Trickling Water at Santa Monica Beach

Sometimes when looking at this I see several dancing figures. At other times, I see sand and water. As Freud once said, sometimes sand and water are just sand and water.

Three things to remember for those who are considering using their iPhones on the beach.

  1. iPhone reception is seriously diminished and all apps tend to get a bit quirky when submersed in salt water.
  2. Given the opportunity, all connectors will fill with sand.
  3. See # 1

These rules also apply to all other cameras and electronic devices and the likelihood of your phone/camera being damaged by the elements is in direct proportion to its value. A study by the Rand Corporation has proven that carrying expensive electronic devices attracts rogue waves.

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Manned Space Flight and Barnacles

Today the U.S. launched its last manned space flight. It’s been 50 years since Alan Shepard was strapped inside the claustrophobic Freedom 7 capsule that was itself bolted onto a not always reliable Redstone rocket. On May 5, 1961, he was shot into a very brief 15 minute sub-orbital trajectory and permanently into history. The Russians had beat us into space by weeks and despite the U.S. having produced the most incredible spacecraft imaginable – the space shuttle, from now on when we need to go again, we can only get there and back in a Russian Soyuz that looks like…well you look at it and tell me.

Is it just me or does something seem terribly wrong here?

What does the space program have to do with this photo? I’m glad you asked. I know this is a bit of a stretch, but the shuttle launch took place while I was on the beach taking photos of the barnacles on the pilings of the Santa Monica pier. With a bit of imagination, you could say we had similar views. Maybe a lot of imagination – work with me on this one.

Today’s Useless Fact: Barnacles have jointed legs and spend their youth cavorting about in the ocean. It’s not until they mature that they glue themselves permanently into a comfortable (and not always welcome) place and let the food come to them for the rest of their lives.

They may have more in common with humans than we care to admit.

So no more American manned space flight and barnacles with legs. Is it just me, or …?


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Ya Just Gotta Love Teddy

This is not my story. I found it in Wikipedia and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Flag Day was not established until 1918, so Teddy Roosevelt was a decade ahead of the rest of the Nation in publicly displaying his patriotism on June 14th. Also noted is that his weapon on choice would later become the subject of his slogan “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”He had already served as President, so was not concerned about this mans vote.

The Story:

Oral tradition passed on through multiple generations holds that on June 14, 1908  Theodore Roosevelt was dining outside Philadelphia, when he noticed a man wiping his nose with what he thought was the American Flag. In outrage, Roosevelt picked up a small wooden rod and began to whip the man for “defacing the symbol of America.” After about five or six strong whacks, he noticed that the man was not wiping his nose with a flag, but with a blue handkerchief with white stars. Upon realization of this, he apologized to the man, but hit him once more for making him “riled up with national pride.”


I especially like the last line about him hitting the man one last time after realizing his mistake and apologizing. It may have been the unaccredited inspiration for a Monty Python routine.
Now get out there and display your Flag. If you don’t have one, buy one. Preferably one made in the U.S.A.

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Memorial Day 2011

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On the Eve of Memorial Day 2011

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

I went to the Los Angeles National Cemetery today. Flags have been placed at every headstone in preparation for Memorial Day. Tomorrow at cemeteries here and in distant countries, crowds will gather to honor the fallen. Politicians will serve up mostly forgettable speeches, U.S. color guards will present the National Colors, bands will play and for a few hours our Heroes will be remembered by all.

On Tuesday, the Flags will be put away for another year.

Today I watched at a distance as families came to visit loved ones. They are the mothers, fathers, wives, children, brothers, sisters for whom this weekend is little different than the other 51. They live with a full understanding of the cost of freedom. They remember every day.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.

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Thank You Willard S. Boyle

There is absolutely nothing remarkable about this photo. It’s a technically competent image.

What is remarkable is that I was able to take it with a digital camera that allowed me to view the results instantly, transfer it to my computer to make some adjustments and post it on the internet. That would have been impossible and to most of us, unimaginable, until just a few years ago.

One of the men who could imagine such magic and was instrumental in making it possible was Willard S. Boyle who died this month. He invented the charged couple device – the CCD – the component that made it possible. He also flew Spitfires for the British Royal Navy and helped to select lunar landing sites for NASA. His other accomplishments are too numerous to note here. Do your own research because there may be a pop quiz later. I’m sorry that I did not get a chance to thank him personally


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Smirking at the Rapture

Smirking at the Rapture

I think Pastor Harold Camping is just a mostly harmless, but certifiably loopy old galoot who is not a false prophet so much as he is a really bad mathematician.

AM radio is filled with bumptious blowhard false prophets who invoke the name of God and Country to justify their ranting. They don’t warn against hell and damnation so much as wishing it upon those who fail to nod in vigorous angry agreement.Their ratings are in direct inverse proportion to their intolerance

Pastor Harold doesn’t seem angry, just powerfully confused. He and I have that in common.

I’m still here and if you have read this far, so are you which either means that the Rapture has been postponed, or we did not make the cut.

Judgment Day is subject to debate, but death is not. It is guaranteed. So until it comes, it is probably a good idea to play nice with the other children. If there is judgment at the end, you will have passed the test and if not, at least you will have enjoyed yourself along the way.


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Ready Or Not, Here It Comes (Maybe)

My Last Pre-Rapture Blog
I did not take either of these photos.
When I came across the one on the left, it reminded me of another creature and the other photo that illustrates my point.
One of these was millions of years in the making and has, according to scientists and those who pay attention to such detail, remained unchanged.
The other is the result of decades of human breeding efforts to perfect a companion designed to melt hearts. Keep in mind that his forbearers were wolves – a truly handsome and noble canine.
In another million years or so, the offspring of the creature on the left will likely be unchanged. The one on the right, along with humans, will be long gone – that is, if the rapture happens as predicted tomorrow. And if the rapture does not occur tomorrow, both dog and man will still be best friends regardless of how odd either of us may look.
Personally, I’m hoping for a lengthy delay, but will dress my best just to be prepared.

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Happy Mother’s Day

For those of you who forgot to get a Valentine’s Day card for your loved ones, you are welcome to save this card to your computer and send it out. Today is also National Ferris Wheel Day and League of Women Voters Day. You are on your own to get cards for those very special occasions. Also, February is National Blah Bluster Month. I did not make this up, but I do dress appropriately for the occasion and expect you to as well.

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Sexto de Mayo

Sexto de Mayo

The most misunderstood celebration in the United States is Cinco de Mayo. It is not Mexican Independence Day, but commemorates the unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla. Had the French won, we would have been celebrating with Chardonnay rather than tequila. Sexto de Mayo is the very short sober bridge between Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby – the brief interlude between Margaritas and Mint Juleps – between Jose Cuervo and Jim Beam.

For those needing an excuse to celebrate today, this is both No Pants Day and Tuba Day. Combine the two for a day that your friends and correctional officer will never forget.


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