Thursday, May 31, 2012

gator vs bobcat

This is from a news article and I wanted to share it with you.

This is Florida: Gator stalks down bobcat on pond bank

Someone walked out his back door, turned and rushed back inside.
The call of the wild was on and he needed his camera.
He watched as a Florida alligator came out of the water and crouched low at the edge. A bobcat up the bank looked into the brush and trees.
"He was sitting on the edge of the pond, with his face away from the pond, his back to the pond."
He snapped the first shot from inside the house, but the call grew stronger and he made the decision to get a closer look and channel his inner Steve Irwin. "I came running down here with my camera, approaching the pond and I snuck up behind these trees."
Not only was the bobcat oblivious to a Florida gator bearing down, it also didn't seem to notice him coming its way. "I was still surprised the cat didn't notice ... that I was here. And so I decided to snap a few more shots and that's when I saw that monster come out of the water."

Low. Quiet. Out of view.

He could have been on a far-flung trip to the Serengeti, watching a giant croc stalk a wildebeest, but why go so far with a National Geographic documentary attack just outside his back door?

"It took my breath away. I realized at that moment that I was about to witness something that I didn't know if I even wanted to see."

We counted 40 paces from where the bobcat was before the attack to the pond.  He kept watching through his lens, snapping away and the gator took a slow, stealth line to the bobcat's back.
Suddenly, he felt the photographer's dilemma: warn or let nature be.

Nature would take its course.
"My heart was racing," as the gator came within inches of the bobcat's back -- crikey! -- "but I'm glad it ended up the way it did."
It may have been the gator was just protecting its turf. It may have been its jaws had a similar sort of reaction time as the bobcat's ability to sense danger. Maybe they were old friends, and the ole gator was playing a joke on the ole cat.
Mere inches away, the estimated 10-foot, 300-pound alligator finally came close enough to trigger the bobcat's escape.

The bobcat scampered up the bank and into the woods:
the gator's jaws opened for the first time as it ran away.
"I'm glad he got away to live another day."

This is a news article which I did edit for privacy concerns.   The first time that I read it I held my breath with the suspense.   I am also glad that it ended the way that it did with the bobcat getting away.   I thought that all of you would enjoy the article.    Lew

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

a no-go

Just like at NASA at the Kennedy Space Center when they have a "no-go" for a rocket launch because of weather, I had to declare a no-go on spotting the space station flying overhead due to cloud cover.
This was the sky when I stepped outside at 6:40 am to watch the space station pass overhead.   But there will be another chance for me to see the space station again on Friday, 5/18.   The weather above looks much better for that date.
I hope that some of you who read this have better luck.   Let me know if you get to see the space station go overhead.
Look at my previous blog titled Space Station for more information on spotting the space station in your area.    Have a good day.    Lew

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Space Station

I came across this site quite a while back and thought that it was pretty neat.   It shows on a map where the space station is currently located in its rotation around the earth.   How do you like the little space station icon for current location.
The best viewing for me is going to be on Tuesday morning 5/16 at 6:42 am.
I will be sure to step outside at that time to view it. Tammy the cat usually wakes me up between 5:15 am and 5:30 am to go outside. I am looking forward to trying to spot it because once when I was in Oak Ridge, Tennessee a long time ago I saw the space shuttle go over and it was so bright and it moved fast so that it was easy to spot by its movement. (was that a run-on sentence?   Any English teachers out there?)
You can change the map to satellite.
And even hybrid. It's a fun site.

Let me know if you actually see the space station when it passes over you.  It should be fun and a bit of an adventure in trying to spot the space station going by overhead.    As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, "Keep looking up."   Lew

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moon & Mine Shafts

I tried taking pictures of the moon on Sunday night with my Kodak camera.

I wanted to take the pictures just as the moon was rising over the horizon.   Moonrise was to be at 9:06 pm.   But as I soon discovered is that I am surrounded by houses and very tall trees.    So I had to wait until almost 9:30pm for the moon to get high enough to clear the trees.   The moon had a very deep yellow color as well as red areas to it.

Isn’t this a weird picture of the moon?   The surface of the moon looks like the turbulent surface of the sun.    But at least I can see the mares of the moon somewhat.
This is how the moon appeared on my camera, small.
The first thing that I had to do after downloading the pictures to the computer was to enlarge it.
Then I darkened the picture and hit it with just a little increased contrast
Then I changed the color image to a black and white image.   And I added just a tad of brightness and a dash of contrast for the final image.
Not bad considering the camera that I had.
On Saturday night the light of the moon was so intense that I could see quite easily outside in the moonlight.   It reminded me of a story which goes like this:   Once, a long time ago in a far off land a friend came to visit me, Chuck.    I was living in Phoenix, Arizona.   I was working at the hospital and going to college at the same time.
This is Chuck sitting on the couch with me as I was trying to study.   Chuck is the slender one and I am the one with the glazed, tired, exhausted look on his face.   I spent weekends right here studying for college.   I worked 62 hours a week at the hospital working nights and going to college during the day.   At times I got exhausted like in this picture but I had the energy of youth which helped to keep me going.
I had told Chuck about my adventures exploring old mine shafts.  
Here I am standing next to an old mine.   Yeah, I know that they are very dangerous to go into.   But back then I was young and foolish.

