Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
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This and that
Cat that lives in the cold but doesn’t need earmuffs, on account of its ears being so small, here:
Their thick fur and short ears tell you that manuls ...
It's called a manul, and is also known as Pallas’s Cat, after the eighteenth century naturalist who first described it.
… have to deal with extreme cold. Because they protrude, ears are heat radiators: that’s why you need earmuffs in winter. To conserve heat, natural selection has produced smaller ears in species that live in cold areas. (This regularity is called “Allen’s Rule” by evolutionists.)
The Man from Why Evolution Is True says that this creature is “unbearably cute”. I agree that it is cute to look at, but does it have a cute personality?
Indeed. First the teeshirt:
And while I’m on about a teeshirt, how do you spell teeshirt? Is it teeshirt? Or T-shirt? Or tee-shirt? Or maybe t-shirt? Informative comments please. But however you spell it, I knew, as soon as I saw it, that this particular tea shirt would come in handy for here, today.
But now, take a look at that insect. What is the explanation of that?
Strange. I looks like an LP cover or something. Is this some kind of visual reference that might make sense to others attuned to pop culturecirca 1970? Or is it just the way it is, because that’s the way it just happens to be, for a merely private reason.
I now have to stop doing laborious postings about the Farnborough Airshow and read three chapters of Man, Economy and State by (a) Murray Rothbard and (b) 6pm this evening.
While concocting this Samizdata report on the Farnborough Airshow, I found myself tangenting off on the following thought, which had occurred to me on Saturday, soon after trying to take photos of the Red Arrows. I cut it from that posting. Too tangential. But I it now follows here.
What occurred to me, soon after first trying to photo them, was that the the Red Arrows are perfectly organised to attract and retain photographic fans, and perhaps even to inspire them to become seriously better photographers.
Some Red Arrows shots are so easy, they are pretty much foolproof. Talk about instant photo-gratification:
I took those last Saturday, along with this one and this one that I put in the Samizdata posting. Like I say, if you can’t make some kind of success of snaps like that, then stop snapping and take up needlework. Actually don’t because you’ll lack the necessary brainpower and hand-eye coordination for that also.
But other things that the Red Arrows do are a bit harder to photo. For example, they do a thing where they assemble in a little red, white and blue ball, or it looks like a ball because they’re coming straight at you. And then suddenly there’s a bang and they charge madly off in all directions. Get that a fraction of a second too late, and half of the planes will be out of the picture, leaving only multi-coloured smoke lines.
See what I mean? Neither of those are right. The one on the right is nearly right, but the plane on the left as we look is just too close to the edge of the shot.
Another Red Arrows trick is when two of them drive straight at each other, threatening serious disaster and serious news coverage. But if you want both airplanes in the one great shot, right on top of each other but pointing in opposite directions, your timing has to be flawless. You could try using one of those click-click-click-click-click features on your camera, if we have one on our camera, which we mostly do, and know how to use it, which we mostly don’t. I don’t, that’s for sure. (And even that click-click thing is probably not precise enough for this.) Mostly these days I do London views, and they stay put, so that click-click thing is outside my repertoire. Next time I see the Red Arrows, I may be better prepared.
Here are three failed versions of that scenario, by me:
Click on them if you want to see my originals. Neither the above slices nor what they were sliced out of are at all good, which is exactly my point. The off in all directions thing is my level of incompetence, and with the head on collision thing I am seriously out of my photographic depth.
But, of course, obviously, needless to say, it doesn’t take much googling to find these kinds of things done properly.
Here is an off in all directions shot, but with all the planes still in shot:
More near misses, by the Red Arrows and by others, here.
What I’m saying is that, photographically, with the Red Arrows, there’s something for every photographer, however inept, however expert. You get immediate photographic reward, pretty much for just being there with your camera. But however many times you see them and snap them, you’ll never feel you’ve done the best you ever will or ever could. I daresay quite a few photographers have learned all their tricks, just so they could photo the Red Arrows better, and better, and better. Show after show after show.
The Red Arrows started doing all these moves long before digital cameras, so I don’t suppose they deliberately planned things this way. But I bet their fans have multiplied in number now that they can bring cameras with them to the show.
