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Showing posts from February, 2020

Magic Moment Magicians

The other day my dog was patiently waiting for me to finish in the coffee shop. She amused herself by collecting one human scalp after another. Her last victim was a girl of age 8. How that little girl glowed as she petted the dog! I couldn't take my eyes off of both of them. Although I will probably have a clear memory of this moment the rest of my life, it would have been great to photograph. But how?  The glass window was in the way, and if I had gone outside, wouldn't the mere presence of a camera have provoked self-consciousness in the girl, and therefore ruined the moment? People who are good at 'magic moment' photographs involving people and animals must have quite a bag of tricks. The only trick I can think of is to have a telephoto lens which lets you move away to a safe, non-intrusive distance. Obviously you must not talk to the subjects and try to coax them into a fake pose. Actually the charm is not all in the subject. Much of it resides in the invis

Mis-use/Over-use of the Word 'Adventure'

If you spend any time surfing the travel blogo/vlogosphere on the internet, you will notice the frequent use of the word 'adventure.' Too frequent, I am afraid. Do these people think they are the equivalent of, say, Ferdinand Magellan, as he probed for a route around the southern tip of South America? from Stratfor The modern 'adventurer' travels in bourgeois comfort, luxury, and security, to a degree unimaginable to travelers of 50 years ago. They use the internet to spoonfeed 'how to' advice to newbies on the tiniest challenges of travel. Soon the newbie has found a (linkbait oriented) website that tells them where to camp, how many solar panels they need, and how and where to poop. On and on it goes. And yet, they keep using the word 'adventure' to describe what they are doing.  Of course some of the blabbermouths on the internet are not doing it for linkbait income. They genuinely believe they are being nice guys in helping other peopl

Folk Wisdom Works

Most people have had a terrible experience like this several times in their lives: they decide to 'let the professional do it' and look forward to a relaxing experience, albeit an expensive one; things start slowing down to a crawl; the professionals don't even communicate with the customer so the delay seems open-ended. The customer would be patient if they knew it was going go take a certain number more days. But they aren't being told that. The sheer indeterminacy of the project starts driving the customer crazy. I had that happen to me lately in getting a hitch installed on my new tow vehicle, a van. It was humbling to realize that all of the books I've read in my life didn't seem to help at all. Theology, philosophy, history...what good is any of it!  from Grammar Zone Instead, I fell back on old adages like, 'A watched pot never boils,' and 'If you want something done right, do it yourself.' So I kept looking for more ways to st

Oh No! Another Recurring (Un-novel) Pleasure

I almost started with an apology to the reader for writing about a topic addressed a couple weeks ago, despite it being a wonderful topic: why don't some pleasures and enjoyments wear out? I concluded that it was their recurring nature, after a suitable rest, that ensured their long life. And it happened again! The damp sky of the last couple days cracked open. What deserves the most praise? The fractured drama of a partly cloudy sky? Or cool, dry air? Or the crispness of renewed blue sky, set behind rugged mountains with a fresh smattering of snow?  But let's be clear: it is not static prettiness that I am praising here. It is the disappearance, contrast, temporary loss, and glorious restoration that are being praised. So I come to the same conclusion as the earlier post, and what is so bad about that? Why should this blog be in the novelty-chasing business, like the rest of the electronic media?

Whether Weather is Always Banal

Is it banal to talk about the weather? In general, yes. But there are exceptions. Today I am experiencing slow, steady rain. It hasn't rained in two months. Truly, slow rain is one of the finest things that Mother Nature has to offer. So why is there so little praise of it? The answer probably is that 'the medium is the message.' Slow rain does not photograph well. Nor is it especially entertaining to the ears. So you can't put it on a vlog or social media. Nor does rain make for a snazzy television commercial. To hell with electronic media and its distortions. Slow rain is wonderful.

Finally, a New Tow Vehicle!

Is it understandable or reasonable that an older car buyer would like to get excited about what-might-be their last car, especially if they have never done so before? There can be a romance to such an important part of life. Carried to extreme, it might seem silly. After 15 years of fussing and fuming, of sturm und drang, I finally bought a new tow vehicle. It didn't work out like a romantic novel, by, say, Sir Walter Scott or Alexander Dumas. Rather, it resembled a Jane Austen novel, in composite, non-literal form: a young woman, enthused about a dashing young rake, the best dancer at the balls, and always fashionably dressed. He drives a stylish and fast carriage, and rides a stallion. She's even heard whispers that he has killed a man in a duel. Then she finds out he is an irresponsible, self-centered cad. After a suitable amount of wailing, she transfers her attentions to a man who isn't too old, and doesn't look terrible, has good inheritance prospec

Open ID Switch, and Erratum

Blogger is telling me that it no longer lets a commenter use Open ID. So if that is what you were used to, go ahead and switch to Anonymous, just by checking the Anonymous box. In a recent post I was a missionary for the sticker of RPO codes if you are considering GM vehicles. Now they tell me that starting in 2018 they no longer attach stickers to the usual places (passenger side door jamb or glove box for older vehicles) but instead use GM Global Connect. Either the dea ewlership can print the RPO codes from this, or maybe the individual can access GM Global Codes.  Give your salesman the VIN number and make them email the RPO (build) codes to you.

Living Words, Dead Words

It has been a pleasant surprise to find out how much I like my little eReader (Kobo Libra H2O). Sometimes I get the best results by reading a couple screens-worth, and then looking away, and thinking about something else. Then I look down at the bottom of the screen, where it shows that only 5% of the book has been read. from shutterstock. My gawd, why are authors so wordy? Who needs all those words? Why don't they say something meaningful in a few sentences, and then 'shut up.' I still haven't decided whether I will even bother to read books in my 'next life.' (grin) At such moments, my brain goes back to internet surfing. At least what you read there is shorter! And it seems more alive, somehow? But is it? Why does the heavy (e-) lumber of a book seem so tedious, so much like dead stuff, but 'breaking news' on the internet seems alive? Most of the stuff on the internet is the same everyday; only the details change, as was true of newspapers

Feeling Proud of the One True Indispensable Nation

I don't write about politics too often, because the subject makes me and the reader sour or angry -- or depressed. In fact, only twice have I felt joyous and triumphant. My own country had nothing to do with either of these events. They are British accomplishments. In 2013 the British House of Commons declined to approve military action (the old-fashioned term is 'war') against Syria. Soon the Obama regime backed off of direct and forcible war against Syria. After all, the American War Machine needs to invoke the mythology of World War II and the hero worship of Churchill in order to pronounce the enemy-du-jour as the next Hitler. In the last couple years of his regime, Obama then went on to make an international fool out of himself by describing America as the one true indispensable nation. And now, for the second time in just a few years, we see who the one true indispensable country really is: Britain. If you haven't watched a video of