But He Loves You

I miss George Carlin. Nobody could tell it like it was  better than he.

Carlin could be vulgar, but this short video is entirely clean. It’s one more example of how a vulgar funny man can still be funny without being vulgar. But even more than that, it’s one more example how somebody like him or Bill Maher can just state the obvious and make it hilarious.

A cousin of mine recently sent me this. (Thanks, Johnny.) Watch as George once again demolishes our favorite adult fairy tale.

First Santa Clause; now Him.

9-11-2001

9-11On September 11, 2001, I watched with the rest of the world as our nation was attacked and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came down. Only I watched from my mother’s hospital room.

She had had back surgery earlier that morning, and was under the influence of so much medicine that I’m not sure she knew what was going on. The noise from the TV bothered her, but my siblings and I could not turn it off. We had to learn what was happening to our nation.

Almost 3000 people died that day In the worst single attack on American soil since World War II. We must always be ready to defend ourselves from aggressors and make certain that such a thing never happens again.

Here’s Harvey.

Golden retriever mix Otis in survival mode, carrying a bag of dog food in Corpus Christi after Hurricane Harvey
Golden retriever mix Otis in survival mode, carrying a bag of dog food in Corpus Christi after Hurricane Harvey

Otis, a golden retriever mix, was apparently in survival mode yesterday morning in Corpus Christi, after hurricane Harvey tore through the city, when he was seen carrying a large bag of dog food down the street.

“Must be a Texas dog, cause he can survive without help,” one commenter wrote. I’m not sure who the commenter was, but he must not have been a Texan. Even in Texas, the home of the Lone Ranger, this is not the lesson to be learned. Texans do what we can for ourselves, as Otis is doing; but we also help each other, as plenty of other Texans are doing.

The La Quinta Inn in Victoria, for example, sheltered about 70 people plus a collection of dogs, cats, and at least one rabbit Saturday afternoon, after the storm hit the city with winds of over 100 mph. That’s what Texans really do. Even the Lone Ranger had to depend on Tonto sometimes.

It’s not over yet by any means. “It’s going to last four to five days,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who urged drivers to stay off the road. “This is Day One.” That was yesterday.

Take care of yourself, and remember to help somebody. And don’t forget the animals.

_____________________

Sources:

666 Users? Significant?

2017-08-25 666 Users. Significant? Nah. Probably not.
2017-08-25 666 Users. Significant? Nah. Probably not.

Am I really seeing that number right? 666 subscribers? I think so.

What does it mean? Nothing, of course. It’s just an interesting number for superstitious reasons, which means nothing here. I’m not even sure it’s accurate, but it’s what the system tells me. So add your email address to receive each new post in your email account, as 666 other people have already chosen to do.

Tuesday’s Solar Eclipse

Partial solar eclipses on the sidewalk
Partial solar eclipses of the sun

Her: “Will it be possible to get pictures with a smart phone?” Him: “I don’t see that happening.” That was part of a conversation I watched on TV a day or two before Tuesday’s eclipse. The picture above is from my iPhone.

I’m an old man in a nursing home, but that’s no excuse. I failed to prepare, and I wasn’t ready for this eclipse. I had no glasses and no appropriate photographic equipment.

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)
A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

But I knew that even if you can’t look at the sun, you can still look at the ground and see thousands of little pictures of the sun with a bite taken out of each one where the light shines between the leaves of the trees.

They never look focused very well, because the holes between the leaves are all different shapes instead of real pin-holes (as they should be to project sharp pictures). Besides that, I think I was holding the camera too high, which made it even worse.

We weren’t going to see the total eclipse here in North Texas, anyway; but even a partial solar eclipse is worth preparing for; and I hadn’t even bought eclipse glasses! Nevertheless, I knew I could get pictures. And here are a couple of them. One at the top and one at the bottom of this page.

You’ll notice in the right-hand edge of the picture above, I got a little bit of my power chair in  the frame. The pictures were made on the sidewalk just outside my room at the nursing home. That’s about as far as it’s practical for me to go by myself.

Now I have a new goal: to live seven more years. I really want to see the total eclipse that’s coming through North Texas on April 8, 2024. And if I survive that long, I definitely plan to be prepared this time.

Above is an example of what I hope to see in 2024. And of course the guy was right, I won’t be able to take a picture of the sun like this with my iPhone. If I even tried, I’d probably burn out the camera. But, better than that, I should be able to see it with my own eyes.

April 08, 2024 solar eclipse path
April 08, 2024 solar eclipse path

This is totality! It’s the scene described by science journalist David Barron in the last post: “It was truly a life-changing experience! Just mind bogglingly beautiful and awe inspiring!” Well, it’s not exactly the same scene. He was talking about what he saw in 1998, and this is a picture of the 2017 eclipse two days ago, taken by NASA. But you get the picture (so to speak).

Any given point on earth experiences a total solar eclipse about once every 400 years on average, and it only lasts from a few seconds to four or five minutes maximum. But I plan to be here for it, If possible, in 2024. If I make it, I’ll try to get some better pictures.

Stick around with me and let’s be prepared to watch the full total eclipse In the sky, instead of just pictures on the sidewalk like that below. And above.

Partial solar eclipses on the sidewalk
Partial solar eclipses on the sidewalk

The NASA animation shows the path of the 2024 eclipse. The large shadow is the partial eclipse area, like the one we had here Tuesday. But notice the tiny dot In the center of it? That’s totality! The total solar eclipse area, just 70 miles wide, racing through Texas and several other states at probably around 600 mph or so. That’s where I intend to be in 2024, stalking the eclipse somewhere as near the center of its path as practical, for just a couple of glorious minutes of totality.

Onward to 2024!