Top left at Arts & Letters Daily today:
Everyone agrees that food portion sizes in depictions of the Last Supper have grown over the centuries. Not everyone agrees why… more»
Yes, all of my friends have been saying this for years, and hardly a day goes by without the argument erupting yet again among us about why. Why have those Last Supper portions got bigger? Why? Why?
Imagine having friends who didn’t even have an opinion about such things. Imagine friends who didn’t even know this, let alone care about it.
Seriously, it would be nice to think that the reason for this, assuming it is indeed so, is that, over the centuries, people have become better fed. But alas, Professor Martin Kemp says that it is probably more to do with painters becoming gradually more concerned about accuracy. Old paintings had head sizes for children all wrong, which was because of the painters, not because heads have altered in size. Ergo, they probably got food portion sizes wrong too, until they decided to get that right too.
Shame they took so long to invent the camera. Think of the arguments it would settle if there’d been cameras from the Stone Age onwards. I know, I know, you can’t make a camera out of stone. Make it cameras left here by space aliens, and looked after from then on very carefully.
Yes, finally managed to do that big Farnborough Airshow posting, with about twenty pictures. That’s my lot for today.
Wednesday: My thanks to 6000 for the very kind words.
Yesterday: went to Farnborough Air Show. Quite hot and humid. Me quite old. Hard going. But great to have gone.
Today: tried to blog about Farnborough Air Show, but spent entire day recovering from having gone to Farnborough Air Show.
Sorry and all that. Stay tuned.
Although, you can do wonders with Things, when you photo one Thing directly in front of another Thing. The Thing behind, actually quite far behind, can look as if it’s almost on top of the Thing in front. You can make two airplanes look almost intertwined.
The photos are of the Royal Navy’s Westland Lynx helicopter display team, aka the Black Cats, who will be performing at the Bournemouth Air Festival in August.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the Farnborough Air Show, assuming all goes well. I wonder if these aerial felines will be performing there also. Apparently not.
I love to photo airplanes, but usually my photos are too blurry (because too far up in the sky) and with a good view only of the underneath, like this:
And that’s one of the better ones.
With luck, tomorrow, I’ll get a closer look at an A380.
I like this:
Much of modern elite neuroticism derives from the combination of not working physically with the desire to look as if one did.
I’m not entirely sure it’s true, mind. But let’s hear it for things that are well put and make you pay attention. I often get into trouble at Samizdata for liking something because it is well put, shoving it up as an SQotD, and then getting accused of agreeing with it.
As for this snappy little soundbite maybe not being true, well, for starters, I don’t think is it only or even especially “elite” people who feel this way. Not working physically is now a majority condition, and it takes a bit of getting used to. And surely, it’s the nouveau indoors people, the first generation non-dirt-under-fingernails types who are now having to do the big adjusting. Don’t upper class poshies get to look hunky by doing sports? And then carrying on doing sports? And that hasn’t changed.
But maybe in America, it’s only the poshies who want to look physical. Maybe.
Maybe the difference is that posh people nearly look hunky, like always. But that non-poshies suddenly look like fat slobs, on account of now being fat slobs. And that’s what makes them neurotic.
Via Counting Cats, (rather belated) news of Taranis, which is pilotless and very stealthy, and which has actually been around for years as a kind of concept airplane. This latest version that they recently flew at Farnborough is just a bit less of a concept than it was.
Like most planes, Taranis cries out to be in a very flat picture, front on. These two pictures were the flattest I could manage.
Both came from the same picture, which I found at Centro Ufologico Taranto Magazine
The good news for all anti-greenies is that this Taranis may well have bene responsible for destroying a wind propeller, not so long ago. Although personally I think wind propellers are rather pretty. Pointless, but pretty.
According to most of the Counting Cats commenters, Taranis is far too slow to be serious. It is, say some of them, so slow it’s gay. But if slow means it can get cheap, and cheap means you can afford to thrash out quite a lot of them, that might also work to beat air defence systems - i.e. mad men with beards and rockets - might it not? Well, maybe not.
My favourite picture of Taranis is from way back, two years ago, when it looked like this:
The eyes are very exactly placed, don’t you think? Very Star Wars-like. But that was only a model.
