Archive for January 3rd, 2007

Mostly Color NYC Photoblogging

Grr… I waste a whole buncha time rambling on about why I suck at nature photography, and Picasa/Blogger eats it. Wankers.

I’ll sum up, ‘cuz I’m impatient and cranky now, plus it’ll probably get eaten again:

Basically, there are two primary dimensions I look at in selecting a photo subject: Content (coolness, weirdness, beauty, etc.) and Composition (forms, shapes, and how well they fit into my framing sensibility). As anyone who has gone on photo walkabout with me can tell you, Content is optional for me – I’m a Seinfeld photographer, I take pictures of nothin’. And when I do point my camera at something interesting and hope Content is enough to carry the picture… it usually isn’t.

When it comes to nature, for me it’s heavy on Content and light on Composition: Lots of beauty that I just can’t find a way to frame. Charley observed that my compositional style tends to be geometrical, which I think is pretty accurate. Nature certainly can be geometrical, but usually isn’t, and I haven’t been able to adapt my compositional style accordingly.

Alternatively, it could just be that I’m a thoroughly urban creature, or that I haven’t found the right kind of nature yet. I’ll keep trying.

It was a lot smoother and coherenter the first time, but oh well. You get the general idea.


I was tracking the seagull, and somehow managed to get something reasonably not-bad-looking. Or maybe the seagull flew into the shot, except that I don’t have, like, five shots of the exact same thing…


Pylons! I took a whole bunch of photos of these. Doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll post all of ’em…


No shit.


Early stage in the life cycle of the Northern American Bagpipe.

This is actually an excellent example of Content over Composition (not to mention photo processing). The photo completely sucks, but I was tickled by the resemblance…

6 comments January 3rd, 2007 at 09:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

The End Times Are Here

I just saw a promo for a CBS reality show called Armed & Famous, where Erik Estrada, Wee-Man, Jack Osbourne, La Toya Jackson, and some female wrestler are trained as cops.

We’re all doomed.

4 comments January 3rd, 2007 at 09:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Weirdness

Balance

(This is apparently over a week old, but hey, it’s new to me…)

By way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin, Jane Smiley calls for a fairer, more nuanced view of our 43rd President:

People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don’t comment on is how selfish he is.

She makes an excellent point. I find it very difficult to argue with her on this one.

Froomkin also has an excellent rundown of all the occasions on which Bush has invoked formerly-not-under-the-bus General George Casey to defend his Iraq strategery.

January 3rd, 2007 at 06:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Wankers

What The.

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH RICHARD COHEN???

And can you be persuaded to keep him?

January 3rd, 2007 at 12:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers

Muslim-Jitsu

This is just… magnificent:

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he’d take his oath of office on the Koran — especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow’s ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

“He wanted to use a Koran that was special,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December….

Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn’t the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies — the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself,” said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

This is an absolutely brilliant use of political symbolism – good luck trying to paint someone as an unpatriotic terrorist infiltraitor when they’re sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s Koran.

Good on ya, and Goode off ya, Mr. Ellison.

(P.S. Am I the only one who finds himself wondering if Jefferson’s Koran has all references to Allah excised from it?)

9 comments January 3rd, 2007 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Nature is the true mother of invention:

Birds inspired the airplane and rabbits’ ears helped designers improve TV reception. Now, a new study from biologist Carl Navrin reveals a host of little-known animal species responsible for the best ideas of other human inventors.

“Perhaps the most impressive of these is the telepigeon, which combines the species’ messenger abilities with a unique flair for visual mimicry and clearly inspired the invention of the TV,” Navrin said.

“The birds can rearrange the pigments in their plumage — tinting themselves blue, for example, to indicate impending rain, or mimicking the color patterns of a predator to relate a daring escape to nestmates.”

Navrin recently discovered the remains of a telepigeon nest above John Logie Baird’s London laboratory, the origin of history’s first live video broadcast.

Across the Channel from Baird’s telepigeon roost, a French bird known as the Croquinole alters its plumage in an even more surprising way.

“These creatures munch berries into an acidic paste,” Navrin said. “When secreted over a nestmate’s head, the acid dissolves disulfide bonds in the birds’ plumage. This creates body, shine, and a permanent curl useful for attracting mates.”

Wigmakers and hairstylists hunted Croquinoles for their paste throughout the Nineteenth Century, until the invention of the chemical perm in 1906.

Navrin has also studied the mating habits of a scaly, silver pufferfish able to rotate, capture sunlight, and spread it around the dark sea-bottom in search of females.

“The sparkly puffers were often stuffed and hung in German nightclubs during the 1920s, until a cheaper glass version of the fish, called the Mirrorball, or Discoball, became available.”

The biologist’s latest discovery is the rare Clay’s Cottontail, which produces the smallest newborns of all rabbit species, as well as the largest ears.

“The young nest inside the ears of the oldest adults at the sight of an approaching predator, such as a raccoon,” Navrin said. “There, they repeat the sounds of the intruder so the hard-of-hearing adult will know what’s going on.

“When a Clay’s Cottontail kitten accidentally crawled into the ear of an electrical engineer in 1959, the animal gave him partial deafness–as well as the inspiration to cure it,” Navrin explained. “The first in-the-ear hearing aid reached the market one year after the incident.”

But humans can still take pride in some of their innovations. “We haven’t yet found a species that inspired the lawsuit,” Navrin said.

“We came up with that beauty all by ourselves.”

The disco-ball fish is Teh Awesome.

2 comments January 3rd, 2007 at 07:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News


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