable. Those tails would make amazing gowns for an Erté illustration.

For gracious entertaining

This gorgeous coffee service is from 1958, but those angular handles give it an Art Deco flourish that I love.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

More Kirkland vignettes

That giant blue disk in the photo on the bottom right is a radio from the 1930's. I remember when audiophiles were competitive over who had the biggest stereo speakers -- now it's probably whose system is the tiniest -- but whoever owned that radio would win any competition.

Kirkland Museum

This is a kind of odd but wonderful museum, built around the work of Colorado artist Vance Kirkland and including his original (although relocated) studio, and many of his paintings, along with those of other Colorado artists.

The paintings adorn the walls of rooms full of mostly 20th century furniture, everything from Art Deco to mid-century to Pop Art, along with cases of ceramics and glassware. Everything is arranged in vignettes, with period lamps, phones and radios.

I loved the concept, but hated that they put the labels directly on the furniture. I confess to photoshopping the most irritating ones out.

Saturday reflections

There isn't really much of a reflection here, but it's abstract enough to pretend, and it's a segue into the final batch of pictures from Denver: an Art Deco tray and cocktail shakers at the Kirkland Museum.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Urban poetry

This patch of pink sidewalk near the Kirkland Museum in Denver looks like a piece of abstract art in its own right.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

This image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows one of the dark streaks seen on the Martian surface. Scientists aren't really sure what they are, but they do change with Martian seasons.

Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

I think that must be a dragonfly that this blackbird at Lily Lake is showing off so proudly (picture is unfortunately not as sharp as it could be.)

She was strutting back and forth, clearly very pleased with herself, but paused so I could offer my admiration and capture this permanent record of her hunting prowess.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Practical architecture

This is the bread and butter of Denver area buildings -- small, square, a little squat. Completely practical, and yet lovely in their own understated way -- yes, those are the windows in the reflections from last weekend.

(Sorry, I was sleepy last night and posted the wrong picture originally, in case you're wondering where the parking lot went.)

Denver architecture

Apart from some interesting ultramodern structures, like the art museum and the nearby library, and the typical glass boxes in the business district, there's a lot of red in Denver architecture. The building on the left is a former school, now being turned into apartments; on the right is Salvation Army headquarters.

Denver Art Museum

Saturday reflections

Rows of cowboy hats in a store window at the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Civic Center Park

This is adjacent to the State Capitol in downtown Denver.

As you can see, the skyline in the business district is not very inspiring; the glass towers are as generic as they come. More interesting is the view through the columns on the right: the skewed angles of the Denver Art Museum, which if not completely original was at least something fun and different.

Mostly what I remember is what a slog it was walking across that huge concrete plaza on a hot, hot day. Once I'd taken the pictures, I headed for the trees.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Urban poetry

I have nothing against cows, but I don't think of them as art, especially when Mama Cow is the size of a Manhattan apartment. Obviously they feel differently in Denver.

I have a raging sinus infection that presented as a toothache so bad I went to the dentist. Advil keeps the pain at a low throb, but I'm giving fair warning to anyone who approaches me today -- think very carefully about how stupid your question or request is before you ask it.

Because I might have a cow. And it would be a big one.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

This image reminds me of the Eye of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings movies. On the other hand, it also looks a lot like a flower. I think I prefer the flower -- let's go with that, shall we?

The Ring Nebula, M57, is about 2000 light years away. The image is a composite of deep exposures from three different large telescopes, which is why there's so much beautiful detail.

Image Credit: Hubble, Large Binocular Telescope, Subaru Telescope; Composition and Copyright: Robert Gendler

Monday, July 16, 2018

Denver in (mostly) black and white

And welcome to the working week.

I'll post more of the art and architecture in Denver this week; in the meantime, here are some random shots I just liked in black and white.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

It was early in the morning in Riverfront Park in Denver, and I heard birds rustling in the bushes so I wandered around trying to get a look at them, and then this guy flew out and paused to say hello.

And it was just a robin, of course. I'd been hoping for something a bit more unusual, but in birding, as in life, you get what you get.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bonus reflections

Another, closeup view of the reflected windows.

Saturday reflections

These charming windows in downtown Denver created equally charming reflections.

Friday, July 13, 2018

And speaking of ghosts...

Last stop on the way back to Denver was the Overlook, uh, Stanley Hotel, made famous by The Shining. I was not disappointed that there were no rivers of blood pouring out of the elevators, but these scraggly bushes  guarding the front of the hotel are a different story.

It's supposed to be a maze, but it seems to me that if you can see over the top of the hedges -- not to mention through them and between them -- it's not much of a puzzle.

Nor would it provide much of a hiding place if you were being chased by an ax-wielding failed writer driven mad by the evil spirits haunting the building, but presumably that's not one of the featured excursions on offer.

Lawn Lake

One last picture from Rocky Mountain National Park.

You're probably thinking Where's the lake? The original Lawn Lake died in a catastrophic dam failure in 1982, and this is its ghost, a jumble of rock and water fanning out over the valley. 

There is still an actual lake, in a much smaller form, up the mountain.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Urban poetry

These elaborate pipes outside a building in downtown Denver look surprisingly glamorous.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

This is M24, but unlike most of the items in M. Messier's catalog, it's not a nebula or a galaxy.

Instead it's a gap in the dark interstellar dust, through which the stars in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way are visible. So it appears to be a star cluster, but it's actually a window to something much larger -- thousands of stars, ten thousand light years away.

Image Credit and Copyright: Roberto Colombari

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pine beetle

Millions of acres of forest in Colorado have been ravaged by beetles -- it was dispiriting, to put it mildly, to see so many dead trees.

The beetles have no natural predators, but previously they've been held in check by prolonged cold weather. Now the winters aren't as cold as they used to be, and the beetles have been infesting the national park since 1996 -- one more consequence of climate change.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

More Forest Canyon Overlook


I took these pictures at the Forest Canyon Overlook. At about 11,700 feet, it's above the treeline, and there's only the wildflowers and slow-growing mosses and lichens of a tundra.

Lily Lake

A perfect mountain lake. There's a trail all the way around it so you can take a calming walk after fending off the chipmunks trying to steal your lunch.

Sunday bird blogging

I'm not certain, but I believe this is a female brewer's blackbird, singing her appreciation of the gorgeous day at Lily Lake.

The excursion was almost completely lacking in large animal sightings; our sole glimpse of Colorado's version of the Big Five -- bears, moose, elk, bighorn sheep and deer -- consisted of a couple of deer deep in the shadows of the trees. But if you liked smaller critters, Lily Lake was perfect. In addition to the chipmunks and the blackbirds, there were muskrats, snakes, salamanders, lots of birds and clouds of dragonflies. I've already seen all of the Big Five, but I'd never seen dragonflies in such brilliant colors, so I didn't really miss the bears.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday reflections

Here's one from Denver.

I hope to at least get the Rocky Mountain pictures up this weekend, but there is a longer than usual list of chores to get through, and top of the list is Take Several Naps, so we'll see.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Urban poetry

The fountains in front of Union Station on Sunday morning. It was very early -- not much past seven am -- and not that warm, but these kids wanted to get an early start on beating the heat.

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