The big point of all this is that unmanned swarms of planes, all controlled by guys back at base, are the future of aviation, and quite possibly of just about all aviation. Today the Docklands Light Railway, tomorrow: everything. It’s like all those Battle of Britain flight controllers didn’t have Douglas Bader getting in their way, with a mind of his own. They just flew all the planes themselves. And if one of their planes gets shot down, they always get to bail out and fight again another day.
The generation that has been wasting its life playing computer combat games may not have been wasting its life after all.
Earlier this evening I dined at Chateau Perry, and pudding was this:
Delicious. Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Obtainable here.
I know what you’re thinking. This is not hot news, and I took the photo only about an hour ago. So what happened to the decide later rule? The answer is that that rule applies to artistic impression. This photo is not here to make an artistic impression. It is to impart information.
Apologies for the break in service here. I am not exactly sure how long it lasted, but it seems now to be over and all is back to normal. Apparently there was a hard disc problem at Mein Host, and anything posted from yesterday afternoon until about a day or more later was lost, because the back-up had to be used to get things going again, which didn’t include yesterday afternoon onwards. Luckily for me I had a text back-up of my own of yesterday’s post and was able to repost it pretty much as was.
While all this was happening, I was wandering around London, oblivious, snapping, and later socialising. And I reckon some of the snaps were really pretty and pretty snappy. But remember what I said here? You don’t? Well, the only way you could be sure that you didn’t remember it was if you read it now. So anyway, that. Nothing topical happened. No A380s with burning engines flew by. There were not even any book launches, with blokes talking. So, no picture. Just: sorry about the interruption.
The blog posting (linked to from here) is entitled Exploitation Movie Posters 1939 - 1960. But why exactly are these movies referred to as “Exploitation” movies? Who is being exploited? And in what way is Apocalypse Now any less exploitative than the movies advertised in these particular posters?
I suppose the notion being got at is that it is our desire for pure and utterly undiluted entertainment, with no morally lofty excuse attached, to do with being educated, uplifted, improved, that is being “exploited”. Our baser instincts are being played to. Our ids are being massaged, while our egos look down, aghast.
Being a libertarian, I am particularly wary of the word “exploitation”, blurring as it does, often deliberately, the boundary between being used in a way that you consent to (often enthusiastically) and being used (often outrageously) in a way that you do not consent to. Dare to favour the first and you get accused of favouring the second. Which is a difficult trick to combat if you don’t realise what the trick is.
Putting the point about ids and egos in the language of consent, to talk of “exploitation” movies is to suggest that while our base appetites “consent” to watch movies like these, we ourselves do not. We are at the mercy of our appetites, who are co-opted by our “exploiters”. Our appetites betray us, enslave us even. But controlling our base appetites, if that’s what we decide they are, is for us to do for ourselves.
Personally I don’t think that there is anything wrong about enjoying Cat-Women of the Moon.
Rotated a little, and flattened. Original here:
They’re photoing Spain v Portugal. See comments here.
Incoming round robin email to all his friends from “just put me down as someone you know in the Army”, quoted here with permission:
Last weekend contained a lot of the things I love best about the Army, travelling around, meeting new people, and lots of low level flying in helicopters which never gets old. I was off to talk to the Estonians and the Gurkhas.
Estonians - big, friendly, tough, mostly look like Dolph Lundgren. Don’t like Russians, do like fighting with very big guns.
Gurkhas - short, friendly, tough, mostly look like Gurkhas. Don’t like - well nothing seems to bother them, they’re so incredibly polite, especially to officers. (Which is a little disorientating at first when you are used to serving with Lancastrian soldiers, who are polite but usually more - direct.) Gurkhas do like - fighting with anything, but especially kukris. (Small story there if someone reminds me when I’m back. Goes badly for the opposition.)
Gurkhas also seem to be natural chefs. I didn’t get the famously hot Gurkha curry I was promised (threatened?) but they still managed to make the contents of a 10 man ration pack into a really good chicken / beef / spaghetti meal. Sitting under the stars, with a head torch for dining light, eating with the Gurkhas and their officer in an Estonian camp ... Sounds almost romantic. Actually it was very peaceful; something about peaceful times in war zones makes them extra peaceful. Or maybe, like so many things, you just enjoy them more when you can’t take them for granted. Which is another benefit of the Army game.
