Monday, January 29, 2007

I take that back.

I just found this sunset photo I forgot I'd even taken. It was taken a day before the other one. Like the other one, it is totally unaltered. Let's vote: Which one is better?

The 10th commenter wins a new car!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Best sunset ever

I snapped this early in 2005 during a brief trip to San Diego. It is looking from downtown toward Point Loma. I dont think I'd ever seen a sunset like this before or since. This digital photo is entirely unaltered: the scene just looked this way. Readers, when/where was the best sunset you ever saw?

Spam never sleeps.

While I wait to come up with idea for a real blog post, I checked the senders and titles of the spam that rolled in during just the last two days:

Donnie says "Thinking about you". (Well, maybe I'd rather have heard from Marie instead)

Hallie B. Herrera asks "For Kidney" (Sorry, I don't have any to spare... and Miss Berry, when did you get married again?)

Edna Gill proclaims "I Imperial" (Well, you may be the empress of something, but it isn't grammar)

Heath Gibbons announces some joyful news in the Addams Family: "It It Twins"

Keva asks "Happy with yourself?"

Yes, I guess so.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You know you're from Michigan when...

This has been kicking around for years in different forms, before blogging and maybe even before the Web came about.:

You know you're from Michigan when...
.... you define Summer as three months of bad sledding
.... you have ever gotten frostbitten and sunburned in the same week
.... you can identify an Ohio accent
.... you point at the palm of your right hand when telling people where you grew up
.... octopus and hockey go together as naturally as hot dogs and baseball
.... traveling coast to coast means going from Port Huron to Muskegon
.... a Big Mac is something you can drive across
.... you have no problem spelling Mackinac Island
.... you have as many Canadian coins in your pockets as American ones
.... you know that a place called "Kalamazoo" really exists
.... you bake with "soda" and drink "pop"
.... you don't have a coughing fit from one sip of Vernor's
.... you know what a Vernor's is
.... you know WHY Paradise is colder than Hell
.... your car rusts out before the brakes wear out
.... if you think of Indiana as the South
.... half of the change in your pocket is Canadian.
.... you know that Pontiac and Cadillac are cities (and people!) as well as cars
.... you can travel through Detroit and not get mugged
.... your idea of reaching Climax is driving just past Kalamazoo.

Any such lists for other states?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A very nice river photo in Montana

I took this photo from near the mouth of the Lewis and Clark Cave in Montana a few years ago. I don't think I'd bothered to look at it until yesterday, when I noticed "that is one of the nicest landscape snapshots I've ever taken". I figured I would share it. Just a nice photo, that's all. Make sure to click and blow it up.

Sinclair Sign, Somewhere in Idaho

I snapped this picture somewhere in Idaho a few years ago. I think it was near the nuclear section of Idaho, but I didn't think to on the look-out for radioactive brontosaurs. I tend to stop at Sinclair stations when I can, because they seem to be so rare, I always liked the dinosaur, and I have memories of my dad getting green plastic dino toys when he'd fill up the car at one.
Here's a rather specific question. Sinclair Gas Stations. Does anyone see them anymore? Does anyone remember them anymore?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Meerkat at San Diego Zoo (2006)

This is probably the best of the meerkat photos. The bright sun and shade did not make for the best lighting for photography. The San Diego Zoo has several tiny meerkat compounds scattered all over. You can watch them for hours. They look so wise and polite, but I think they are just some kind of weasel.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another source of news

I checked my spam box at my email account and realized that I don't have to go to or the Drudge report to find out what the current news is. All I need to do is look at spam titles. These are the real examples I have sitting there in the spam box right now:

"Russian missile shot down Chinese satellite."
"Chinese missile shot down Russian satellite."
"Russian missile shot down Chinese aircraft."

Yes, these three different spam titles might lead one to believe that the Bear and the Dragon are completely at each other's throats now. World War III is on and the only people kind enough to tell us are the ones who are trying to sell us bogus v1ARGA and OX1C1tIn via email. Does anyone have a spare bomb shelter for sale?

