Friday, March 30, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Waiting for spring in the organ grinder's garden

Click to enlarge

The Organ Grinders' Garden  by Mildred Plew Meigs

In the winter, in the winter,
When the clouds shake snow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A cozy little garden
Where the fountain makes a fizz
And round about the lattices
The sunbeams sizz;

Where underneath the bushes
In the nodding afternoons,
The frisky little organs sit
And spill their tinky tunes;

While tingle, tingle, tangle,
Go the pennies in the cup,
As all the baby monkeys
Practice picking pennies up.

In the winter, in the winter,
When the sharp winds blow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A giddy little garden
Where the fruit is always ripe,
And every grinning grinder
Sits and pulls upon a pipe;

While all the father monkeys
Hang their fezzes on the twigs,
And teach the baby monkeys
How to master little jigs;

Until at last the mothers come,
As day begins to fade,
And tuck the baby monkeys up
To snoozle in the shade.

In the winter, in the winter,
When the clouds shake snow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A garden where the grinders
And the monkeys on a string
Are pleased to wait serenely
For the coming of the spring.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Storm in the Labrador Sea

The above video shows the Draken Harald Hårfagre, a replica Viking ship, amid icebergs and in rough weather as it transited the Atlantic. Doesn't look pleasant at all. As one of the crew members says near the end, "it's pretty amazing what size boats can actually handle seas like that, but if I were a Viking I would have turned right the f--- around and gone back in."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Soviet postage stamps

Click any image to enlarge
The title is self explanatory. Here, and after the jump, is a small collection of Soviet postage stamps.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Riding on neglected rails

Above is a video of a train crawling along a poorly maintained stretch of track. That got me wondering, especially with legislation about infrastructure repair on the horizon, what is the ownership of railroad tracks -- public or private?

It turns out railroad tracks are privately owned. I guess the whole issue of land grants to RR companies back in the 19th century should have been a clue to me about that fact. Regardless, the laws surrounding RR tracks must be complex. I suppose trains from other companies must have to lease time to travel on tracks, and who knows how RR right-of-ways impact local zoning, etc.

It seems like a railroad would be a utility, but I guess they are something different.

This section of neglected railroad track is owned by Pioneer RailCorp. They bought it from Maumee and Western Railroad and, from the comment accompanying the video, Pioneer had upgraded most of the rest of the track they had bought from Maumee and Western. This little section sure looks harrowing to run on.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The second attack on Pearl Harbor

Japanese H8K seaplane (click to enlarge)
Japanese war planners soon recognized that “crucial targets” such as the Pearl Harbor shipyards, maintenance shops and fuel-reserve facilities had been largely undamaged, according to an exhibit at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu. From those shipyards America mobilized an astoundingly speedy and effective effort to repair vessels damaged in the December attack.
The Japanese hoped to stymie that salvage work with Operation K, a bombing raid using the first two prototypes of the H8K amphibious plane.
While extremely successful, the first Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor had left several important targets -- fuel tanks, and dry docks -- undamaged. Three months after the first attack, they launched a second attack comprising of two long range H8K planes, each with four 550 lb bombs.

However, when they got over the target it was clouded in, and they dropped their bombs blindly. One hit a hillside and broke some windows, it is unknown where the other bombs fell.

I found this item via Bob's Blog which has a link to further information.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The Falkirk Wheel

In 2002 the Falkirk Wheel was opened in Scotland. It replaced a series of 11 locks that connected to canals that had a difference in height of 115ft. As you can see in the videos, it is a giant wheel that spins to cars which contain the boats to be moved between canals.

Above is a time lapse showing it in motion and immediately below in explanation as to how it works. The final video shows a ride from inside a boat using the wheel.