Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Make Them Die

Jesus. Here's a link to a YouTube video. I watched about 3 seconds and I want to kill people. This is horrible.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mind the Fence

Can I just say, in advance, "OWWWWWW!"

That is all.

Brush-tailed Possum, Dee Why, Sydney, Oz, October, 2006.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Then and Now: The Photography of Irina Werning

Saw this on Roger Ebert's Twitter feed: Back to the Future:

I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today... A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.

Laughing Kookaburra

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Sayings…Reconsidered: "A Stitch in Time..."

“A stitch in time saves 9.” A wise English person first said that a long, long time ago.

“A stitch in time saves 9.”

It’s like time is this gigantic piece of fabric—and it has a hole in it. Worse: 9 is gonna fall through the hole unless it gets stitched up. Hence “A stitch in time saves 9.” You get it?

The Naked Eye

I was in science class one day when I was a kid. The teacher was teaching us about atoms. At one point he said that atoms were "invisible to the naked eye." I thought about that real hard for a long time. "Invisible to the naked eye." When when I got home I told my mom that I really wanted to see some atoms, but I couldn't because I had "naked eyes." Mom, she was so thoughtful, she went right to her sewing machine, and in no time at all she had made me some eye-clothes. Little tiny eye-pants, little eye-shirts, little eye-socks and eye-shoes. There were even little eye-hats! Before school the next morning, Mom helped me tape my eye-clothes to my face. It was so cool. I never did get to see those atoms though, because on the way to school I got hit by a truck.

You might not be able to see atoms with the naked eye, but I’m pretty sure I would have seen that truck.

How to Barbecue Cockatoo

Shrimps on the barbie is for wusses

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stupor Moon

One and just one shot of the March 2011 full moon that made many, many people dumber than usual, with ringing and witty commentary.

Feast your eyes on this brooding number, for which I chose a cottony, hazy quality I like to call "eight-seconds exposure and crop the holy hell out of it." (Click to en-huge-en.)

Brings to mind some of Rembrandt''s darker work, doesn't it? I mean if Rembrandt were a lot more dull than he actually was, and only painted while tremendously drunk, and after repeatedly bashing himself in the face with a hammer, it does—doesn't it? Hmm?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Invasion of the Cockatoos [updtd]

So we're sitting on the veranda after a fine dinner from Christine of lamb chops and mashed pataters and salad with blue brie cheese from Tasmania and walnuts when sulphur-crested cockatoos, one at a time, began landing on the tall, gangly antenna two buildings over. Christine snapped a picture (as always, click pix to enlarge):

More and more of them landed. And they stared at us. They just stared.

I said, "Maybe they smelled the lamb chops." Just joking, you know: Cockatoos eat seeds, berries, nuts, some insects - that sort of thing.

But maybe it was true.

Christine went and got some bread, came back out to the veranda, held a piece up, and, like it was the signal they'd been waiting for, the cockatoos instantly jumped from the antenna, disappeared for a second behind the roofline you can see in that first shot, swooped back over it—and came flying all big-winged right to us and the railing of our veranda. Ho-lee shee-ite. What follows is cockatoo madness.

Profanity Warning: This video starts with "Holy crap!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Google Starry Night Gadget

I just remembered that I had this at my old blog, and just used it to identify the enormous star low to the east at dawn - Venus . It's a very cool tool: Knows where you are; you may have to enter the time; and it displays the sky as seen from your location; and it identifies constellations and stars for you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

RIP Rick Martin (of the French Connection)

That's the French Connection of 1970s American hockey fame. Martin was the left winger in a Buffalo Sabres line that included René Robert and Gil Perreault, all of them high up on my list of childhood heroes in my Buffalo.

Tawny Frogmouth

I came to Australia for the first time in 2006, with Christine. Walking through the suburbs of Sydney one night on that trip I heard this "ooo ooo ooo" sound:

Too dark to see, I flipped open the flash, pointed the camera at the sound, and snapped. And got what has to be the luckiest shot of my life:

It was a Tawny Frogmouth, probably about 16 inches from tip of the tail to head. They're owl-like—but they are not owls, nor are they closely related to them.

Here's a closer look:

More here. And more images of the messy-faced Frogmouth here.

• Fromouths are classified as belonging to the order Caprimulgiformes. The name means "goat-sucker," because of the mistaken belief long ago that another bird in the order, the nightjar, sucked milk from female goats.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nuke Plant Info via Mother Jones, More [updtd]

Good thread going on here. That one has stopped now so go here. (Change made April 5.)

Inside the core.

Skepchick talks to her dad, a nuclear engineer. Audio. (First minutes are biographical, then a simple explanation of what a nuke plant is, then they get to the Fukushima plant.)

All Things Nuclear. (Recommended by this scientist.)

Update: Seemingly very knowledgeable person here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan's Nuke Plant [updtd]

This is a pretty dire look at the situation. Let's hope it's overblown.

It all seems built around the lack of  electricity. I don't see why they couldn't get replacement generators in there pretty quick.

Update: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Old Sayings…Reconsidered: "The Darkest Hour..."

We continue now with "Old Sayings…Reconsidered":
Timothy thought about that old saying, "The darkest hour is just before the dawn." He had been trapped in his sensory deprivation unit in his Upper West Side apartment for three days now. Something had gone wrong with the latch. 
Worse: there was no light. He couldn't see his own hands in front of his face. 
"The darkest hour is just before the dawn," he thought, over and over again.
 After five days Timothy imagined he heard a rooster crowing. Then he died.

Old Sayings…Reconsidered: "I'm Rubber and You're Glue..."

‎"I'm rubber and you're glue: whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you."

This actually works pretty well…until the acid wears off. Then you're pretty much just as vulnerable to insults as the rest of us.

Old Sayings…Reconsidered: "Time Heals All Wounds"

I had a great-uncle who used to say that a lot. "Time heals all wounds." Until he fell down the back steps of his house and broke both his hips when he was 92. His body wasn't discovered for six days. His wristwatch had bite marks on it.

This has been another episode of "Old Sayings…Reconsidered."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something Bit Me in Bed Last Night

No, that's not the title of my latest country song, it's a too-true story with a happy, if a bit disgusting, end.

I woke up last night to a slight stinging sensation right about in the center of my back. I then felt the unmistakable, almost not there—but definitely there—feeling of tiny legs crawling slowly on my skin.

I live in Australia now, as you may have noticed from the title of this blog and whatnot.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Australia Reptile Park

I hate and love zoos. Some I just hate, I guess. But many are very good at what zoos are supposed to be good at: fascinating humans while educating them about animals while being exceptionally mindful of the care of those animals. On that note, Christine and I went for a drive up north yesterday and came across the Australia Reptile Park. We were tired of driving and said What the hell and paid the $24 (!) to get in.

We will be going back. Possibly to work as volunteers.

First, a sign we saw in the park, helpfully illustrating the life cycle of the tasmanian devil (click to enlarge):

In case you didn't get that, kids: