Friday, November 29, 2013

Green Flashes from Chile

Sitting around Kitt Peak today, I had some extra time and went back and took care of something that has been on my to do list. I photographed a great sunset from Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory back in March. I wanted to animate all the pics so you could see the progression of green flashes. I finally did that today and am pleased with the results.
This animation is roughly real time so they move fairly quickly. You can watch the green flashes (yes, plural) break off the Sun, move away and disappear. Look at the last green you see other colors as it vanishes? I recommend checking this one out full screen!
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

An Open Letter From Comet Lovejoy

Dear Earthlings,
I see you have been really excited about Comet ISON. There was a lot of hype about it being the "Comet of the Century", "Brighter than the full Moon" and a "Once in a lifetime experience".  I am happy my comet brother seems to have survived his close pass to the Sun. I wish ISON nothing but the best.
However, I can't help but feeling a little ignored over here. I know I was only discovered on September 7th so maybe I kind of snuck up on you. I was originally only forecast to reach 8th magnitude according to Universe Today so maybe people thought you would need a big telescope to see me.
But hey, I have been working hard to put on a good show for you and I don't feel like anyone is paying much attention to me. I have brightened up a lot more than expected and can be seen with the naked eye from a moderately dark site. I bet most city dwellers could find me with binoculars without too much difficulty. Heck, you can even photograph me with off the shelf cameras. Look at this shot from this morning taken with a Canon 60D and Ef-s 55-250mm zoom lens. Okay, he used an iOptron Skytracker to take a longer exposure, but I think I am looking pretty good here!
Come on, look at that tail! If you look close, I think you can tell there are two tails!
I am about at my brightest and best right now. I am going to start slowly fading as I get farther away from Earth but I think you have a few more weeks to take a shot at seeing me. I am hanging below the handle of the Big Dipper right now, one of the easiest things to find in the sky. Here is a finder chart from Heavens Above to help you out. Change the date and time if you need to because I move quick!
Okay, I am a morning Comet so you will have to get that strong cup of coffee when you come to see me. It will be worth it. The Moon is a slender crescent now and not too bright so it doesn't interfere with seeing me. The Moon will be new December 2nd and move into the evening sky leaving me in a pristine, dark morning sky, the perfect time to check me out!
So, do we have a date? I would love to meet you all before I leave. I mean "Love" is right there in my name! I won't be back for about 8,000 years or so and it would break my heart not to meet you.
Comet Lovejoy
Repritned with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone and welcome back! Black Friday, my day off from work as part of my Thanksgiving vacation. Nice to sleep in for a change and get some rest. Anyways, your questions.

1) Have you ever gone shopping on Black Friday?

2) What the closest you have been to a lightning strike?

3) What meal is your mother's best?

4) What MOVIE comes to mind when you think of the 2000's?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

Hear, hear!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my symmetrical snowflakes!  How are you?  I was in traffic the other day when the snow was falling.  It really wasn’t that much, but all of the drivers forgot how to drive in snow.  I’ve noticed that happens every year.  They have to relearn it.  The Journal Times even had a story on it:  The snow caught me by surprise.  I arrived at my appointment a little late.  At least I arrived.  A lot of vehicles ended up in fender benders or ditches.  Now I will allow myself more time for driving depending on weather and road conditions.  Now I start taking baby steps across snow and/or ice to keep my posterior upright.  Now I light candles, but still curse the darkness. 

A tie is not as bad as a loss, but it’s not as good as a win.  It’s kind of a numeric limbo.  Our gallant and glorious Green Bay Packers fought to a tie with the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.  I believe that if our team’s injuries were all to heal magically, no one could stop the Pack.  As it is, I’m proud of our gladiators for giving as good as they got.  Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, the peerless Packers take on the Detroit Lions at 11:30 AM.  May a spirit of gratitude give Green Bay the attitude that it needs to defeat the Lions.  Go Pack!

In the Irregular Football League, the standings remain the same.  I think that perhaps Mr. hale-bopp is using his scientific wizardry to give himself an edge.  Isn’t that cheating?  I dabble in a little wizardry myself.  Perhaps I should apply some to the IFL.

As some of you may already know, famed psychic Sylvia Browne died last week.  I don’t wish to disrespect anyone’s passing, but she was much more fame than psychic.  To her credit, her faithful fans followed her even after her “psychic powers” were shown to be fraudulent on a number of occasions.  She kept the con going and she kept the con big.  I wish her well in her next life.  I’ll bet she’s already sizing up the marks and cooking up a scheme.  St. Peter, check your watch and wallet after dealing with her.  Oh my.