Very vivid, I think.
There are some particularly excellent World Cup snaps here. I don’t know just how appalling the Boston Globe is when it comes to grovelling to Obama and being patronising about Palin (my guess would be: very), but boston.com can sure assemble great pics.
I don’t need to explain why this one, the first of them, is my favourite, do I?:
That was taken on Table Mountain.
Here are a couple that I was able to flatten:
Those silhouettes are Germans celebrating goal four against hapless Argentina.
And this next one is of a photographer setting up his remote control camera before a game. Behind the goalmouth?:
In general cameras figure prominently, and I’ll end with this one, because it doesn’t just feature Real Photographer cameras (Canon must have made a mint with cameras in the last decade), but also Billion Monkey cameras. I wonder who the people were with the Billion Monkey cameras? Spanish support staff of various sorts? FIFA hangers on? But maybe just regular fans who were in the right place at the right time:
I love how huge the Spanish captain/goalie is compared to little Blatter.
From a comment by me on this about the Battle of Britain, the movie, and the thing itself. JP’s posting went up a couple of days ago so not many will read it there. Or here, of course. But this bit was worth a further airing, I hope you agree:
I recently saw a TV documentary about the amazing Polish 303 Squadron, and I think they flew Hurricanes. If so, interesting. This strongly suggests that a great pilot in a good aircraft is way better than a poor pilot (as too many under-trained BoB Brits were, alas) in a great aircraft.
The Poles were given a big nod in the Battle of Britain movie, but were presented as Keystone Pilots - brave, enthusiastic, ignorant of the virtues of radio silence, and liable to be mistaken for Germans if shot down and captured by south of England farming yokels with pitchforks, ho ho. Barry Foster, who played their Squadron Leader in the movie, treated them as badly behaved children whom he was obliged to indulge.
The TV show I saw said they were true Top Guns, the best of the best. At first their desk-bound British Wing Commander (station commander?) didn’t believe their claims. So he got into a plane and went up to see for himself. When he got back, he said: F**k me (or the 1940 equivalent) it’s true, they really are as good as they say they are. I.e. the best in the RAF at that time.
But at least they got a semi-respectful mention in that movie. No Poles were allowed to march in the London victory parade of 1945. None. So the TV documentary said. The Government didn’t want to upset Stalin.
Actually it was 1946. According to Wikipedia:
The Soviet controlled but now internationally recognised government of Poland was invited to send a delegation to the London parade and, according to Hector McNeil, the British Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the The Times newspaper, promised to send a delegation. The Polish government stated that its army, air force and navy would be represented.
After British newspapers and public figures put pressure on their government to include the Polish Armed Forces in the West, the RAF’s Polish veterans were invited, but, according to some sources, refused to attend out of solidarity with those who had been omitted.
Britain’s Labour government argued that the invitation to the RAF’s Polish veterans was not being extended to other Polish armed forces in the West as a necessary compromise due to the political circumstances of the day. Britain’s Conservative opposition criticised the decision, and spoke of British “shame”. According to one source, Labour Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin apologized to General Anders about the affair.
So, not a blanket refusal to all Poles, assuming that is right. A little more complicated, and a little less dishonourable.
And I dare say that some of my readers will regard these two topics as a lot more closely connected than I do.
After the Scott Styris volcano erupted, Surrey became demoralised and suffered a string of t20 losses. I even got an eyewitness account from Michael J of their demeanour when losing to Middlesex at Lords. Very bad body language, said Michael J. They didn’t seem to be trying, said Michael J. My understanding of “body language” is not that they weren’t trying, but that they weren’t succeeding which is rather different, but however you account for it, Surrey were definitely doing very badly.
