Monday, November 30, 2015

South Taurids Meteor Shower

Went out to the Causeway in the wee hours of the morning last month to catch two things. One, the South Taurid meteor shower was scheduled to do whatever they do that morning. The second thing I wanted to capture was the planetary conjugation of the moon, Jupiter, Mars and Venus. In non-astronomical circles conjugation means clumped-together, in case you wanted to talk normal. I caught one, but the other was elusive.

That's Tampa over there and the Moon and Venus.  But if you look close enough... begin to see the other, more faint celestial bodies of Mars and Jupiter. This kind of outlay in the sky passes for some kind of whoopie, these days for an old guy with a camera in the dreaded bowels of Florida. As you can see I'm on a walking bridge that were I a bit more ambitious would take me all the way into the outskirts of the Dark City. But since there be Dragons there, I stay safely on the other side.

Actually, the walkway is pretty abandoned this time of night, although on this evening lovers came ambling along - oblivious to me and hand in hand. Was it the celestial show? Naw, just a couple love-bit fools taking a romantic stroll on a rather cool structure. One day, perhaps soon, I will walk the Causeway all the way. And when I do, I will report it to you, my little group of loyal readers.

We are now pointed toward the West.  From left to right, is Saint Petersburg, and then toward the right is Clearwater.  Where that large bunch of light is to the right of center is the airport. 

The other draw tonight, the annual South Taurid meteor shower, was a lot less spectacular than the planetary close dance happening to the East. The annual Taurid showers, North and South, was a dud. As usual I set up my camera and focused toward the point of origin, the constellation Taurid, to the West, and started taking 25 second exposures. Hundreds of them. Like around 300 of them. And nothing. Not a single meteor. But never fear, like a suitor that can't take no for an answer I will wait a few days and return to see the North Taurid meteor shower. Oh, no, you aren't done with this yet.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Wishing my friends and family a healthy, Happy Thanksgiving Day, wherever you are. Today I'll be in Emerald City in Northlandia with my brother, sis-in-law and her son.  It will be a different kind of day for me, my first without my immediate family since I had an immediate family.  It is liable to be a tough one for me. But if I must wallow in self-pity wallowing with the Wombie is the best medicine - and a reminder of things I am thankful for.  The rest of this post is one I did four years ago for Thanksgiving.  

Here are some early Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade pictures from the late 20's and early 30's.  Existing In BFE will return on Monday.

Here are a couple balloon pics from 1938, including the 120' Sea Serpent, Clown with 68' Nose, and Uncle Sam:

Below is an old photo of Felix the Cat and a couple other characters from 1932/33:

And some other balloons through the years.

Frankly, I haven't watched a Macy's Thanksgiving day parade since I was 12 or thereabouts.  I could always find something else more interesting and fun to do.  And if all else failed I could pound my twin brother into duck-addled sublivion for entertainment.  Now that was something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Boyd Hill - Part 2

My first trip to the nature world around here was fairly unspectacular.  A few days ago I showed you pictures of dragonflies that I took, but nothing more exotic.  That's the way it goes sometimes, gators are so finicky when it comes to humans with cameras. 

So I'm afraid there won't be too many exciting things to show you on the 2nd part of the trip.  That's when you walk out of the watery swamp areas and start on the solid ground part of the trip. Frankly the water areas are more exciting than the scrub brush.  If you see anything at all it will most likely be a buzzard circling overhead, lips wet with anticipation.  Maybe a stray turtle, but nothing neat like a snake or armadillo.    

Not too far from the water's edge I did see this clinging to the side of a small tree.  I don't have any idea what it is, but looks to be some sort of egg sac(s).  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits

Good news from my latest doctor's appointment.  My polyps are not growing at the moment, so the steroidal flushes are doing their job.  What all that means is that, for now, I am averting the allergy panels and 6 months of shots.  Woo Hoo! 


I am presently in Northlandia and you should know that posts may be non-existent some days. I am attempting to put these together with spitwads and duct tape.  Monthly dues will be gladly refunded.    


