Posted in Growing Up, Humor, Science, tagged Astrology, Astronomy, Earth, Growing Up, Humor, Science, Sun, Venus on June 5, 2012 |
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Venus is on the move today and tomorrow. It’s traveling slowly across the face of the Sun, on a journey that astronomers call being “in transit” — as if Venus were hopping a subway to get from one side of the solar system to another.
These kind of astronomical events are very cool, because they happen so rarely. There’s a “music of the spheres” sort of celestial harmony to Venus’ journey that reflects a special, highly unusual confluence of positioning of the Sun, Venus, and Earth. It won’t happen again for 105 years. By then, we hope, the European debt crisis will have been resolved. In fact, some astrologers are saying that the transit of Venus might help to solve such problems. It’s is supposed to herald in a new era of spiritual and technological revolution . . . or, it’s supposed to strongly accentuate feelings of love and hate. With astrology, it always seems to be one or the other.
As with any solar celestial phenomenon, the news stories always caution people not to look directly at old Sol. It’s hard to believe anyone would try to use the naked eye to check out the Venus transit, because Venus will be only a small speck against the enormous disk of the Sun. You supposedly can see it safely by creating one of those pinhole-in-a-box projectors that the news stories typically mention in these circumstances. I tried to make one of those devices when there was a solar eclipse during my childhood, and I gave up in frustration when it didn’t work. This time, I’ll just rely on the photos, and in the meantime wish Venus well on her cross-town travel.
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Posted in TV, tagged Arya Stark, Catelyn Stark, Dragons, Game of Thrones, HBO, Joffrey Baratheon, Magic, TV, Tyrion Lannister, Undead, Wizardry on June 5, 2012 |
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Kish and I watched the Game of Thrones season finale and came away vaguely disappointed. It was well-acted and interesting, as always, but vaguely anticlimactic after last week’s big battle — and also unsatisfying because the mystical and magical plot elements seem to be overpowering everything else.
I loved the first season of Game of Thrones because the characters were richly drawn and often highly flawed, the settings were exotic and fascinating, and the intrigue, infighting, and infamous villains made for riveting television. There was some enchantment and sorcery — such as the mystical bond between the Starks and their wolves — but for the most part the story line focused on families and courtiers vying for power in the nest of vipers that is King’s Landing. The deaths of leading characters, showing that no one was safe, made the show even more unpredictable and fun.
This year there’s much more magic, and in the finale there was a lot more magic. There’s a witch who gives birth to black smoke creatures advising one pretender to the throne, a fireproof woman who can command dragons to burn her enemies, the undead marching on civilization, and a swordsman who can change his face. I recognize that the characters live in a world where such things are more common, but frankly I find the magic kind of boring. If a character can just command dragons to breathe fire on her enemies, who’s going to be able to stop her? Where’s the suspense in that?
I’d prefer to see the focus be more on the characters who lack the knack for witchcraft, and who are therefore more vulnerable and interesting than the purveyors of the black arts. I want to see more of the slippery but apparently decent eunuch who has the best interests of the kingdom at heart, mighty mite Tyrion Lannister, who to his own surprise discovered inner courage and cunning enough to save the kingdom from invasion, the giant female warrior who is devoted to Catelyn Stark, and the unconquerable Arya Stark — among others. Let me see the nauseating and loathsome Joffrey Baratheon get his much-needed comeuppance by a sword thrust from a brawny arm, and not by the wave of a wizard’s wand.
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Posted in Dogs, Family, Humor, Kasey, Penny, Photography, tagged Dogs, Family, Humor, Kasey, Moon, Morning Walks, Penny, Photography on June 5, 2012 |
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One reason I bought my new camera is that I wanted to be able to take a decent picture of the Moon, one that showed the lunar seas and some of its other features. The Moon is my frequent companion on our morning walks and is a beautiful object in the sky on a crisp, cloudless morning — like this morning.
My old camera did not have the zoom and focus capabilities to take a good picture of the Moon. The Canon PowerShot, on the other hand, does. Now I just have to acquire the steady hand necessary to get precision focus on a faraway object like the Moon. Of course, not trying to control two impatient dogs pulling away on their leashes while I’m taking the photo might help.
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