Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Moon, Mars, and a Christmas Cat

Tonight, Mars had a very close approach to the Moon (it was occulted in the far Northwest US and Canada), and I got a couple of pictures of it. Plus, Misty checks out the tree.

Click on the pictures to see bigger versions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hell for Led Zeppelin

Found this on John Scalzi's blog.

Bubbles, Tiny Bubbles

Well, not so tiny. Here's a hilarious parody, set to Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire, about the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Outstanding nature images

Kirk Rogers, an avid amateur astronomer and photographer, has updated his website with some beautiful images of birds and other fauna. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Southern Journal

Monhegan Island, Maine

Friday, December 14, 2007

And some more

Falling around the earth

A friend sent me an e-mail with some excellent images taken from shuttle missions to the ISS. I hadn't seen these before, so I thought I'd share them.
Click on the pictures to see a larger image.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you can read this, u r a genius

I found this link which calculates the reading level of a blog.

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

(I'd ignore the cash advance link if I were you).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Astronomy Day

This makes it worth it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Comet Holmes

Once in a great while, a comet will undergo an outgassing, or eruption, of gas and dust, and when that happens, it can brighten dramatically. Comet Holmes, a periodic comet, is heading outbound from the sun, and it decided to put on a show. Almost overnight, it brightened about a million times, going from Magnitude 17 to Magnitude 2.5 (about as bright as the North Star). Naturally, an amateur astronomer lives for such things, and wants to get some images. I went out to Brazos Bend State Park for some dark skies, and was able to get these.

Images were taken with a Canon EOS 20D, 300 mm telephoto lens, at 1600 ISO, exposure was 2 seconds. Just click on the pictures for a bigger image.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Unitarian Jihad

"Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary. "


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Food Fight

"Are ya gonna eat that?"

Don't you hate it when someone takes food off your plate?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007


We have a hurricane approaching the Gulf, and this of course has generated a lot of press, because when a whirly-storm threatens, it gives people an awful lot to talk about. Back in 1983, Alicia did a number on us (almost 24 years ago), and while there was a lot of wind and rain, the most memorable thing about it for me was the fact that the power surges after the storm knocked out the A/C in my apartment for about three weeks. Fortunately, I had the keys to an apartment for a friend who happened to be out of town on business, and whose A/C wasn't knocked out. Thanks, Mike.

And in 2005, Rita, a massive storm, looked like it was going to aim dead on at Galveston/Houston, and people left Houston like crazy, leading to bumper-to-bumper traffic out of the city for scores of miles. We stayed here, and the storm curved off to the right. Yes, we were lucky.

Hurricanes are destructive, but like all intense phenomena, they are also quite interesting. With that in mind, I'd like to propose a writing contest. Let's see who can come up with most interesting, the most provocative, and the most terrible hurricane news briefs. I want bad writing. I want to see prose that will make an English teacher vomit.

I want to see something like this:

Hurricane Dean roared ashore with the strength of 10,000 weathercasters leaning into the gale, trying to get that last piece out to the audience before being blown away in the maelstrom of surging torrents and hellacious winds. Like a giant breaking wind, Dean pulverized the coast, a perfect storm of tidal surge and horizontal rain blasters. We can only wait until the destructive demon that is Dean passes into history before we determine the inevitable heartbreaking losses of this counter-clockwise monster.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Classical Reimagined

Here's Bach's Minuet in G Major - or rather, the hit 1965 song, "A Lover's Concerto", done by The Toys. I've always enjoyed this piece - it's just such a sweet song.

Wikipedia had this to say about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I found the following interesting article on why we make mistakes.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A little bit of perspective

Eric Berger's blog ( had this link ( about the size of the atom - and how much of the atom is simply empty space.

It's interesting. Take a look and see how far it is to get from the nucleus to the electrons. It's amazing.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

And stay out

From the delightful I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER site :

Monday, June 04, 2007

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

Does this look like a dog?

Saturday, Linda and I took advantage of one of the perks of becoming a pilot. We booked a 172 from the good folks at Anson Air and flew to Taylor, a small town northeast of Austin, to visit with some old friends we haven't seen in a while.

The weather was warm and muggy, and we had the usual low-level cumulus that goes along with a high dew point. That meant our flight to Taylor would be low altitude, below 2000 feet. However, along the way, we found some open spots. Linda had been wanting to get pictures of clouds, and this would be the perfect opportunity.

Now a Cessna 172 is not exactly a rocket in a climb, and with the warm air, the best climb rate we could manage was about 500 feet per minute. But we managed to get to 6,500 feet, spiraling around the clouds. As an added benefit, the cooler air at that altitude made the temp in the cabin much more comfortable.

We landed at Taylor and met up with our friends Bob and John. After an enjoyable visit, catching up, and discussing life, the universe, and everything, we headed back.

Here are a few pics.

Bob, Steve, John

A happy pilot


More clouds

More clouds

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moon and Venus

Tonight (May 19th) we had a lovely close approach of Venus to the crescent moon. I got a few pictures and here they are. Just click on the pictures to see a bigger image.

Longer exposure shows the earthshine on the moon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Reawakening a dormant hobby

Now that I've gotten my private pilot certificate, I'm able to devote a little more time to my one of my other hobbies, which is amateur astronomy.

Like aviation, amateur astronomy is something that brings people together into communities, and the Internet has facilitated this. Lots of talented people who love the sky have put up webpages devoted to their interest.

One such person is Kirk Rogers. I stumbled across his website while searching for information on an equatorial mount I recently acquired. Kirk's site is:
and it's great. Take some time to peruse it, and you will be amply rewarded.

Of course, there is a downside to this - now I want an observatory.

Let's see, private plane, observatory - I've just got to win the lottery!

Clear skies!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

December Flight

Playing around with Moviemaker. Music is Pink Floyd.

I should also point out that the cinematographer is Linda. :)

A few flying pictures

I had an oppportunity to go flying today, and it was really beautiful. Nice clear day, good visibility, smooth air. I should have taken a camera...but since I didn't, here are some pictures from previous flights over the past few months.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Steep Turn

One of the maneuvers all pilots have to demonstrate on a checkride is a steep turn. That's a 360 degree turn with a bank angle of 45 degrees. It's fun, because you have to give a little back pressure on the yoke to keep your nose up, and add a little power to maintain speed.

In a December flight, I demonstrated this for Linda. She took a video of it.