Tomorow’s solar eclipse

“It was truly a life-changing experience! Just mind bogglingly beautiful and awe inspiring!”

That’s how science journalist David Barron describes it. He’s talking, of course, about the solar eclipse he watched in Aruba in 1998.

The last total solar eclipse seen in the contiguous United States was on February 26, 1979; but it was visible only across the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. The one coming up tomorrow will angle across the whole country from northwest to southeast and coast to coast.

If you’re lucky enough to be in its path, it’ll reach totality between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm, depending on your location. Use this Solar Eclipse Map to see exactly when to expect it.

Total solar eclipses occur roughly once or twice a year somewhere on Earth, always at the time of a new moon. But it’s a big planet, and 70% of it is covered by water. The Arctic and Antarctic take up a lot ofthe rest of it. So  getting a total solar eclipse visible over a large populated area is less common, and one specifically over the United States is actually fairly rare.

Total solar eclipses are said to be one of the most magnficent sights in all of nature. The moon overtakes and slowly covers the Sun, taking nearly 90 minutes to do so. In the last seconds before the Sun is totally covered, the sky grows dark, the air cools, and birds stop singing. Then totality lasts just a few seconds or minutes. But everybody who sees one agrees it was worth the wait.

State capitals in the path of the total solar eclipse: Salem, OR; Lincoln, NE; Jefferson City, MO; Nashville, TN; and Columbia, SC. The optimal local viewing time is given for each. The rust-colored path marks the area where a total eclipse will appear, also called the path of totality. Map developed by CICS-NC in cooperation with NOAA NCEI, Deborah Riddle
State capitals in the path of the total solar eclipse: Salem, OR; Lincoln, NE; Jefferson City, MO; Nashville, TN; and Columbia, SC. The optimal local viewing time is given for each. The rust-colored path marks the area where a total eclipse will appear, also called the path of totality. Map developed by CICS-NC in cooperation with NOAA NCEI, Deborah Riddle

While the strip of totality is only about 70 miles wide and each location will see it for just a few seconds or a couple of minutes, the partial eclipse—when the moon covers just part of the sun—will be visible all over North and Central America plus the northern half of South America. It’ll cover a lot of ocean, and you’ll even be able to see it from Hawaii, if you happen to be there. Unfortunately for the rest of you, this is primarily an American eclipse!

Moments before totality in the 2012 Australian eclipse, just a small part of the Sun is still visible, creating a “diamond ring” effect
Moments before totality in the 2012 Australian eclipse, just a small part of the Sun is still visible, creating a “diamond ring” effect.

The moon’s shadow will race eastward across the nation at the speed of the moon’s orbit around the planet minus earth’s speed of rotation. Roughly 600 mph (combined). This particular eclipse starts in the morning on the west coast, and ends in the afternoon on the east coast. Those lucky enough to actually find themselves in the narrow path of totality–or who have made preparations in advance to be there–will see something similar to the picture above, plus or minus the clouds. It’ll be visible for just a very short time in each location.

And notice, this is a color picture; in the middle of the day, even though it looks like midnight. What you’ll actually see will vary depending on weather conditions, both here and on the sun! If you really fortunate, you may see the sun’s corona writhing for several sun diameters out around the sun itself. And all in glorious color, as you’ll see in some of the videos!

On the center line of totality, you’ll get two or three minutes of it; but along the edge, just 35 miles on either side of the middle line, you’ll only see a few seconds of totality. Outside of the narrow strip, you’ll see just a partial eclipse. No totality. But “just a partial eclipse” is still a thing of wonder!

From North Texas we’ll watch the moon crawl across the top of the sun, covering most of it eventually, and then passing on across. It’ll start at 10:02 am and end at 4:14 pm CDT, with peak at 1:07 pm CDT. I’ll be out there, rolling around in my power chair, enjoying it all.

Use eclipse glasses–available everywhere, cheap, If you’re not too late–or a pinhole camera to see the “bite” out of the sun, and watch how it changes over time. Or stand under a tree and watch the pinholes of light filtering through the leaves, each one showing a picture of the sun with a chunk cut out of it. It’s awesome!

NEVER look directly at the unshielded sun, even during partial eclipse, without proper eye protection! Doing so can easily cause permanent damage to your eyes, up to and including blindness. Sunglasses aren’t enough. Only when you are in the path of totality, and during totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered right after the Diamond Ring fades, can you safely take off eye protection and look directly at the corona, Baily’s Beads, and other phenomena during the eclipse.

As magnificent as a solar eclipse is, it is purely a natural phenomenon that occurs at predictable times and places dictated by the orbits of the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun. It is not a “magnificent harold of end time events,” as one wannabe prophet proclaims, “Signs in the sky” of the end times, as a few Christians think, or even a “time of darkness and evil,” as some Muslims say.

It is indeed a glorious wonder in the sky, but it is not a sign of evil or things to come. A solar eclipse is just something that happens when the earth, the moon, and the sun all come into their proper positions with respect to each other. It’s something to enjoy, if you’re lucky enough to be in the right place. There is absolutely nothing about it to fear. And that’s the truth.

Watch the videos to learn more. They’re fantastic! And check out NASA’s National and State Maps to learn what you can see from your location and when you can see it.

Or watch it live here on NASA TV (Below), between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm CST, if the channel works. (But it appears to be overloaded already by 9:35 am CST Monday morning. Bill)

__________________________________

Sources:

A love of drumming

I love nature, and I love animals that appear to be having fun. I understand it’s difficult to know what’s in the mind of an animal. We can barely communicate with each other. But this little bird seems to be having lots of fun. See how he looks up at his owner in anticipation two or three times? I’m convinced. And that’s the truth.