13 July, 2014 Wooden shoes, windmills and the World Cup
A friend recently lamented the Netherlands World Cup loss. Netherlands was his favorite because they are known for their wooden shoes and windmills. I’ve had some experience tilting at windmills during my idealistic youth, but I hope that (the tilting, not my idealism or youth) is mostly behind me. As for wooden shoes, we had one on display in our basement when I was growing up in Maryland. This is a true story – our dad brought it back with him from Holland when he was in the Navy. Late 1950’s or early 1960’s I’m guessing. In Maryland in our knotty-pine paneled basement we had a bar. It had glass shelves around the top. There were old Meerschaum pipes although there was never a smoker in our family. They smelled funny. Musty but tangy at the same time, very peculiar. I can still smell that. Peculiarly. There was also a collection of beer steins on the glass shelves with the Meerschaums. And this one wooden shoe. I doubt it’s anywhere around but my mom will read this and so will my siblings (I hope!) and if it’s anywhere still in our family I’ll post a picture next week.
I don’t have a Meerschaum to photograph or a beer stein or a wooden shoe so these are all from the web. If my mom or one of my siblings has one I’ll get them to send me a picture. Meanwhile, this looks a lot like the wooden shoe we had on the glass shelf in our wood-paneled basement. We only had one, as I recall, probably around a size 10, and it escapes me if it was for the right foot or the left. But it looked like half of this pair:
We had lots of Meerschaum pipes, and each was very different and very distinct. None looked identical to this, but all were similar:
The steins resembled the pipes in this regard – we had lots of them, each different, each distinct. And none looked identical to this, but all were similar:
This is similar to the windmill that both Don Quixote and myself have long since given up tilting:
I don’t follow team sports but I follow international news. It was hard to miss Brazil’s unfortunate World Cup loss to Germany. I know the final today is between Germany and Argentina (I just looked it up) and I hope if one of those is “your” team, that you are happy with the outcome. Or anyway that it’s a good game. I’m a Redskins fan. In my experience, even if people say “I just hope it’s a good game,” they don’t mean that – they want their team to win. Or at least that’s the way I am.
I didn’t take great pictures this week. I got a couple of potentially great pictures, e.g. they are a sign of things – I hope – to come. Meanwhile, here are a couple of less than stellar shots and a couple of adequate shots. When we were at Pony Pasture Tuesday there were lots of flying things. A Virginia State Police helicopter flew over the field:
A person with great binoculars could have looked down and seen this new damselfly that I have not yet identified. Nice looking insect though:
Here are the two pictures I referred to as “potentially” great. As in, this is a new bird in a new spot so I may get a better shot soon. And why I say “potentially” great is it’s two pictures of the same male prothonotary warbler. One is in perfect light – but it’s a terrible picture. One is a well composed and focused shot – but it’s in terrible light. When I realize my photographic potential it will be one handsome bird in flawless light. Until then, there’s this:
Better composition but poor light:
I did manage one decent picture of a dragonfly, except from behind, but it’s a nice picture. This is a female “Common Whitetail Skimmer” or Plathemis lydia:
They’re called “common” for a reason – if you were a bird photographer, this is the equivalent of photographing a crow. But I’m learning to photograph dragonflies and this is part of the process.
I’ve mentioned “bugguide.net”; they help me identify insects. It is a super resource. People far, far more talented than I submit photos every day. They keep them up for a while and if they’re so perfect you could swear the bug’s about to get up and fly (or crawl) off the screen, they leave them on the site. But if they’re less than flawless they remain for thirty days in an area of the site called “Frass.” This is what it says about it on bugguide: “Frass is insect debris. Poor quality images, images from outside the U.S. and Canada, and those that otherwise do not add value to the guide are moved here.” The dictionary on my mac doesn’t mince words with its definition of frass: “• the excrement of insect larvae.”
I have had really a lot of pictures end up in the “frass” folder. But that’s how you learn what you need to improve on. It’s a process.
One more cloud picture from 2014’s lovely summer sky:
Until next week, all best,