But a few days ago, they bounced back and beat Sussex. Nobody saw that coming. Surrey were on a bad losing streak. Sussex were top of the table, and still are. Perhaps that’s why Surrey won. Everybody involved just assumed they’d lose. Surrey relaxed and played well again. Sussex relaxed and played badly, most particularly their hitherto all-conquering top order:
1 2nb . . W . 1 | . . . 1 1 1wd W | 1 W . . 1 4 | 1 . 1 1 4 W |
4 1 . 1 1 . | . 4 . 4 4 . | 1 W . . . . | . . 1 . . . |
. 1 1 1 1 4 | 1 . 1 1 6 . | 1 . W 1 . 1 | . . 2 . 1 1 |
. 1 . 1 1 . | 1 . 1 1 1 1 | W . 1 1 1wd 1 1 | 1 . . 1 1wd 1 1 |
. 2 4 1 1 1 | 4 2 1 1 . 4 | 1 2 1 1 W 1 | 1 1 2 . 1wd 2 4
That was the entire Sussex innings, which Surrey were able to surpass with some ease. As you can all obviously see, Sussex slumped to 8-3, and, perhaps because so totally unprepared for such a circumstance, never really recovered. I knew you’d be excited.
Actually, quite a few people were a bit excited about this game, which happened in Sussex, because the start was delayed by what was described as “crowd congestion”. No doubt this congested crowd was likewise attracted by the certain prospect of watching Sussex crush their visitors. Arf arf.
The only way I could know the above numerical details of this game is if I copied and pasted them into a text file as they happened. Which I did. This takes me right back to my childhood when I used to score cricket matches in a score book. My elder brother, when small, used to have entire cricket matches going on inside his head. He would sit in a corner of his room, twiddling a dice, and all manner of cricket dramas would unfold, in, as I say, the secret chamber of his brain. Which is still a somewhat strange place.
As I get older this blog will get more and more weird, eventually culminating in the blogged version of senile dementia. If that happens, this won’t be the only blog thus afflicted. There will be numerous online versions of old gits and gitesses gibbering madly in the street to nobody, in fact I presume there already are. Although, actually, my family seems to consist mostly of people whose brains work perfectly (or as perfectly as they ever did), right up to the bit where they ... don’t. Which is good, I think.
This has been the hottest London weekend I can remember, and I have accomplished even less than usual during the last two days, which is saying something. Thank goodness for my huge but very efficient ice-making machine.
I have nothing to say of any interest about the World Cup Final between Spain and Holland, in extra time even as I write this. I am recording it, but that was mostly in case it was exciting, rather than because I really care. I marginally want Holland to win, but this is probably because I prefer Holland as a country, rather than having any great fondness for this particular Holland team,
Instead of wibbling on about that, let me show you my best recent photo, which was of the Strata, as glimpsed through one of the big and dirty windows of Waterloo Station. I can’t decide which of these two versions are best, so here are the both of them:
I think that one, above, is probably the more artistic one - looking a bit like one of those photo-realist paintings by that American chap. I especially like the dirtiness of the windows. But this next one is probably more informative:
One of the symptoms of a great London Big Thing is that you can recognise it at once in a photo, even if it is very blurred, or, as in this case, if you can only see a bit of it. This Thing definitely passes that test. I get more fond of it by the day.
But ... “Strata”? It’s not a very good name for it, is it? Strata suggests horizontality, like that of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, in particular the one over the waterfall, not a tower with all the lines on it going upwards and downwards. London needs to think of a different and better name for this Thing, that does justice to its three eyes and its sticking up, Batmanic ears, and to its mischievous, grinning demeanour. Any suggestions?
And Spain have just scored. If you care, you know. If you don’t know, you don’t care, so why do I tell you? Oh well. And now they’ve won. Hurrah.
Tonight on Fiver, if the Radio Times is to be believed:
11.00 She Stole My Foetus Cases in which pregnant women are attacked, with the foetus being delivered by Caesarean and abducted.
Pass. But good to read about, I think.
Today I attended a lunchtime bash at the IEA in aid of Austrian Economics, staged by the Cobden Centre. Photoing speakers is rather hard, because when people talk, they move about. Bbut I managed after a fashion, and it is truly remarkable how much a bit of light sharpening with my Photoshop clone improved things.
