Pages

Adsense Large Leaderboard

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Manhattan From Space

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's...

Click on the picture for a full-size view.

One of the themes of this blog is pictures of Manhattan. I know, that topic doesn't grab everyone, but since that's where I live, well, it's unlikely to change.

Astronaut Scott Kelly took the above view of Manhattan. No, it's not from an airplane, or a drone, or a balloon. It is from space.

Kelly took the picture of the island of Manhattan from the International Space Station Saturday, 23 May 2015. Photo courtesy of NASA.

To me, incidentally, the most interesting thing about the shot is the impressive view that it gives of Riker's Island. That is the state prison at the very top of the picture, right next to La Guardia airport. It as the large island at the end of the unusually long causeway. Not having been there (no, really) and never having seen very many pictures of it, I'm impressed by how large it is and how much detail you can make out. Further east (meaning, towards the top of this shot) and out of view is another island, Hart Island, where thousands of indigent New Yorkers are buried. Yes, New York City has a habit of doing odd things with its islands - Roosevelt Island (in the middle of the island), for instance had an insane asylum on it that still stands.

The large green spaces in Queens to the upper right are cemeteries, I believe. Yankee Stadium is visible to the left, while the relatively new Hudson River Park and Chelsea Pier - right down the street from my own corner of the universe, and the destination of the Titanic back in the day - stand out surprisingly well down at the lower right.

Overall, a terrific shot that shows how much some alien civilization will be able to see about our own lifestyle when the light waves hit them in a few centuries.










Monday, March 16, 2015

Dramatic Video - Flying Like An Eagle



This is a great video released by the BBC on 14 March 2015. It shows an eagle, Darshan, flying off of the world's tallest building in Dubai. He has a Sony Gopro-type camera strapped to him - don't worry, he's fine - and provides a unique view of that it is like to glide down to a safe landing. NO EAGLES WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO.

















Among the many sights along the way are the harbour and the famous suspended tennis court that the eagle glides over. It's all for a good cause, the preservation of animal life by Freedom Conservation. The video quality is spectacular in my opinion. This version, though edited, shows the eagle's landing, which many other versions omit. Put it in full-screen mode by clicking on the little box in the lower right corner of the video, and get out of that mode by hitting the escape key on your keyboard.



To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of this video is that the bird has been so highly trained that, despite the fact that its destination is just another spot in the distance, he knows just where to go. But then, they've been training eagles for hundreds and hundreds of years and know what they are doing. Darshan was trained by falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers in France. He descended about 2,700 feet.



I have seen two different versions of this. In one, the eagle finally lands near a fountain at the building’s base. In another, he returns to his trainer on the beach.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it like I did.


In one version, the eagle flies back to its trainer in that orange rectangle in the city center.



2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Amazing Must-See Nature Video






If you haven't seen this video, you need to watch this. A young woman innocently is walking about amongst tidal pools, sees some crabs, goes in for a closer look with her camera - and then something happens. Something awesome.

Incidentally, see if you can spot three crabs in this short but exciting video. Yes, there are three - look closely. The are scattered far apart.

An amazing capture of something that, well, you don't see every day! And look closely in the water by the crab right before the climax, you'll see death approaching craftily and silently.

2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Few 'Lost in Space' Behind the Scenes Shots

Jonathan Harris with some set visitors - he was very well known for being very accomodating to visitors.

Some behind the scenes shots from 'Lost in Space.'

Below, Bill Mumy with his mother. Appears to be the third season 1967-68.

Notice how Jonathan Harris and June Lockhart are the ones who are both trying their hardest to stay somewhat in character and steal the shot.

And a special bonus of Jonathan Harris after the show was cancelled in another Irwin Allen series.

Lost in Space randommusings.filminspector.com
Lost in Space randommusings.filminspector.com
This appears to be a Fox press event circa 1966. Angela Cartwright and Adam West of Batman fame.


2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spock's Hair

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com
Ears in place - almost ready!

Just a couple of Spock pictures. He's sitting in the chair, getting his makeup, just chillin'.