"My Viewpoint"

Ah. news-by-spam even has an editorial page.

"Illiterate Espionage"

I would suppose that the people of "Hey, I Can't Spell My Own Country Name" (perhaps Uzbekistan or Myanmar?) have launched intelligence operations against their bitter foes at the library and the bookstore.

"My Terrorist"

I'm really not sure what this means. Perhaps someone has claimed ownership of Osama.

"Still down and tired"

This admission came from a spammer named Soledad. This is the only spam in the bunch where the name corresponds to that of a major network news anchor: Soledad O'Brien of CNN. It's nice when a major news anchor is really honest about how they feel. Imagine if Dan Rather signed off from CBS News saying "I've been up since 3 am and have a headache, and reading all this bad news to you has really made me sad, and now I'm going to bed" instead of saying "Courage".


What good is any well-rounded news report that doesn't include the weather? This weather report came from a spammer in Oregon. I'd better cancel that trip to Portland just to be safe. Or maybe I should cancel any trips to the AST time zone. Or why not both?


So what have you learned from spam?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blurred Sea Horse

Back to California, to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla.

Too bad this fellow is blurred. There are a couple of reasons: it's kind of hard to get a good focus on an aquarium photo, and the tail and the fin were moving. The fin on the back is always moving very fast: this is the propelling fin. I think this one was just a few inches long. They are always a lot of fun to watch.

Male seahorses experience pregnancy. Female seahorses do not.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Delaware by the Numbers

I've never been to Delaware, so this is a non-travel travelogue. I really know little about the place, other than that my parents visited it once or twice.

My father liked to play the lottery, and he had a certain set of numbers that he always played. For the sake of the story, I'll say these numbers are 4 8 5 16 23 42 (but I do not recall the actual numbers).

He played these numbers many times, but did not win anything. He played them at home, and he played them when he traveled. When in Delaware, he played the usual 4 8 5 16 23 42 one day, listened for the drawing that night, and found out he did not win (as usual). Then he left Delaware. After he got home, he found out that the Delaware lottery commission drew 4 8 5 16 23 42 the following night for that next day's game. This was the day after he left, and was thus a day he did not play. If only he had scheduled his trip to Delaware to be one day later. It was a multi-million dollar jackpot.

Any interesting lottery tales?

Delaware and lottery comments are welcome, but if you insist on talking about unrelated topics such as tangerines, Buicks, or Zimbabwe, or any other unrelated thing, such comments will also be welcome as well.

Travels in the States

In making this map, I realize that I have been to a lot of states. I've been to the blueish-purple ones. The ones in pink (including tiny Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware) are the ones I have not been to. The rest of the dark-blue states, I've been to enough to say that I've experienced them.

I've been to the two remaining lighter-colored states, Texas and California, but in the case of Texas, I have really only experienced El Paso, and in the case of California, I have only experienced LA and San Diego (which leaves out all of Northern California and the interior). Hopefully I will rectify this some day. Based on past experience and certain laws of geography, I can imagine that the rest of California might be like a cross between LA and Oregon; and the rest of Texas might be a cross between Oklahoma and New Mexico. I might possibly have been in Kansas, but just do not remember it at all. I always wanted to go to Rhode Island more than most of the other states I have gone to, but I still have not made it there.

I really don't have a burning desire to go to Connecticut and Deleware, however, unless something or someone really sells me on them.

Friday, January 19, 2007


This is an introduction. I figured that it might come after a place holder, but most blogs I've seen don't even have one. For the time being, this will be some sort of photo-travel-blog. The photos will be untouched, with the only alterations being cropping and making them lighter or darker: no fancy photography, and no Photoshop tricks here.