The best pictures, as pictures, in the artistic sense, were a couple that I took of Tim Evans:
On the left, Tim notices me doing what I always do whenever other photographers are in action besides me. On the right, Tim poses next to a picture of Tim Congdon, the IEA’s evil monetarist, whom it is Tim’s and the Cobden Centre’s ambition to flatten into a bloody pancake of total policy non-influence.
Incoming from “Tony et famille”, who live in Quimper, Brittany:
I caught Caesar the cat in the act of sneezing on the hot tin roof of our car in Quimper.
According to the date embedded in this picture, this took place as long ago as September 7th 2009, or maybe even July 9th 2009. Yet did the mainstream media pay any attention to this sensational circumstance, either at the time or since? I googled “cat on hot tin roof” but all I got was a lot of drivel about a play. No wonder blogs are taking over the media world.
If you would like to use the pic in your blog the usual fee of 50000 Euros will apply ...
Fine. I’ll settle up in a couple of years, by which time a single figure clutch of our British pounds should more than suffice to obtain the appropriate brick of Euros.
County cricket blogging warning. Blogging about county cricket force four to six, imminent:
Paul Sheldon, the Surrey chief executive, has criticised the ‘frenetic’ schedule in this season’s Friend Provident t20 and has called for a reduced Twenty20 competition to be fit into a four-week window next year.
According to Cricinfo, Surrey are now playing against Middlesex even as I blog, in the early evening, and are then scheduled to start their next game in Cardiff tomorrow at 1am. Well, that’s what 01:00 local time and 00:00 GMT means, isn’t it? It has to mean 1pm, and 12:00 GMT, but perhaps Sheldon has been working to this schedule, in which case no wonder he thinks things are a bit frenetic. To say nothing of spectator unfriendly.
[FRIDAY MORNING: This has now been corrected. The match begins not at 1pm, which would also have been pretty frenetic, travelwise, but at 6.30pm. Was there a riot at 1am this morning when play failed to begin? Somehow I doubt it.]
But that’s a mere typo. Something far stranger than that happened in another recent t20 game, one between Northants and Yorkshire on July 2nd, as this slightly-shrunk-to-fit screensave shows:
If there is just one ball left in a limited overs game, and the batting side has to score twelve runs to avoid losing and one more than that to win, what’s the one thing you absolutely must not do? Correct. You mustn’t bowl a no ball. Bowl any other sort of crap ball so long as it’s legal, and the batsman can hit it out of the ground and for that matter out of the county, but the batsman can only get six runs no matter how far and how magnificently he hits it, the game is over and the bowling side wins.
But look what Richard Pyrah did. And Boje hit it for six, and could then have won the match for Northants had he hit the next and genuinely final ball for six also. As it was he hit the last ball for a mere four and it was a tie, snatched by Pyrah from the jaws of victory and handed to Yorkshire on a plate.
Quoth Cricinfo about Pyrah:
Richard Pyrah is batting allrounder who has carved a niche for himself with some steady performances in one-day cricket. His Championship efforts have been less sparkling, ...
Lucky for him he’s a batting allrounder, or that moment of madness could have cost him his entire career. It still might:
It will be interesting to see if the Yorkshire cricket history books will be kind enough to judge Richard Pyrah as simply unfortunate. But the 27-year-old all-rounder earned himself a place in Yorkshire folklore by conceding 12 off the final ball of a Twenty20 match to hand Northamptonshire a tie.
This Cricinfo report of the game, in particular its headline, gives Nicky Boje the credit for this circumstance, mentioning Pyrah’s astonishing blunder only in passing. Yet, excellent though Boje’s slogging was, it was Pyrah who did the truly remarkable thing here, not Boje. If an England footballer had done anything as inept as this during the World Cup, it would have been been front page news, and he would be notorious for ever.
This guy explains how well Pyrah has bowled in other games, and points out that it was a no ball on height rather than because he overstepped the line.
So how the hell is that a no ball? He hit it for six. A no ball for height is if it is too high to hit, isn’t it?
And Yorkshire fans who boo Richard Pyrah are not Yorkshire fans at all.
