Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Again

The Christmas season has arrived, as it usually does this time of year.  Most people view Christmas as a time of feverish activity.  And, as a result, they talk about how much they hate it.  In fact, talking about how much one hates Christmas is almost as popular as talking about how much one hates the Star Wars prequels.  

Christmas for me, though, is a time to rest.  I don’t get invited to many Christmas events.  I guess that most people must, given how they view Christmas as a frenzy.  But I don’t.  

And I don’t see how Christmas shopping can be considered stressful in this age of Amazon one-click ordering. 

I could write more on the subject, but instead I’m going to try to relax and enjoy the Christmas season for a few days. 

And you should too.  

But, before you do, read (or re-read) what I consider to be my classic Christmas blog post.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

NBC Is Bringing Back the Olympics Triplecast . . . This Is Getting Weird

First I express the desire for mummies to make a resurgence in popular culture, and then find out that a major mummy movie (say that three hundred times fast) will be released next summer.  And now, after hoping, for no good reason, for NBC to revive its failed Nineties experiment, the Olympics Triplecast, I learn that they are doing just that.  Well, it’s not really the Triplecast, but it is a new cable network devoted entirely to the Olympics, which is close enough to make me feel as if I have at least a mild case of prophecy.

As far as I know, no one is currently producing a crossover of iCarly and I, Claudius.  But still, two of my blog wishes have come true, so I’m going to come out and say it: I want the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals to come back, and indeed I would like to be the one to introduce them to the world, and for some of the larger ones I would like to be able to get on their backs and ride around on them.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Icicles: Winter Is Coming

I saw these icicles over the weekend.  They are a reminder that winter is coming, or, if you, like me, go by meteorological winter, that winter is already here.  

“Winter is coming” is the catchphrase from the popular television series Game of Thrones.  I have never actually seen this show, despite the fact that it looks like the sort of thing that I would like.  Maybe one day I will take the time to watch it all.  Until then, I must rely on the basic knowledge that the characters in Game of Thrones live in an epic quasi-Medieval fantasy world, doing epic quasi-Medieval fantasy things, and occasionally reminding each other that winter is coming.  

For example:

[Somebody is fighting a dragon.]

[They pause.]

Somebody: Winter is coming.

Dragon: Yes, winter is coming.

[They resume fighting.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wait a Minute . . . We ARE Having a Mummy Resurgence

In a recent post, I opined that mummies should be the next big thing in popular horror.  Now it turns out that next summer there will be a major mummy movie, starring Tom Cruise.  The trailer was released last week.  

I almost think that I should blog about other things that I want, and see if they come true.

I could start with the dinosaurs returning, but that might be taking things too far.  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Does Not Inspire Blogging

Over the years Halloween and Christmas have inspired their share of blog posts here.  Thanksgiving never has (other than this), though I don’t know why. 

Maybe if I were still using my old computer I could use the drawing software to try to draw a turkey, as I used to draw things for Halloween.  But my new computer doesn’t have any drawing software.

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Maybe We Could Have a Mummy Resurgence

The Halloween season is coming to an end.  Soon the last of the plastic skeletons and fake spiderwebs will be removed from front yards.  Normally Halloween inspires me to blog, but this year I just didn’t feel it, for a variety of reasons.

I do have one thought in the general field of spookiness.  We are currently in a zombie craze, centered on The Walking Dead.  And before that we had a long period of vampire popularity, centered on the Twilight books and movies, as well as various television shows.

My hope is that the next stock horror creature to capture the public’s imagination will be the mummy.  Compared to vampires and zombies, mummies are more closely based in historical reality (except of course for the rising from the dead part). We would get a chance to visit the ancient and alien world of the pharaohs, where the Nile winds its way through the desert sands in the shadow of strange stone monuments. 

Plus we’d get to use cool words like sarcophagus, sphinx, and obelisk.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tales from the Alexandria Necropolis: The Halloween Bear

Since it’s almost Halloween, it’s time that I finish some business from Halloween of last year.  

In the southeastern corner of Alexandria, there is a large complex of cemeteries that covers 35 acres or more.  Most maps label the entire thing as Alexandria National Cemetery (the precursor to Arlington National Cemetery), but Alexandria National Cemetery only makes up a small part of the complex.  The rest is composed of lots belonging to various Alexandria churches.  

The cemeteries are filled with the sort of ornate grave markers that were popular a hundred years ago or more.   

On Halloween of last year (2015), I happened to be in the area of this cemetery complex, and decided to take a walk there, because it seemed like a Halloweeny thing to do, and I hoped that something Halloweeny would happen.  

Nothing Halloweeny happened.

But I did come across this bear, which has to be the most un-Halloweeny thing imaginable.

October Sky

October Sky is the name of a 1999 movie based on the life of former NASA engineer Homer Hickam.  The original title, Rocket Boys, taken from Hickam’s autobiography, was changed when marketing research revealed that women over thirty would not see a movie called Rocket Boys.  (The two titles are anagrams.)

In 1999 I saw Hickam on David Letterman’s CBS show promoting the film.  Letterman recalled an occasion on which the producers of Letterman’s earlier NBC show attempted to enlist Hickam to teach Letterman to scuba dive for a special underwater episode.  The idea turned out to be unworkable, however, as at that time of year the local sea water was so cold that Letterman would have frozen to death over the course of the hour-long show.  That would have been a great loss to television, especially during Letterman’s earlier, funnier days.  

I have never seen October Sky, nor does it, or Homer Hickam, or David Letterman, have anything to do with these pictures.   

They are simply some pictures of the October sky.  

(As always, click to enlarge.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Star Wars and Otherwise Name Confusion

Before I saw the newest Star Wars movie, I blogged my worries about it.  

Ever since I saw it, I have been wanting to blog my reaction.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get that post finished. 