I wasn't here more than a day before we started to get reports of an impending blizzard.  I ran into old family friend Gary Greer from Seaton and he said he didn't think I was that stupid to come up here at this time. I think that was a compliment.  Hmmm?


Something I noticed right off was the continual political ads filtering over here from Iowa stations.  That's one thing we don't get down in Florida...yet.


I was expecting perhaps a bit more security at the airport but all they did was pat down my shoulders.  Why?  Not a clue. 


Lewis Black is wonderfully funny.


Five days into this trip and already I miss my Norah.


All indications point to an excellent viewing month for Comet Catalina.  Each day that goes by the comet will be in the eastern night sky before dawn.  I hope to have a picture of it by this time next week.  I am thinking that a place without any pollution whatsoever, like maybe Tybee Island would be a great place to see it.  Maybe I can get over there in January before it leaves.


Norah was sick last week so she stayed with me instead of going to school.  She sure seemed better.  Looked like one of my miraculous recoveries when I was a kid. 


That title is supposed to say Bug rather than Big.  Typos can start wars.  Anyway, this guy was walking along the railing at Norah's place.  Interesting looking little bastard.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Early Morning Meditations - Part 7

Next to last in a series of photographs taken waiting for barges in New Boston during the warm summer months.  I will try for some more pictures in the cold weather now covering the North.  Let's see if there is any Midwest Tough left in me.

The yellowish color is light pollution. I'm not sure which town or city it is, but if I scanned the camera further to the left (South) the light from Burlington would be visible.

The grain elevator is right next to the dock and that red glow is from a single red bulb. Since this is a timed picture it looks far more vibrant than it really is.  What is more fascinating to me is the number of stars out there than we can see by the naked eye.  The times aspect is able to catch many more stars.

That is a picture from the south end of he floating dock looking northward.  That is me standing on the dock.  

This is a pretty good idea of how dark it is out there at 3:00 am.  
With the sounds of wildlife across the water, which is amplified, along with the solitude, it can get a little creepy.  But it gives one time to think, to reflect.   

The first glimmer of a new day.  The stars begin to recede, light removes the mystery.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Flashback Friday

Looks like one of those casual, nonchalant but nevertheless posed photographs with no info whatsoever. I have said there are many secrets to be uncovered by any photograph. I thought that until I found this. It seems to have no mystery or secrets at all. Just a college kid in the living room of his home in Seaton. The only interesting aspect is the painting on the mantel. My memory weakens and I'm not sure where this came from. I want to think it had something to do with my then sometimes GF Pam Patterson. I'm thinking she may have given it to me but why, I simply don't remember. That is one of Marj's cool glassware items behind me on the mantel. It is summer.

I am wearing a watch which I started wearing at some point and have since given up with the advent of cell phones. The picture is a Polaroid. Who was the picture taker?

The expression is as close to Mona Lisa as I can get. It betrays nothing. It speaks silently. All it is is a second of time a long time ago, without embellishment, flourishes or any other aspect to denote what was going on with me. Not too much behind me - an awful lot left to go. I look at it with the vantage point of a lot behind me - not too much more to go. It is a bridge I can't travel except from afar.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Boyd Hill - Part 1

When the temperatures start moderating down here it is usually time to hit the nature trails. My personal favorites are Boyd Hill and Sawgrass. If you have followed this blog you have been there with me many times. Our visit today was a little different. Didn't see any gators this time, a rairity, but I did seem to see loads of dragonflies. And so oddly, those are the only featured critters today. I have a "Part 2" but today is all about those creatures that date back to the time of the dinosaurs.

I was fairly pleased with these shots - dragonflies aren't always the easist thing to photograph, but immensely easier than those damn fluttering butterflies. I no longer even try for those.