Pyrah vs Northants home 4-0-19-1 (won)
Pyrah vs Lancs 3.1-0-11-2 (won)
Pyrah vs Leics 4-0-19-2 (won)
Pyrah vs Notts 4-0-17-1 (won)
As a defence of Pyrah’s future career, that’s fine, but I’m afraid it doesn’t excuse the no ball. Pyrah either does know the rules or should have. Obeying them was all he had to do. Anyone could have done this. I could have done this. Boje’s treatment of my ball would have slightly worsened the earth orbit debris problem, but it would not have been a no ball and Yorkshire would have won. As we bloggers say: epic fail.
These guys at Betfair are right on the money, their money:
unbelievable knocked the commentary off with 13 needed of one ball or whatever it was waiting for my profit can’t believe what happened
How much did that bloke lose, I wonder?
It goes to show you never can tell.
I tend to wait a few days before sticking photos up here. But, surely (says the voice in my head and maybe in yours too) pictures on blogs should be bang up to the minute! How lazy am I! Why not snap, pick the best ones, and post, all on the same day?
If I ever stumble upon a Big News Story, and have the presence of mind and the luck to take a good snap of it, then scrub the above. I will bomb the world with my picture asap. If there is any topicality involved, then yes, allowing time to pass turns the photos stale. Those photos I took of that book launch a few days ago were posted the same evening. But if the photos are of something that won’t be changing much in the space of a few days and which wasn’t topical to start with, and if all they are here for is to look pretty ...
The thing is, I find it hard to be objective about photographs which I can still remember actually taking. If I look at a photo within only an hour or two of taking it, how it then looks is all mixed up with how it looked when I was taking it, and with how I wanted it to look when I was taking it. Snaps which I was nearly shouting out loud with excitement about when I was taking them are often a disappointment, while others which I hardly thought about at the time can come out much better, but I can’t see it because I’m not expecting to. I need to shake free from all this confusion, and see the photos as if someone else had taken them.
After a few days have passed, someone else did.
The other day, and as always with other days it does not matter which other day, I was walking across a road junction on a green pedestrian light, and then nearly got driven into by a cyclist who was ignoring red lights, who then shouted at me for not getting out of his way.
All of which made we want to show you this:
Drunk drivers. They do what you only want to do.
Lightly sharpened by me. The point of the original was what’s underneath the clutter, so the clutter remained a bit vague. The point of this clutter for me is the clutter. So, I sharpened it, lightly.
Railways are an infuriating source of foreground clutter to photographers, or in my case a wonderful source of foreground clutter, because I like clutter. Except pavement clutter for some reason. Railway clutter good. Roof clutter good. Pavement clutter not good.
Why the difference? I think it’s because railway clutter and roof clutter are totally functional. All the clutter is there for a very good reason. Pavement clutter is mostly there just to nag us and threaten us and spy on us, and it gets in the way. Roof clutter doesn’t get in the way. Railway clutter helps you on your way.
Today I went through the Leake Street tunnel, described by me it this SQotD posting. I photoed this work in progress:
I prepared another version of this, by cropping it down to just the girl, but it stopped being a quite interesting photo, and just became a not all that well done painting of a girl with a spray can.
A more typical Leake Street image, taken (like that SQotD) in March, would be something like this:
I like the hand holding the cassette. This is how Billion Monkeys often hold their cameras.
Next door as in the staircase of flats round the corner from me, different numbers, same name, which makes their kitchen window hardly any distance away from my kitchen window, both windows looking down on the same yard. And earlier this week, after opening my window wide and pulling up the blind to try to cool things down a bit, I saw ... a cat. As shown to the right.
It was a somewhat strange cat, and in some ways hard to photo, on account of it having a big dark splodge in the middle of its face. But, photographically, it had one huge virtue. It stayed still. It stayed still and just stared at me, in a way that looked very disapproving. I took lots of photos, and it carried on staring. I raised the window, which made a noise, and it retreated a bit, but it carried on staring. As with all cats, its demeanour made it look like a particular sort of quite intelligent human, in this case a very disapproving human, but it was probably just sitting there thinking, better keep an eye on that creature in case it tries to attack me or steal my territory.
Here are two of the better closer up snaps I took, snaps in which you can actually see eyes:
More cat bloggage from Guido here.