February 2018

Posted by Ellen

Roses are red
Lichens are gray
Please watch what you stomp on
It’s Valentine's Day.

Posted by Ellen

You'll want to watch Olympic curling this week, if only to see the Norwegians' team uniforms., which also feature matching blazers for off-ice swagger. The pictures show recent uniforms; this year's Norwegian curling trousers have been revealed, but we won't show them here out of an abundance of spoiler caution.

Posted by Ellen

Back alley in the Mission District, San Francisco, 1936. If you're interested in the apartment advertised, they want $20 a month for rent.

Posted by Ellen

Three lights in the night create this image: firelight, starlight, and a glowing streak of human brilliance.

The human-powered light is the silvery streak at lower left, created by the photographer's brother, who was cycling along a mountain-bike trail in the high prairies of central Italy's Appenine Mountains. Either the cyclist wore a headlamp, or his bike was outfitted with a headlamp. The camera lens stayed open for almost half an hour–27 minutes–to preserve the track of the route.

The firelight near the lower right of the picture was from the village of Tornimparte, in the valley far below the hillsides we see here. The photo was taken in mid-August, on the night following the Feast of the Assumption, when bonfires mark the end of the summer harvest.

The starlight notably features the Milky Way, which the photographer said he'd never seen before. The reason he'd never seen it before might be visible in the part of the sky just over the horizon behind the village bonfires. The night sky looks pale back there, with fewer stars visible to the eye–perhaps because of distant light pollution emanating from the Roman metropolis about sixty miles to the northwest. 

If you click on the photo and study the enlarged version–yes, life is short, but go ahead, waste a few moments fussing with a pretty picture–you may be able to see that the stars are not pinpoints of light but short little line segments, almost like tiny bits of the bicycle's light trail. In this case, however, it's not the stars so much as the earth that's moving; 27 minutes is such a long exposure time that the earth spins through almost 2% of its daily rotation, leaving little streaks of starlight as the camera and the mountains and the bicycle all move through the night.

Posted by Ellen

Midnight in Salisbury, United Kingdom.  We don't want the world to be quite this way, but it is what it is.

Posted by Ellen

"Enlisting in the Marines," reads the caption from December 1941." Recruiting office. San Francisco, California.".Photo: John Collier / Courtesy / FSA-OWI Collection / Library Of Congress

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"Women in essential services," reads the original caption from February 1943. "Two women railroad workers enjoy a moment of relaxation from their new job in the yards of the Southern Pacific Company in San Francisco."

Posted by Ellen

On this day in 1952, Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne of Great Britain, following the death of her father, King George VI.

She was staying in this treehouse at the time, high above an elephant watering hole, at a wildlife-viewing resort in Kenya called Treetops Hotel. The king had died in his sleep back at Buckingham Palace, and Elizabeth did not learn that she'd become queen until the next day, upon her return to a royal lodge in a less remote part of Kenya.

She was 26 years old at the time, already married and mother to her first two children. She's definitely still Queen of England.

Treetops Hotel was burned in 1954 during the Mau Mau uprising, but it has been rebuilt.

Posted by Ellen

In Beijing, if you're not sure you're parked legally, you really don't want to see that forklift coming down the street.

Posted by Ellen

Today, Philadelphia is a town of winners, at least to the extent that Eagle-ness rubs off on regular people. But this room in center city Philly was filled recently with a bunch of losers.

The girls, mostly about twelve years old, were guests at a birthday party held in an escape room. If they had managed to solve all the riddles and puzzles within a set time, they could have escaped the room and been deemed winners. But they failed.  So it goes.