Dragonsflies are a pretty cool bug, as bugs go. Oh, and that last picture? Thats not a dragonfly. That is a damselfly. Same family, different body structure.  Now you know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How To Survive A World Series

It's all over. It wasn't as much fun as I had hoped because we didn't win it. But I had a blast. For a whole month I reveled in our success. This was my fifth World Series, having been there in '69, '73, '86, '00, and now '15. A lot better than the Cubs and no where near as good as the Cards. I'm not gloating nor rubbing it in, but simply explaining how damn important it is when you do get there. Here are some tips I have learned that may help you enjoy the Series, I'm talking to you Cub fans, when you reach playing ball games into November.

1. First, you need symbols and good luck charms that you use with each and every game. Above you see that I lit the palm tree before each game. It worked for the Dodger and it worked for eh Cubs so I kept it going through every inning of every match.

2. That brings up another important point. Watch each and every second of each and every game. It is so tough to get there you can't risk not watching it. Your team made it, now sit there and take it, win or lose. Besides, you never know when you'll ever get back.

3. You must dress for success. Here I am sporting the Mets jersey I've had for a few years now. It is important that while you are on a roll do not do anything with it. I had baby puke, wing grease, pizza toppings and who knows what else plopped, spit, or nosed bombed on to this jersey but I didn't wash it. I didn't want to wash off the luck.

4. Invite people over who share in your dream. Mackenzie and Brendan are Mets fans and made appearances through the month. Actually Kenzie was over every bight except one. Occasionally she lugged over her Cub fan of a husband. That didn't turn out to be as awkward as I thought. He was pretty quiet through most games.

Establish a routine, as silly or as serious as you wish, then stick with it. I took a shot of Rum Chata (something I first tasted on Tybee Island) before each game to brace myself for the upcoming drama.

And, food, of course. We became a virtual buffet of goodies during the games. Wal-Mart Bacon Supreme pizza a couple of games simply because it is easy, cheap and so darn good. Once we ordered wings from Mugs, just down the road. They are the biggest and best wings I've ever had.

On this night we combined pizza with some beef and chicken nachos from Cheddar's.  

And then it was over. An extra month's worth of games. The New York Mets pulled off an amazing season and fun post-season. I watched every second of it, ever mindful that at my age, I may never reach this pinnacle again. It is so damn hard to get there. Everything has to work out just right. So, for the next 12 months we will be the National League Champs. Wherever we play folks will have to say we are the best. There will be a pennant raising ceremony at Citi next Spring and then we will be off again for a hope-filled journey to the World Series. Even though we lost it was a damn fun experience and I recommend the tips I have relayed to make your experience even more enjoyable. Go Met's.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Taco Bell had a promotion that involved anyone stealing a base on a particular night. Someone did (Daniel Murphy) and so Taco Bell gave away a free breakfast wrap on November 7th. Yup, I walked over to the local TB and order one. All in all, the season was a great one.

My free taco Bell Country wrap.  

Just some other thoughts.

1.  We were as overmatched in the WS as the Cubs were in the NLCS.

2.  Once a team gets the Big Mo, its tough to change direction.

3.  Game four pregame panel included all American League ex-players.  And you could tell.  Speaking of pregame panel (Burkhart, Millar, ARod, Ibanez and Thomas) may have been the lamest and most embarrassing bunch of unfunny yucksters I've ever seen.  Thomas is was so obviously pro-KC all series, Ibanez nothing more than tired baseball platitudes.  Although, to his credit, it seemed he, too was embarrassed to be part of this group.

4.  Game three Billy Joel National Anthem best Ive heard in ages, if only because it had no flourishes or what many singers do to add 20 notes to the original one, like a pianist drumming his thumb up and down the keyboard.  

5.  I wonder why Fox decided to sign up Pete Rose, and confessed habitual gambler, baseball's cardinal sin, and Arod, probably the most despised player in all of sports to their pregame panel.

6.  KC should get credit for zeroing in on team deficiencies.  For instance, Met's catcher d'artnau can't throw out baserunners.  KC ran and stole bases with abandon all Series.

7.  I think Joe Buck is just fine.

8.  I see the ratings were the highest in some time.  I'll bet the Met's and Cubs helped those ratings a lot.