Never mind Spock's brain - it's Spock's hair!

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com
This must have been the start of the process - no ears!

And below - ta da! - the hair in action!

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com




2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Harbin 2015 Ice Sculpture Festival

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


I'm not sure how it happened, but I've become a big fan of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

I've never been to Harbin, which is practically in Siberia as I understand it. In fact, I've never been to China at all. The closest I've ever been was either Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, whichever is closer. Which means, I've only admired these sculptures from afar.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


However, the pictures I've seen of their ice sculptures are really extraordinary. Before learning about the festival, my only experience with ice sculptures constituted seeing guys standing at hotel entrance ways chipping away to create dolphins and such. Very nice, very artistic, and very small.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Opening ceremonies, January 2015

Well, Harbin changed all that for me. There is something about the sheer audacity of people who would even think to create something as massive as their sculptures - and all along knowing that they are doomed to melt away by summertime. It's quite imaginative.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


Anyway, the 31st Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened with a theme "Ice Snow Harbin, Charming China Dream" on January 5 in 2015. There was a grand opening ceremony, a fireworks display and a series of theatrical performances, ice snow activities in Sun Island, Ice and Snow Amusement World, Zhaolin Park and more venues around the ice city Harbin.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


There seems to be some competition for the snow sculpture crown these days, with some other Chinese cities getting into the act as well. However, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival remains the largest of its kind.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


Apparently, the Festival began in 1963, when it started life as a traditional lantern and garden party before transforming into the extravagant event we see today. Now, it is composed of mountain-sized representations of figures out of Chinese mythology and even entire, life-sized buildings.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com


In general, the sculptures - at least the smaller ones - are carved from giant blocks of ice taken directly from the frozen surface of the Songhua River. However, for some of the larger, more elaborate sculptures, the builders cheat a bit by using steel frames and molds and spraying water on them, which of course freezes immediately in the frigid temperatures. The builders still, though, have to get up on the sculptures and smooth all the rough edges and do other fine-tuning. There also are elaborate swimming pools and other outdoor facilities that some of the more adventurous citizens and tourist can use if they can brave the cold.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
The temperature and weather outlook in Harbin as I type this. That's the high for the day! That temperature is Fahrenheit, all the Celsius temperatures are way negative.

I'll almost certainly never make it to the actual festival - but it would be awfully cool to try some day. I'd like to try for the Iditarod someday, too. If only it didn't look so cold!

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com



2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Dance - Hang on Sloopy






Some folks think that everything is done better today than in the past.

Not so. And here is a prime example.

This is an early promotional video for 'Hang on Sloopy,' a mid-'60s hit for The McCoys. Naturally, since the song is well known to derive from 1964-65, everyone thinks that everything about the song dates from 1965. However, this video actually is from a decade later.

Rick Derringer, the founder, lead singer, etc., for The McCoys, eventually went solo and released Spring Fever in 1975. This album had a remake of Hang on Sloopy in a different musical style. The remake wasn't as recognizable as the original, of course, which hit No. 1 during a period when just about every record was a classic. The music of 1975 was fine, but it was the disco era and, well, a lot of those tunes were not, shall we say, timeless. So, Derringer's record company decided to promote the new record by hearkening back to the original version.

Derringer had just had another hit, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," in 1973 off of his first solo record, 'All American Boy.' This video was shot to market the follow-up ('Spring Fever') to that initial solo project.

None of the original McCoys, which had disbanded in the '60s, appear in this '70s video. The guys in the background are probably just session musicians or actors The identity of the dancer is a subject of much debate and confusion, but now appears to be Rick Derringer's first wife, Liz. She moved on to become a music journalist and is still very much around. Oh, and so is Rick.

According to sources, Liz was an unknown dancer who simply was hired for the video. She and Rick, um, hit it off and later married. And that's how it goes down in the big city.

There are some who want to romanticize this and claim that Liz just 'showed up' for the shoot. Friends, that would be wonderful if it ever happened, but goddesses do not just 'show up' when you happen to need them.

All young ladies who want to know how to dance should study this video.



2015