I figured I'd add an introduction when I found a photo I'd taken of an actual (replica) Voyageur canoe resting a riverbank at a pioneer festival from back in 2003. While canoes do tip, for this one only the camera was tipped to make for a better view.

What of the Voyageurs? From L'Histoire des Voyageurs: "The French Voyageurs were an integral part of the fur trade in North America. The early explorers to reach the nouvelle monde (new world) were Jacques Cartier in 1534 and Samuel would later become the city of Québec at the narrowing of the St. Lawrence River (Québec means "narrowing of waters" in a Native American language)."

The use of the name, however, is intended to denote adventure. This blog will have little or nothing to do with the fur trade or even the French. There might be a little concerning Canada, and there will be much concerning the United States and even some coverage of Europe. Along the way, there will be comments that appear without the cruch of a photo. Paddle on...

An interesting tradition

From the Associated Press:

"For the 58th straight year, a mysterious visitor left birthday cognac and roses Friday at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, author of the macabre, and was watched by more onlookers than ever, a faithful viewer said."

(read more here)

Unfortunately, it looks like this is turning into a Baltimore's version of Punxatawny's Groundhog Day spectacle. However, it's good that some traditions remain relatively undisturbed in the age of paparazzi and tell-all web sites. Hopefully next year he'll avoid RFID or GPS trackers attached to his shoes during the visit, but it might just be a matter of time. Some mysteries should remain mysteries.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

There's some irony here

This marble statue of the legendary Greek hero Perseus has him displaying his grisly trophy: the head of Medusa Gorgon. Such creatures did not last long in the ancient Greece of legend: they had no endangered species act.

The mere act of looking directly upon Medusa would turn you into stone, so Perseus used a mirror to avoid this as he endeavored to cut her head off. He did avoid being turned into stone, didn't he?.

I broke my blog

I broke my blog trying to re-arrange thing and remove a spammer. Much was lost. Look for a lot of it to come back tonight, along with new adventurous photos.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Can you find the sea dragon? (September 2006)

Can you spot the sea-dragon (From the Birch Aquarium near San Diego).

Looking Few Good Blogs

The 'next blog" button at the top picks some sort of blog at random out of the vast Google Blogspot blogosphere and presents it. I've had trouble finding any fun, interesting and active blogs from doing this. Now I'll try hitting Next Blog on each page in succession until I find one that looks good, or I get to the tenth try, whichever comes first.

Let me see:
1) Junk spam lookup page...a dead end. Start over.
1) Spanish page with lookalike of singer Prince No thank you.
2) An art designer's page Looks nice enough, but there are zero comments, and I still do not know Spanish.
3) German game page Sorry, I do not know German either.
4) Foodie's Hope Nice photos of food, but no recipes or discussion. Next...
5) I STILL do not know Spanish. Next.
6) Better than the others, but still I will move on.
7) "Adding My Views to the Mix" Not bad at all. Not active enough yet, though. I will add a comment and keep an eye on it. However, much of it is political, and I just don't do politics.
8) Another Spanish one. I won't even link this.
9) Pretty good mountain bike/climbing page
10) And a second German one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Las Vegas Jellyfish (September 2003)

The mesmerising jellyfish tank at Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay casino.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Cats of Rome

This is one of the myriad feral/stray cats of Rome. Large numbers of them inhabit the Coliseum, the Palatine Hill, the Forum and other ruins and places in the city center. We were told that a charity feeds them lots of pasta, which might sound nice, but it does not meet a cat's nutritonal needs. I hope they add vitamins or protein or something similar.

The cats were not friendly. They tended to stay away by themselves. Astonishingly enough, there are estimated to be 300,000 feral cats in Rome living in over 2000 colonies (

You will see some of the other cats in later entries in this blog, but not all 300,000.

Friday, January 5, 2007

This is a place-holder.

This is a place-holder. I read on another blog something that made me think that all blogs were supposed to start with a place-holder that had nothing much in it. So here is the place-holder, better late than never.