Señor Zanza, Junior and I are going to Señor Zanza’s parents’ home for Thanksgiving dinner.  Oh my, oh my.  I haven’t met the Zanzas before.  I’m all nervous and worried.  Physician, heal thyself.  Hah!  If I drink any of my tonics to calm my nerves, I’ll be semi-comatose at dinner.  I’ll just have to load up on whatever alcohol they serve.  Or maybe bring a couple of flasks if they don’t.  Junior is anxious to go because Señor Zanza has a couple of daughters from his first marriage who are coming to dinner.  I look forward to meeting them and finding out more about this first marriage that I haven’t heard about until recently. 

Here’s an oldie but a goodie with the late Mr. Johnny Carson reading children’s recipes for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey:

I know it shows my age, but I laughed and laughed at that.  Mr. Carson was special.

Thank you my dears for reading my blog and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  As we give gratitude and break bread with our loved ones, we join millions of others in the family of man.  We are many and we are one.

How to pluck a turkey and other cons of the trade:

Enjoy the holiday.  Don’t eat too much.  Don’t get trampled on Black Friday.  Don’t forget to help Mr. OrbsCorbs this Saturday if you can.  Happy Irregular Thanksgiving!  I love you all. Gambrinous!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Hey, Blockhead! Aluminum Christmas trees regain their shine -- at least for a while"

From JSOnline:

By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel

"Madison — Lucy Van Pelt coveted one in the Peanuts Christmas special. So did apparently a million people who bought an Evergleam to turn their living room into a space-age winter wonderland.

"Like a TV antenna's wad of tinfoil magically coming to life, aluminum Christmas trees sparkled and glowed in living rooms and front windows during their heyday in the 1960s and '70s. No need to traipse out to a tree lot and wrestle one home tied to the car roof. No needles littering the carpet. No need to worry about the family dog drinking out of the stand.

"Then, like any fad, they wore out their yuletide welcome and were forgotten in attics, tossed out in the trash or sold at garage sales for 50 cents.

"Now, they're hip again in a retro 'Mad Men' way. And sought after. Some aluminum Christmas trees are selling for $1,000 on eBay.

"Tapping into nostalgia for a time when Christmas trees looked as silvery and shiny as an astronaut, the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum is opening an exhibit on Tuesday featuring 20 Wisconsin-made aluminum trees.

"Billed as the largest public exhibition of Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees, the exhibit will include rare 2-foot tabletop trees, a selection of 4-, 6- and 8-foot aluminum trees, accessories such as rotating tree stands and multicolored light wheels as well as advertising and packaging. The exhibit also includes trees in gold, green and even pink — the holy grail of Evergleams. Because few people bought pink trees, few were made, which now makes them very rare and valuable."

We never had one of these, but I knew people who did.  A spotlight with a color wheel was a must have accessory.

Next week, flocking.

Open Blog - Tuesday

It's good to share with friends.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do Not Forget!

AAA issues warning not to use E15 gas coming to your gas station

Very good article, a must watch...SER

Local Loyalty - The Summit Restaurant

This is becoming quite an interesting journey, for me!
This week's interview was with Brian,  
general manager of The Summit Restaurant.

We had a really nice visit with quite a twist, we're almost related!
That made for an interesting time, but I digress...
There have been many cool changes in decor. We went there a couple months back and I was just mesmerized by the interior décor. It's very beautiful yet not hoity toity. The feel of this restaurant is casual to fine dining. Many updates and improvements have been made to include really nice outdoor dining as well. 
When asked what 3 words he would use to describe The Summit, 
the answers were - Contemporary, Cool, and Unique. I concur!
His goal is for The Summit to be the place to be. He's doing an amazing job. 
There will be many upcoming events in the near future as well as many planned for the upcoming year. Check out their website as well as finding them on Facebook.  Through the website, you can sign up for email updates for upcoming events.
Just a few highlights of things to come -  
Wine tasting events, steak special nights,
 live music and much more. 

I HAD to ask about the giant steer, 
who called their parking lot home for a few months. 
His name is USDA-licious, love it!
 He's currently hanging out in Milwaukee near the airport 
but will return to our fair town again. 
 He time-shares between 2 brothers and their restaurants.
 I do miss him!
Stop in and give them a try, I'm sure you'll love it! 

Open Blog - Monday

The same to you, Betty.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Useless Information

Did you know:

Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald tried to comment suicide by sticking his finger in an electrical socket!