Thursday, July 22, 2021

It Can Happen To You

It can happen to you, it can happen to me. As the good Dr. William Aprill was fond of pointing out, nobody needs permission to wreck your life.

The jokes write themselves...

In her commentary on congressional committe shenanigans, Bobbi noted:
"The GOP says they'll make their own committee -- presumably without Bender's "blackjack and hookers,"..."
I would say that it would all depend on whether Rep. Gaetz was named to the committee or not.


Street Seen

So Zeiss has started shipping their compact(ish) full-frame ZV1 camera, which features WiFi and built-in Adobe Lightroom Mobile, allowing you to shoot, edit, and upload to the web all in one device.

Considering that Zeiss has a pretty good stable of full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless glass in their Batis and Loxia lines, the decision to make this thing a fixed-lens camera is mind-boggling. And the price tag puts it a in the price class of a Leica Q2.

If you're going for a chi-chi boutique fixed-lens street photography camera with a used car price tag, are you going for built-in Lightroom Mobile, or spend about the same and get the red dot? Bucks-up street photography cameras sometimes seem to be as much about signaling that you are A Photographer as they are about actually photographing things, and that red dot has a lot of signaling clout.

The ZV1 is almost twice the price of a Sony RX1R II, which is smaller... although it lacks the built-in Lightroom gimmick ...and the Sony also has a Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens and a higher resolution full-frame sensor, to boot.

Lastly, how much photo editing are you going to want to do with your index finger on a 4"-ish touch screen?

Hey, Zeiss, I already have a fixed-lens camera with true wireless connectivity, a big touchscreen, and Lightroom Mobile loaded on it. It's called my phone.

It's a feature, not a bug.

In a thinkpiece at the New York Times, a writer complains about the frequency of elections in the United States. He's especially mad about the biannual reelection scrum faced by Representatives.
"The two-year House term has profound consequences for how effectively American government can perform — and too many of them are negative. A longer, four-year term would facilitate Congress’s ability to once again effectively address major issues that Americans care most about.

For several decades, party leaders in Congress have come largely to view the first year of a new administration as the narrow window in which to pass big initiatives. In a midterm election year, leaders resist making members in competitive districts take tough votes. In addition, much of “policymaking” discussion in Congress — particularly when control of the House is closely divided — is about parties’ jockeying to capture the House in the next midterms.
He thinks it's hard to enact grand, sweeping structural legislative changes when everybody's got to worry about getting reelected. Thing is, he says this like it's a bad thing.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

When the Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Yesterday the smoke from the wildfires out west just made the sky a sort of silvery color instead of blue, but didn't have any effect at ground level. Not so much today...

Does not work that way.

HIPAA keeps your medical care providers and insurance company from releasing your health care info without your permission. It doesn't prevent anyone from asking you about it.


Sunny Day

Yesterday's weather was glorious. Low eighties and not too humid. It must have been a great day to be out and about in a 1947 Willys Jeep!

The dude on the little Honda C70 Passport sure seemed to be enjoying the weather.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

QotD: Gray Origin Edition...

Regarding the dueling space programs of billionaires, Roberta X points out that all of this has happened before, and it will all happen again:
"I wonder, when William Kissam Vanderbilt II (with help from a few of his wealthy and powerful friends) built the exclusive, private Long Island Motor Parkway in 1908, did critics gripe that he and his rich friends were going to use their motorcars to flee the city on that limited-access ribbon of smooth concrete and leave the poor trapped in urban squalor?"

Bang, Zoom, Straight to the Moon... what I was thinking while watching the Blue Origin launch on network TV this morning. The network color common-taters couldn't keep their pieholes shut and felt compelled to tell us what was going on. Never mind that I could see what was going on and they were talking over the mission control and capsule audio in the background.
"Yes, Armstrong appears to be stepping off the ladder now and he's saying something. Craig?"

"He's definitely talking, Tom. What would you be saying at a moment like this?"

"Well, it's pretty significant, so I'd try to say something important. Oh, it looks like he's completely off the ladder and walking around on the lunar surface now."

Here's the straight Blue Origin stuff with no network common-taters, starting at the good part.

Difficult Shot

Shooting nickeled guns is hard.

I mean firing them isn't any harder than blued guns, and the cleanup's easier, but shooting them with a camera is a pain.

Here's the first try with the Model 59, from back when I first got it in October of 2019.

I was using the EOS 40D with the EF 50mm f/1.4, shooting wide open like an idiot. That caused its own problem because the depth of field is so shallow with an aperture that big, even on an APS-C sensor. Notice how the hammer spur is out of focus? Yeah...

Anyway, with where the pistol was sitting on the patio pavers, the colors of the house are visibly reflected in the slide.

A few months later in May of Cursed 2020, I took another crack at it, this time with the Nikon D3000 and Nikon 35mm f/1.8 combination.

Mindful of the issues with the previous shot, I was more careful to get enough depth of field and carefully positioned the pistol on the patio so it wouldn't be reflecting the house... and instead managed to capture my own reflection in the slide.

Yesterday morning's attempt was with the 5DS and EF 24-105mm f/4L. This time I stood well back and shot at 105mm, from an angle that showed no reflections in the pistol, and I had a high, thin overcast providing a soft and even light since the morning sun hadn't burned it off yet. I think this is about as good as I'm going to get with available light and no reflectors or other aids.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Black belt in BJJ, but a white belt in Logic.

So, granny's gotta win three bouts before she can shoot a prowler? GTFO of here with that idiocy.

