Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Halloween cheesecake

Click image to enlarge

The cheesecake in my Halloween photo for this post is just fine, but it strikes me that the two pumpkins in it fall far short on the spookiness scale.  Rather than being scary, the one on the right looks like nothing more than a cheerful doofus. In fact, from his visage, he might be the village idiot of Pumpkinville. Meanwhile, the one on the left, with its eyeballs pointing hither and yon, looks like it is harmlessly crazy rather than frightening. The photographer's pumpkin carvers needed to up their game.

That said, have a good Halloween. Hopefully you won't get 'healthy' treats for your tricks, your house doesn't get TPed by local hooligans and your little tykes, if you have any, don't hurt themselves as they bounce off the walls from their candy-induced sugar rushes.   


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Boynton’s Bicycle Railroad

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In the 1880s Eben Moody Boynton acquired an old set of railroad tracks on Long Island running between Gravesend and Coney Island. He used this set of tracks to create the Boynton’s Bicycle Railroad which started operation in 1890. It was the first monorail. The locomotive and cars sat atop a single line of wheels and were stabilized by an overhead guiding beam. The train was narrow, allowing both tracks of the conventional rail line to be used at the same time. It operated for two years.

Eben Moody Boynton

Friday, October 27, 2023


Get ready for a dissolving weekend with Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba.


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge On The River Kwai is an entertaining movie, but there was always something that seemed very off about it. Lt. Colonel Nicholson, the British officer who decides to build a great bridge to show the Japanese the superiority of the English, is a ridiculous character that is hard to take seriously. Above is a video that discusses the actual building of that bridge and Lt. Colonel Philip Toosey DSO, the British officer who commanded the POWs, and who was far from the blithering nitwit shown in the movie.  


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Henry Ossawa Tanner paintings

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Henry Ossawa Tanner was a late 19th century, early 20th century painter. He was originally from Pennsylvania. However, being a black, his career path was constrained and so he eventually moved to France where he faced less obstacles because of his race. 

His style was realism, with a lot of expressionism frequently mixed in. I found a lot of his compositions to be unusual, with main elements frequently moved to the side and balanced by dark and light. He painted a lot of religious subjects, which is what he is primarily known for.  

Henry Ossawa Tanner

Friday, October 20, 2023

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Gyimes, a village in the Carpathian Mountains

These are scenes from Gyimes, a small rural village in Transylvania. What I know about Transylvania comes from old Bela Lagosi Dracula movies. In the video I didn't notice any fellows eating flies or turning into bats, but perhaps that just wasn't filmed.

The village is in a valley in the Carpathians. Some of my ancestors came from around that area, so maybe a distant cousin or two was in the video. It is a pleasant looking place, although rather too rustic looking for my taste. 


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Paintings of waterfalls

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Waterfalls are engrossing, and frequently spectacular, features of nature. They are of course shown in paintings, sometimes exclusively featuring the waterfalls, sometimes just using them as a focal point of a landscape. However, as you'll see in these examples, moving water is difficult to capture. Some of these images do it well, some fall short of the mark.  

The picture above is the top of Niagra Falls. While putting the post together I wondered about people who had gone over the falls. If not accidental, early attempts to ride through a descent of the Falls were done in barrels, although later large balls became the popular choice for thrill-seeking nitwits. At any rate, the list is split between intentional publicity stunts, unfortunate boaters and drunks who lost their footing.  

Friday, October 13, 2023

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Seeing sound

I've posted about sound and vision before with a 19th century Welsh singer's attempt to visualize sound, as well as a method to recreate sound from video by analyzing minute vibrations recorded. In this video an array of microphones acts as an acoustic lens to capture sound, which is then displayed on an image. This allows designers to study which components of a device are creating the sounds. He also demonstrates by showing the sound locations of an echo. 


Sunday, October 08, 2023

The artwork of Hiroshi Yoshida

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Hiroshi Yoshida was a 20th century Japanese painter and print maker. He was trained in the Western style of oil painting, but eventually moved on to Shin-hanga, which was a return to more a traditional, collaborative woodblock process. However, it still retained a lot of Western influences, particularly in the use of light and color. Shin-hanga prints were primarily aimed for sale to Western audiences.

Hiroshi Yoshida travelled extensively. He visited America, Europe, India and Southeast Asia. Much of his work is landscapes and scenes from the places he visited. It is interesting to see them through the lens of Japanese stylism. 

Hiroshi Yoshida

Thursday, October 05, 2023

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Get ready for a blanched weekend with Horst Gössl.

Eeeks! I posted the TGIF music video a day early. Senility sets in. I'm retired and so every day is a Saturday to me, and today my fog over what day-of-the-week it is tripped me up. Enjoy the video anyway, and I hope I didn't get any worker bees prematurely excited that the work week was nearly over.  


Wednesday, October 04, 2023

The mechanics of pumping gas

A good description of the workings of the automatic shutoff of a gas pump nozzle when the tank is full. In the comments weehoo4430 elaborates:

I’m an engineer and I used to work for the company that originally created that design. Actually, I redesigned that ball bearing mechanism. I can confirm that you are correct in your assessment of how it works. Also, most gas nozzles have a second diaphragm or plunger (not membrane) that deflects when there is pressure in the fuel line. It is used for prepay fill up. When you hit the prepay amount the dispenser shuts off, the pressure in the nozzle drops and that second diaphragm which is spring biased up will move and shut the nozzle off. There is a third shutoff in some nozzles that is called an attitude device. When a … moron… pulls a flowing nozzle out of a car’s fill pipe, a ball bearing blocks the pickup tube and shuts the nozzle off.