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Category archive: Other creatures

Sunday March 17 2019

Was out in Bermondsey today, and as usual photoed lots of photos.  But the light was dreary, so here is a photo I took in the same place just under a month ago, on February 19th:

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Vapour trail weather, which I love.  And not just for the vapour trails.  In such weather, everything looks good.  Those two birds, for instance.  They look very good.

Ah, the Summer of February 2019.  They don’t make them like that any more, except that they just did.

Friday March 15 2019

Here are three photos I took, on May 21st of that year:

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I vaguely recall refraining from showing them here (and there was indeed a here then) because I had no idea what was going on.  I still have no idea what was going on.  I should have asked more questions at the time.

Some kind of sporting event promotion perhaps?

Taiwan Birds (well worth a long scroll down there (some truly amazing birds (I think))) yesterday featured this remarkable photo ...:

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…, and has this to say about it:

Congratulations to Chen Chen-kuang … for winning the Hamdan HIPA Prize for his shot of a ...

… see above.

And there was me thinking that “Drongo” was just a word made up by Australians to describe … drongos.  Apparently drongos really exist, and presumably drongos behave in a way that Australians disapprove of.

Taiwan Birds adds:

Never leave your camera behind! And spend years refining your skills ...

Indeed.

Some video that says a lot about a lot, here.

Friday March 08 2019

There are, in this world, a great many horses made of driftwood.  I learned this by googling “driftwood horse”, and I also learned that a major contributor to the diftwood horse mountain is Heather Jansch.

Whether Heather Jansch was responsible for this particular driftwood horse, I do not know, but there it was, in a shop window, in the middle of London.  And, as you can maybe see if you know what I look like, I photoed it:

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I wasn’t trying for a selfie.  I just wanted the driftwood horse itself, with as little in the way of reflection as the light would allow.

After failing to find this particular driftwood horse by googling “driftwood horse”, I tried “driftwood horse shop window”, and I found it, in the form of a photo of the exact same driftwood horse in the exact same shop window.

Friday March 01 2019

The summer of February 2019 has now ended, but I still have some photo-memories of it to stick up here.

These photos, for instance, of a man whom GodDaughter2 and I encountered in Hyde Park, back on February 15th.  As I have already related, there was a lot of feeding of birds going on that day, but before all that bird frenzy, we had already encountered a guy who had taken the feeding of birds (and squirrels) to a whole new level.  He wasn’t so much feeding these creatures as laying on a free canteen for them.  And they obviously knew this, and greeted him like a long lost friend.

I photoed him and his friends (who included two green parrots), a lot:

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You can see evolution taking a distinct turn towards something different, can’t you?  The most trusting and friendly and fearless creatures are the ones who get best fed.

Friday February 22 2019

Yes, about that horse’s head sculpture that I showed a photo of here, a week ago.

I complained about how the way its neck was sliced through was maybe too obtrusive a part of the whole effect.

Well look at this other photo I took of it:

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Sorry about the bus, but this is my only photo from anything like the angle I need to make my point.  Which is, that the severed neck looks like a face, and the horse’s ears look like little arms pointing upwards.

And the whole thing looks like one of those idiotic Olympic mascots.

Not, surely, the look the sculptor was going for.

When GodDaughter2 and I took a walk through Hyde Park last week, we inevitably walked past the Serpentine, and next to the Serpentine, there was a lot of bird feeding going on, and I mean a lot.  Great screaming flocks of birds, birds of all sorts all muddled together, were assembling themselves around happy humans, who were chucking stuff at them.  It was also noticeable how very insistent birds were about checking out strangers, like me, to see what stuff we might have on our persons to chuck at them.

Here is a particularly fun photo I took of all this avian drama, fun because it turned out so artistic, being mainly monochrome (because photoed into the sun) and monochrome is artistic.  Monochrome, that is, apart from the bright red feet of one of the bigger birds (also because photoed into the sun – this time with the sun shining through those feet), which makes the photo even more artistic:

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But why was all this bird-on-human excitement happening, so intensely and on such a scale?

The answer lay in a shop next to the water.  To my extreme shame, I did not photo the outside of this shop and cannot recall what it looked like.  I only snapped interior scenes, of intriguing products on sale inside the shop.  One of these products was the answer to this bird-human mystery.

The usual feelings that humans have about feeding birds in parks are (1) Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to feed the birds?  But also (2) Don’t feed the birds!  It will give them a stomach ache.  It might even kill them.  Don’t feed the birds!  Often there are signs to this effect.

But at the Serpentine, there is a different and non-contradictory regime in place.  Feed the birds … this!  And all was explained:

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I computer enhanced that to make it less dim and dreary, what with the dim and dreary (at least compared to the bedazzlement outside) interior light.

You can bet that the shop assistants in that shop spent a quite large proportion of their day explaining to customers that yes, we know, you want to have fun feeding the birds!  But, no indeed, you must not feed the birds human food!  So, feed them this food!  Fun for you!  Food for the birds!  Win win!

Thursday February 21 2019

The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel is what Wikipedia calls it.  Sheraton now calls it the Sheraton Park Hotel. Whatever we call it, this is one of my favourite London buildings from the concrete monstrosity era, partly because nobody who worries about being aesthetically elevated likes the work of its architect Richard Seifert.  Such people also do not like One Kemble Street, or Centre Point, also by Seifert, either.  Too commercial.  Too brash.  Too assertive.  Too symmetrical.  Starchitecture before Starchitecture became chic, and not chic enough.