Just look how dark it is down in the mine shaft.    Well, Chuck wanted to explore an old mine shaft.   I told him that it was late but that we could go down in the mine shafts at night.   My rationale was that since it was pitch black down in the mine it didn't matter whether it was light or dark at the surface of the mine.   So off we went.   I took him to an old abandoned mine called Octave which was north of Phoenix in Arizona.    I had been there many times and so I had no trouble driving there at night.   This is an artist painting of what the mine looked in it's heyday.
Well, this is what it looks like today.    Most all of the buildings are gone.  
Such a desolate area.   But the old shafts are still there.   Chuck and I got out our flashlights and started down one of the shafts.    Bats!   Lots of bats!   All flying toward us because we were between the bats and the mine entrance that they wanted to fly out of for their nightly feeding on insects.   We hadn't gotten more than 30 feet into the shaft when there were simply too many bats.   And their flight paths were so erratic.   I had never had problems with bats when I came to the mine during the daytime but somehow the bats knew that it was nighttime.   We had no choice but to retreat back out of the shaft.   By now it was around 10 o'clock at night.   The moon shone so brightly high in the sky that night that we could walk around easily without having to use our flashlight.   In fact, it was so bright that I swear that I could have read a newspaper by the moonlight.   The moonlight was so bright a few days ago that it reminded me of this Arizona desert adventure.   And college?   Yes, I did graduate with my Bachelor's degree.   Plus I have good memories of many other adventures while living in Arizona.   And that is my tale for today.   Drop a line in the comments section and let me know of one of your adventures.   Have a terrific and fun day.    Lew

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sinkholes & Hurricanes

Well, it has happened again.   Another sinkhole here in the Orlando, Florida area.   The people heard a noise in their backyard and came out to see this 100 foot wide and 50 feet deep sinkhole in the back yard.   Now as they say, that is the bad news and now for the good news.    What?   How can there be any good news to this?    This beautiful house is a rental.
The people moved out along with their belongings and I guess that it will be up to the landlord to pay for any repairs or losses.    As I understand the house does have some cracks in the walls.    The sinkhole is so close to the house and who knows how much bigger it will get.
This "good news, bad news" about the sinkhole reminds me of the "good news, bad news" from Hurricane Andrew.
The destruction from Hurricane Andrew was terrible.   Whole neighborhoods were just flattened.
I lived in Miami, Florida at the time and went through the ravages of GHurricane Andrew.   A few days after the hurricane I was sitting in Bob's office with some other guys and we were all gloomily swapping tales of destruction that we had suffered from the storm.  
Tale after terrible tale unfolded.   Then Bob told his tale.   He said that the windows had blown out, the doors had blown off, and the roof was gone.    He was smiling as he told his tale.   I said "Bob, how can you smile?".   He laughed and told me that the house was a rental.   The problems with the house were going to be the landlords problem.   So I guess that there is something to be said about rentals.  
     There is speculation that the sinkhole may be due to the recent drought that we are having here in Central Florida resulting in the water table dropping.   The rains will come to be sure but the questions is when.    I know, I know, when the rainy season comes I will probably be complaining about all of the water and flooding.   Have a good day from the land of hurricanes and sinkholes.   Oh yeah, and don't forget the shark bites at the beach.   And the good news?   We have Disneyworld to cheer us up.    My favorite place.    As the say at Disney, "Have a magical day".   Lew

Thursday, May 3, 2012

my first job

My first ever salaried job was here in Patrick's Diner.   My pay was 91 cents an hour plus I could have all that I wanted to eat.   Can you just imagine, 91 cents an hour.   Yes, it was a long time ago, probably around 1957.   But I thought to myself that I would drive them out of business by eating everything in sight.    Much to my surprise I discovered that when someone works around food it becomes less appealing.    After seeing food all day and smelling the aromas of the food, I just didn't feel like eating anything.   So all that I got was 91 cents an hour.   A classmate of mine, Dean, had gotten me the job which was really nice of him.   What kind of a job was it?   A dishwasher on the all-night shift working from 7:00 pm until 6:00 am the next morning.   Everyone was very nice to me but at the end of the week they found out that I was only 15 years old and I had to be 16 years old to work the job.   So I was let go, but I had a great experience there and lots of memories.   And how much did you get paid for your very first job?   Have a great day.    Lew  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


On Tuesday we went to see the movie Safe starring Jason Statham.   When you see John Statham starring in the movie then you can be assured that it is going to be an action-packed movie.  
And that is exactly what it proved to be.   The action was fast and furious with a very high body count which I think had to be way over 30.   Yeah, I told you that it was full of action.   It definitely holds the interest.
I have become a big Jason Statham fan and wouldn't think of missing one of his movies.   Action movies are my favorite.  
I just wanted to let all fans of shoot-em-up action movies about Statham's latest movie Safe.   Have a good day and don't forget the soda and popcorn when you go to the movies, it's a tradition.   Be happy.    Lew