This is so poorly reasoned that I'm wondering if it is an example of where getting punched in the head for a hobby can lead. I think he might have been choked out a couple times too many.


BRB, watching a video...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #202...

I gotta say, it's a sharp-looking blaster in nickel, even if it's a pain to photograph. The small parts are nicely blued, with a blue-black sheen that's hard to capture. It's almost too pretty to shoot. Looking at the muzzle end of the barrel, it hasn't been fired much; the bluing on it is pretty much unmarred.

I mean, if I just gotta shoot a double stack Smif nine, I have that 5906.

This nickel 59 is just so Generic Seventies Cop Show Chic. It makes me want to find a period belt holster, and... Ooh! This one was made in 1978, and I have that nickeled Model 37 Chiefs Special Airweight that was made in '76. 

I should get a period correct ankle rig for that to match! Then I could get someone to yell at me "You're a loose cannon! You're off the case!" and then I'd try and find the bad guy on my own before the credits roll and everything goes back to status quo ante at the end of the episode.


The things you don't think about...

I was reading an article that had been linked in a blog post and this bit caught me up short:
"First, some background. I started my watch reporting career just before Hayek arrived on the Swiss watch scene in the early 1980s."
Somehow I had never realized the "wristwatch journalism" was an actual career field. Then I felt silly, because I basically earn my daily bread from reporting on a niche hobby. I'll bet "fountain pen journalism" is a thing.

Incidentally, Swatch Hayek doesn't appear to be any sort of close kin to "Road to Serfdom" Hayek.


Tab Clearing...

  • Here is a listicle of pet photography tips.

  • "We're number two!" I find it interesting that the city fathers of Vienna were pleased to announce that their metropolis was no longer the European espionage capital.

  • I am somehow unsurprised to learn that noted neurotic mess Margaret Atwood had issues with learning to drive.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pharmacological Dreams

I hadn't seen this 1936-vintage Happy Harmonies cartoon before. This was obviously long before cartoons were considered strictly kiddie fare.

It has an article at Wikipedia, which makes a good jumping off point for a vintage animation wikiwander.


Automotif CCXXXI...

Standing on the street corner, minding my own business, when all of a sudden...

Hello! What's this, then?

It's a '42-'47 Packard Super Clipper Club Sedan!

The "PACKARD" vanity plate is to help out the people who didn't see the glorious swan hood ornament or the "Super Clipper" badges. There's a listing at Sotheby's for one that sold back in 2019 that has some detailed interior photos. The dashboard on these is quite grand; they were quite top-o'-the line in their day. In fact, early postwar Soviet government limos were fairly obvious Packardskis.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Comrade Carlson!


#duet with @road_rage_actual

♬ original sound - Chris


This is some straight-up horseshoe theory wack stuff right here. This guy's gone so far right he fell off the edge and landed in Marx's lap. And the absolute best part is that there are beer-swilling illiterati wearing "I ♣︎ COMMIES" t-shirts that are cheering along to this rhetoric.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Back to the Future

The Nikon F5 shooting 35mm film at eight frames a second means you could burn up an entire roll in barely more than a quick count to "four Mississippi". It also means you can use a still film camera to shoot artsy movies...

This one shot on Fomapan 100 looks especially old-timey thanks to the very vintage look of the film stock and the jerkiness of the slow frame rate.


In the weeds...

Driving down to visit Henry Holsters' new production facility yesterday, I noticed something red and old in the grass alongside U.S. 231, so on the way back I pulled over and snapped a photo.

I didn't get out of the car because I didn't want to go tromping around in some dude's yard, but I did have the 24-120mm f/4 VR on the D700 and it had adequate reach.

That's a 1949 Chrysler New Yorker sedan. Chrysler was the last of the Big Three to tool up fresh designs after World War Two; the '48 New Yorker was basically a warmed-over 1942 model. The '49 had all new sheet metal, although the 323.5cid straight-eight and four-speed "Presto-Matic" semiautomatic transmission carried over from the '48 model. 

Despite the tall grass, the car was in great shape, including fresh-looking rubber, and showed every sign of being maintained and driven regularly.

It was a gorgeous day and US 231 was perfect for a bit of top-down cruising in the Zed Drei...

Bonus Sighting: A 1979 W72 Trans Am, last hurrah for the 400 cubic inch Pontiac pony car...

Migrant Invasion

If you're in to dawn-of-civilization type history, this find from Spain is pretty interesting.
"Beginning in the Bronze Age, the genetic makeup of the area changed dramatically. Starting in about 2,500 B.C., genes associated with people from the steppes near the Black and Caspian seas, in what is now Russia, can be detected in the Iberin gene pool. And from about 2,500 B.C. much of the population’s DNA was replaced with that of steppe people.

The “Steppe Hypothesis” holds that this group spread east into Asia and west into Europe at around the same time—and the current study shows that they made it to Iberia, too. Though 60 percent of the region’s total DNA remained the same, the Y chromosomes of the inhabitants were almost entirely replaced by 2,000 B.C. That suggests a massive influx of men from the steppes, since Y chromosomes are carried only by men.

“It looks like the influence was very male dominated,” says Miguel Vilar, a genetic anthropologist who serves as senior program officer for the National Geographic Society.

Who were these men—and did they come in peace? Vilar, who was not involved with the study, speculates that the steppe men may have come on horses bearing bronze weapons, hence ushering in the Bronze Age to the area.
More Western Steppe Herder evidence, apparently.

I'm fascinated with this period in history. Now I want to go reread Wolves of the Dawn.