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

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

I would put this image in the category of Things that don't seem like they could be real

It looks like a CGI creation, some artist's attempt to portray a newly-discovered space phenomenon the Starship Enterprise has sailed past while boldly going where no one has gone before, rather than something actually recorded by the Hubble.

But it is real, a closeup of a supernova remnant in the Cygnus Loop. The star in question died about 20,000 years ago, and this is part of the blast wave, still moving at 170 kilometers per second. 

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, W. Blair; Acknowledgement: Leo Shatz

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

You can see dinosaur ancestry in the scaly, clawed feet of birds -- close up they're quite terrifying.

But when I see a fledgling like this robin, whose neck feathers haven't all come in yet, I marvel yet again at what skinny necks they have, and the absurdity of the plump bodies supported on those spindly little legs.

Life is so fragile, and yet we persist.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Saturday reflections


An old image, from the days when I was recovering from my African virus and short walks around the neighborhood were all I could manage.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Urban poetry

 A kayaker enjoying the last days of summer by the USS Intrepid at Pier 86 on the Hudson.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


The weather had mercifully cooled down even before the welcome arrival of the equinox, but now it is officially Fall. Which, to be honest, is a lot like summer in that I'm mostly appreciating it from my apartment, but at least I can have the windows open and the air conditioning off.

I may not have seen many birds in my short visit to Central Park last weekend, but I did get to watch this squirrel rooting around in the tall grass under a tree, presumably to bury this fine nut he'd acquired.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

I've posted similar images in the past -- a Hubble deep space image being photo-bombed by nearby asteroids (well, a lot nearer to us than those galaxies) making joyful arcs in the skies.

So much universe.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and B. Sunnquist and J. Mack (STScI)
Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI) and the HFF Team

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday bird blogging


A downy woodpecker at the feeders in the Ramble last year.

I took advantage of the fall-like weather and walked up to Central Park this morning. I didn't get anywhere near the Ramble, and the only birds I saw were robins and sparrows, but it did my soul good to walk those familiar and much-loved paths.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday reflections

 A scratched-up, curvy car chassis turns a typical New York side street into an abstract.

I was lucky that I had so much homework to get through last night and today, so I couldn't let myself react to Justice Ginsburg's death and the unhappy implications. I'd rather remember that I was lucky enough to see her in action in 2014.  She seemed so frail to me then -- that she lived and continued to serve for another six years is proof of how very indomitable she was.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Life in the time of coronavirus

A sign from a building on 42nd Street -- I like the optimism describing the elevator etiquette as “Post Covid-19 Guidance.”

Because of course, we're not post anything. Things may not be as apocalyptic as they seemed in those dark days last spring, but nothing is even close to normal. None of my friends who still work in the corporate world will be returning to the office until sometime next year. Restaurants in New York City will soon allow indoor seating, but I won't be going. I can usually find decent toilet paper and paper towels in the supermarket, but I can't count on it, so when I see it, I buy it.

With the weather cooling off, walking around in a mask is much more comfortable, but so much of what I think of as the New Yorkness of my life here is gone. It's not just movies and museums and restaurants, though I miss them all desperately sometimes. It's hopping on a bus to go up to Central Park and look at birds, and grabbing a salad in the Whole Foods in Time Warner Center on the way home. It's spending an afternoon just wandering and taking pictures of people on the street, and stopping in a cafe for coffee and a brownie. It's finding a fun shop I'd never noticed before, or browsing in a bookstore, or noticing what had changed since the last time I walked down a particular block. And if you needed a bathroom, you could always duck into a hotel or a department store, or hail a cab and go home.

I can go out more now, but I've got an invisible tether keeping me close to home. And though I remind myself for the millionth time how lucky I am -- I'm not sick, I'm not being evicted, I'm not flooded out by a hurricane or choking on smoke under orange skies -- it does chafe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

This spectacular image of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades, shows not just the hot bright blue stars but the spooky gas filaments weaving around and through the cluster.

M. Messier logged this as number 45 in his catalog of Things That Are Not Comets, but he may have included it just to boost the number of items on his list, since even with the naked eye it's obvious that this is not a comet.

Image Credit and Copyright: Raul Villaverde Fraile

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday bird blogging


I heard a blue jay squawking in the trees this morning, but couldn't see it, so here's one that was a little more cooperative, posing on a path in Central Park.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Saturday reflections


I had three -- three! -- written assignments due today, so I am posting even later than usual. Homework does at least keep me from brooding over the wildfires rampaging in the West, the pandemic raging everywhere else, and the anxiety and nail-biting that even the briefest exposure to the news creates.

This car reflection seems quite appropriate to the topsy-turviness that is my brain.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Urban poetry

I was in too much of a hurry here, afraid the subject would get away, so it's a little overexposed. But I do love a fountain, especially when it's occupied by someone who's very wet and very happy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

This magnificent Hubble image shows two nebulae, NGC 2020 and NGC 2014, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way. It's a major star-forming region, as you can tell by all those bright blue baby stars.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday bird blogging

I think we'd all agree that 2020 has been a nonstop roller coaster and not the fun kind, where you scream and clutch the safety bar and immediately get in line again as soon as the ride is over. No, this year has been more like puking cotton candy and lemonade all over your best shirt then getting stuck on the tracks for an hour while a couple of Stephen King carnival clowns with pointed teeth wait for you down below.

So here's an appropriately strange creature for the times we're in -- a juvenile frigatebird on Genovesa, in the Galapagos, from 2013.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Saturday reflections

Here's some end-of-summer sizzle for your retinas -- a windshield reflection in a parking lot on West 43rd Street, solarized into bright abstraction.

It's a beautiful day here and I'm tempted to duck outside for a quick walk, but I have two short papers due at 6 pm and they're nowhere near finished.

Why oh why did I think that adding “homework” to a life that already has so many stupid restrictions was a good idea?

I jest of course. Mostly.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Urban poetry

The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Astronomy Tuesday

This odd abstract is a detailed look at a small piece of Mars from 250 kilometers up. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of sand dunes in 2014, when the sun was low on the horizon and lit up only the peaks of the dunes. The white is frost, creating what look like giant fingerprints on the red sands.

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

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