All the photos you see on the internet of this Park Hotel tend to look like this ...:

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… i.e. photoed from nearby, so that you can’t see the magnificence of the Roof Clutter on the top.

So now I will correct this regrettable imbalance, by inserting these views of the Park Hotel photoed by me last Friday from way off in the middle of Hyde Park, into the vast ocean of internet imagery, in the hope that public attention will be drawn to this wonderful and spontaneous assemblage of roof sculpture:

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I especially like that last one.  Trees, mist, and then Park Hotel, in soft focus.  Or, out of focus, as we digital snappers say.

Norman castles were evil stone monstrosities when first inflicted upon this green and pleasant land.  But as that style retreated, they turned into picturesque ruins.  The Concrete Monstrosity style is already in headlong retreat, and I like it more and more.

Memo to self: check out this car park, before they destroy it, which they have now decided that they will.

Saturday February 16 2019

On Thursday, perfet weather was perfectly prophesied by our brilliant short-term weather forecasters, and I journeyed to the Dome and places south, to take a closer look at The Optic Cloak:

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And then yesterday afternoon, following a similarly prescient forecast, forecasting similarly perfect weather, GodDaughter2 and I, as recounted yesterday, walked through Hyde Park:

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That being one of the accompanying sculptural collections next to the Albert Memorial, which at the moment I think I prefer to the Memorial itself.

I basically spent today recovering from all this self-propelled travel.  You, like me, are not getting any younger, no matter how young you may now be.  But this expression is only used by people of my kind of age to describe how I felt after two such days of exertion.

Friday February 15 2019

This afternoon, GodDaughter2 and I walked from the Royal College of Music, up past the Albert Memorial, then through Hyde Park to Hyde Park Corner, and then on to Soho Square.

At Hyde Park Corner, GD2 directed me to this sculpture, which I never knew about until today:

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GD2 likes this, especially at night when it’s lit up. 

This guy also likes it.  This guy, on the other hand, hates it.

Me, I’m not sure.  It’s very striking, was my first reaction.  But now, I’m troubled by the way that, because the head is pointing downwards, the cut through the neck of the horse seems like a real cut, rather than just a sculptural convention.  It made me think of that famously gruesome horse’s head in the bed scene in The Godfather.  Perhaps more seriously, I feel that the way the neck is cut like that makes the shape of the object as seen from a distance excessively determined by the cut, rather than by the fact that it’s a horse’s head.

The problem is that, what with this sculpture being called Still Water, the horse’s head has to be pointing downwards, because the horse is presumably drinking that water.  So if you want only the horse’s head, that head has to be cut off, one way or another, and any way that happens is liable to count for more than it should.

Friday February 08 2019

When I was a kid, “Air Forces Memorial” meant this building which looks out over Runnymede, and which was only a walk away from where we lived.

But there are, of course, several RAF Memorials in London, and here is a photo I often try to take but seldom do very well with, of the eagle which perches on this memorial:

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This eagle usually comes out blurry, with only the trees behind coming out well.  All that reflected light off the gold of the eagle seems to frazzle the brain of my camera.  But not on the Monday before last.

The above photo was taken from the other side of the river, with maximum zoom.  Swivel to the left a bit and you see this even more famous item, which is now, as already noted, smothered in scaffolding:

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I especially like the pile of staircases on the left of the scaffolding.

Friday February 01 2019

This is definitely my favourite Other creatures story of recent months. Months because this was reported on before Christmas, and I’ve only just got around to mentioning it here.

Parrot used Amazon Alexa to order items while his owner was away:

So far Rocco the African Grey, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, U.K., has demanded treats such as strawberries, watermelon, raisins, broccoli and ice cream.

He has also ordered a kite, light bulbs and even a kettle.

Rocco likes to dance too and tells the voice-activated device to play favorite tunes. Sometimes they are slow numbers, but he generally prefers rock.

Where is voice recognition when you need it?

Alexa needs a setting, for junior members of a household, for whom she is allowed to play musical requests, but from whom she is not allowed to take purchase orders.

You’d think that with lots of kids in the world, many causing havoc, Alexa would be able to make the necessary distinctions.  But it sure is entertaining when she doesn’t.

Wednesday January 16 2019

With thanks to Patrick Crozier‘s Twitter feed, this, posted by Steve Stewart-Williams.

He got it from Denny Borsboom, who says (at his Facebook page), this:

Different scientific models can have equivalent observational consequences. In statistics, this is known as statistical equivalence; in the philosophy of science, underdetermination of theory by data. This is often hard to explain and I know few good illustrations that go beyond Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit. This GIF is a really nice illustration - and beautiful too.

If I knew how to post a GIF here, I would.  But I couldn’t make that work.

For me, the the star with seven points is the most remarkable aspect of this.

Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit is presumably that creature that looks like both a duck and a rabbit, depending.

Friday January 11 2019

I was in the West End earlier this evening.  Not having done any blogging here today, and today being Friday, I kept my eyes open for something creaturely.

I spotted this, in the window of one of those very Old School shops, in Cecil Court:

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Ah, cigarette cards.  Never had them here before.  And I don’t think poultry have been featured here before either.

Click to get them a bit bigger.