I do feel that I have gotten a little closer now that I have resolved my confusion regarding Riley Keough, Rilo Kiley, and Kylo Ren.  

Friday, September 23, 2016


I have a huge backlog of things that I want to write for the blog, going back years.  But I rarely finish writing any of it, because life it too tiring, and it’s easier to just put up some pictures.  

Here are some eveningscapes from May. 

As always, click to enlarge. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

455 Page Views

After posting my last post, I took a look at the statistics for the blog.  

I found that, on August 25, the blog had received 455 page views. 

For some blogs, that might not be out of the ordinary.  But this blog is only read by my family and friends, and then only when I specifically instruct them to.  On most days this blog gets at most one or two page views.  

I must assume that this one outstanding day was the result of the actions of a bot.  I don’t know that the purpose of the bot was, but perhaps it was to make obscure bloggers feel good about themselves.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

(I felt that I should have one more post for August.)

As always, click to enlarge

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Olympics Triplecast

The summer Olympics are almost here, and my only thought on the subject is wondering whether NBC will bring back the Olympics Triplecast.  

And if they bring back the Olympics Triplecast, will they have Bill Cosby do another commercial for it?

Okay, maybe not . . . 

If I were a sports fan, I would probably have a head full of Olympic memories about Michael Phelps, and Mary Lou Retton, and Bruce Jenner from before . . . well, it’s probably best not to get into all that. 

But I’m not a sports fan, so all that I remember about the Olympics from my youth is the Triplecast, which I never actually saw (nor did many other people), and which was a financial disaster for its network. 

I wish that I had had an opportunity to discuss the issue with the president of NBC.

Me: Will NBC be bringing back the Olympics Triplecast for the 2016 Olympics?

President of NBC: There are no plans to do that.

Me: Will there be any plans in the future, like for the winter Olympics, or the next summer Olympics?

President of NBC: No. 

Me: How about applying the Triplecast retroactively to the 2012 Olympics?

(On a final note, I’ve spent the last few decades thinking that the program was called the “Olympic Triplecast”, but upon researching this post I found that the correct name was “Olympics Triplecast”.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Megalania Trump

As I have written before, it is not the purpose of this blog to comment on political issues.  

However, I feel that in our current election season, I should emphasize the importance of not confusing Melania Trump with Megalania Trump . . . or, for that matter, with Meiolania Trump

(I must admit that that’s what I tend to do.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Lost Shoes of the World

Do you ever see a shoe lying abandoned in some random location, and wonder how the shoe got there, and what befell the other shoe in the pair?

I have seen two such shoes recently.  

The first was a woman's shoe, stuck in the mud at the bottom of a puddle on the edge of a parking lot.  American Toads had laid eggs in the puddle a few weeks earlier; if you look closely, you can see a tadpole swimming around inside the shoe.  

The second was an old red sneaker.  It floated upside down in a backwater pool of a rocky stream, absolutely motionless, forming an odd vista of cosmic peace and harmony.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Last week the world witnessed Brexit, in which citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

It is not the purpose of this blog to comment on controversial political issues in any meaningful way.  

The blog may, though, comment in a non-meaningful way.  Thus, I will offer two opinions.  

1. Supporters of Brexit should have been known as the Brexit Club, in reference to the John Hughes movie

2. The motto of the Brexit movement should have been "Brekekekexit Koax Koax", from the frogs of Aristophanes.  One might object that a motto based on ancient Greek drama is too arcane for modern politics; however, the motto does fit well with the image that we like to have of the English sitting in drawing rooms saying witty and learned things.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lizards in Love

We are in the midst of the mating season for the Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus).  Over the past few weeks I been seeing them engaged in their courtship behavior.  Now I'm using the resulting photos to make a blog post on lizards in love. (When I think the phrase "lizards in love", I think it to the tune of "Lawyers in Love", a once-popular but now forgotten song from my Eighties childhood.)

The first two are from Memorial Day, and the third is from Saturday.

(Click to enlarge.)


(It's also interesting to note that in the second picture the male retains vestiges of the juvenile stripe pattern, which is usually lost in mature males.)

There are places here in Alexandria where skinks are abundant, but I'm the only one who ever seems to notice them.  Probably hundreds of people walk by the skinks every day without ever knowing that they're there.  But I guess that many things in life are never seen or appreciated by most people.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Old Picture That Once Was New

It looks as if we are only a few minutes away from June.  How did that happen?  It seemed as if May had just started.  

But then, I am still trying to figure out what happened to 2005.  

Please, if anyone can tell me, please contact me and let me know.  

Anyway, here is some candy lined up from last Halloween, an event that seems like if was only a short time ago, even though it's been seven months.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

I Dream of Lizards . . . Do They Dream of Me?

At the end of March in 2015 I started keeping a journal of my dreams.  In the ensuing twelve months, there were 114 days on which I remembered at least a small portion my dreaming.  

Lizards are a frequent topic of my dreams, because lizard watching is one of my favorite things to do.  And now new scientific research has shown that sleeping lizards have the sort of brain activity that could indicate that they dream.  This makes me wonder if any of the lizards which I've seen go on to dream of me.   

Friday, April 29, 2016


I try to put up at least one post per month.  But in recent months I just haven't felt like writing.  And now I find that I am again running out of month.  

Here's another picture, this one of a Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos).

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Crooked Utility Pole

I'm putting up this picture to give me something for March.  It will have to do until I can get the energy to write something . . . which may never happen . . . 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Waterfall for February

I felt that I should get something on the blog for February, so here is a picture of a small man-made waterfall along Holmes Run in Alexandria, Virginia.

As often happens, I have a lot that I want to write, but I don't feel like actually writing it.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wood in Water

Here's another picture from the Potomac, this one from back in November.