That stalwart defender of truth in political journalism, Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert, taking a well-earned break from correcting the idiocies of the political pundits and analysts, sent along this post card from his week-long haven of bliss on the Jersey Shore. Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, New Jersey. Mid-afternoon. Friday, August 5, 2016. 80 degrees.
Rachel Bass, one of my former Wired Critics students and a recently degreed International Studies major with a focus in Middle East/North Africa region and International Political Economy concentration and a minor in Arabic (When I tell you my students are way smarter than me, believe me. They are way smarter than me.) has been continuing her Near Eastern travels this summer in Jordan and sent along this post card and note: “Umayyad and Roman ruins (as well as absolutely NO people and a beautiful landscape) in Tabaqat Fahl/Pella, Jordan.” August 5, 2016.
Rachel has a flikr album devoted to her travels and invites everyone to take a look: Jordan 2016.
Our good old pal actor212 has been working from his field office in the Caribbean this past week. A real hardship post. (He wants readers to know he shot this in panorama with his iPhone and warns that “alcohol may have been involved.”) The island of Bonaire. Sunset, Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Some of us, if we're good and say our prayers, get to go to Paris. Longtime online friend and comrade and lately European correspondent for the Mannionville Daily Gazette Dylan Murray has been good and last month he was in Paris and filed this post card and report from the Louvre: “I loved how different this space was from the rest of the museum: the light, and the open feel. A great midpoint.” Paris. Around noon their time. July 17, 2016.
By Slate Chief Political Correspondent, CBS News Political Analyst, and roving street photographer Jamelle Bouie. Somewhere inside the Beltway. Thursday evening. March 17, 2016. Used with Jamelle’s permission, of course. Forgot to ask him if he stopped in for take-out and if it’s any good. Also, I wonder how the kabobs are at the Red Toque Cafe next door.
Sunset on the Hudson River. Looking west by southwest from around West 96th Street on Manhattan. Wednesday evening. March 9. 2016. From a series by blogging comrade Philip Turner. You can see the rest of the photos and read Philip’s account of “Catching a Precious Part of the Day” at his blog, the Great Gray Bridge.
By longtime Facebook and Twitter pal Teresa Kopec who writes that she took the picture yesterday, January 30th, on a a trail to Linville Falls in North Carolina, about an hour and a half drive from where she lives in South Carolina. “They had had 8-10 inches of snow the week before when the big snowstorm came in that hit the northeast. They get a fair amount there up in the mountains. We don't get big snow anymore. Maybe 1-2 inches all winter.”
Visitor Center. Valley Forge National Park. 9:30 AM. December 31, 2015.
Fun fact: I’ve been looking to find out how George Washington and the troops celebrated New Year’s at Valley Forge but haven’t turned up anything so far. I did learn something new though. January 1, 1778 was only the twenty-seventh time in Washington’s lifetime that the new year began on January 1. Officially. Until 1752, the year Washington turned twenty, according to the calendar used in England and its colonies, the new year began on March 25, more or less at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, depending on how you look at it or how they did back then. Which makes more astronomical and even poetic sense, when you think about it. The year progressed with the seasons. Except that the reason wasn’t seasonal or astronomical. It was religious. March 25 was the Feast of the Annunciation. “Lady Day.” Of course, since nobody knows when Gabriel showed up to tell Mary how blessed she was among women, that date was probably chosen by the Church to supplant a pagan celebration of the spring equinox. The question I’d like answered is why Protestant England stuck with March 25 long after most of Catholic Europe had gone back to the date Julius Caesar had set when he’d reformed the calendar. The other odd thing is that while according to the calendar the English used until 1752 the new year officially began on March 25, people celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1 as one of the Twelve Days of Christmas. So Washington and his troops at Valley Forge probably celebrated as traditionally as they had the provisions to manage and it’s extremely unlikely that any of the soldiers turned to each other and said, “Remember how we used to celebrate New Year’s Day in the spring?”, although some pedantic middle-aged sergeant might have said to an immediately bored and inwardly groaning eighteen year old private, “Did you know that when I was your age…?”
Anyway, the pedantic middle-aged sergeant in you can read more about the history of New Year’s day at EarthSky. Meanwhile, from all of us here at the Old Blonde Family Cottage, myself, Mrs M, Ken, Oliver, and Old Mother and Father Blonde, Happy New Year!
They have a claw machine at the movie theater here.
While we were in the lobby waiting to go in to see The Big Short, a little boy, first grader or maybe a tall kindergartner, probably there to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, came over to the machine and stood in front of it, looking in longingly with his forehead pressed against the glass. He stood there, quiet, unmoving, unwavering in his watch on the Minions and Care Bears, a kid who has learned to delay gratification and not whine I want it in public, but who has figured out that if he looks sad enough, some sympathetic adult will eventually notice and perhaps, perhaps, wander over to see what’s bothering the poor little tyke and prove to be a soft touch.
UA King of Prussia Stadium 16. Before the 12:45 matinee of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Tuesday. December 29, 2015.
I wish I had a camera that took good night photos.
This was the view from the top of Oliver Mannion’s campus around five-thirty this evening. What I would have liked to have captured is that pool of silver moonlight reflected in the river there near the bottom of the picture just to the right of center. The Hudson along here is as broad as a lake and tonight as still and that bright under the moon. Thirty-eight degrees at the time, by the way.
I hope you appreciate this. Pulled off to the side of a very busy road and jumped out of the car to pluck these two leaves from trees lining the sidewalk. Did it for research for a post I’m working on. One of my “Let’s pretend I’m a nature writer” posts.
Those weren’t the last leaves on those trees, by any means. Most deciduous trees around here are bare but there are still more than a few that are not only holding onto their leaves, they’re still green or partly green. Mainly maples, but along that stretch of road there were some ashes, aspens, and birches, as well.
It wasn’t so much the case that I needed to identify the leaves in the sense of learning what the were for the first time. I recognized them as soon as I got up close. But I needed to see them up close to know what trees haven’t yet dropped all their leaves so I would have an idea of what trees might have still been in leaf in the foothills of the Catskills when I drove through them on my way to Syracuse a few weeks ago. Those few weeks ago, a hundred miles west by northwest from here, the fall foliage had peaked and what little color was left was pale yellow. Like the yellow of this pair. The larger leaf on the left is from a black maple. The other’s from a sugar maple.
I didn’t need to take them home or get out the guide books when I did. But I wanted to be sure about the black maple. And I wanted to take this picture to show off the fact I have guide books. They’re a big help in pretending to be a nature writer.