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Picture Post – High School Football

I’ve been to two Friday Night High School Football games this month playing with my new camera trying to freeze action.  Here are some of the photos I took – more are on my Flickr site here.

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Picture Post – August 26

I recently purchased a new camera – a 24.3 megapixel Sony @6000, which is a new-fangled mirror-less equivalent to a DSLR – but much lighter because its sensor performs what DSLRs do with mirrors and prisms.  Like a DSLR it can use different lenses.

Recently, I took my new ‘toy’ to a Miami Marlins baseball game to take some stop action photos.  In continuous mode it can take 19 photos a second.  With a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second in continuous mode I was able to freeze action.

In olden times (when I was a young’n) one attended a sporting event to watch the game.  Nowadays, sports fans must be entertained every moment – there can be no idle time except for within the game itself.

In between every half inning weird and crazy stuff goes on.  There are mascot races, fan contests, ‘Kiss Cams’, tee shirt launches, dancers atop the dugouts, cheerleaders etc. etc.

Between several innings a group of very athletic youngsters come out onto the field and do a tumbling, dancing and cheer leading routine.  I captured this little part of the act.

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Race

I did use the word ‘weird’, didn’t I?  They’re supposed to be sea creatures racing.  I believe I can recognize the octopus and the shark.  As for the other two, who knows? Incidentally, that is a bar behind the outfield fence – which actually has a swimming pool!

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Batter fouled the ball straight down and it bounced up and hit him in the chest

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Visiting team batting practice pitcher

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An Amazing Statistic

     Several days ago I read an article in the Miami Herald about the number of people in Miami-Dade County whose drivers licenses had been suspended.  That number was mind-boggling.

     I got to wondering after I read the article what I might have guessed the number to be if I’d been asked before.  First, I know there are a lot of people living in the county – close to 2.8 million, and according to the article there are about 1.8 million licensed drivers.   Second, I know there are several reasons licenses get suspended: serious and/or multiple traffic offenses; failure to show up in court when cases are tried; and failure to pay related fines or fees come to mind.  I would have guessed that the vast majority of people either don’t get cited for traffic violations, or if they do will either pay their fines or obtain legal help to fight their cases.  So I would have thought that at the very worst maybe two to three percent of people would end up having their licenses suspended.  That would have led me to an estimate of from 36,000 to 54,000, and I would probably think that I was a bit too high.

     The actual number is approximately 550,000!  That’s 29 percent of Miami-Dade County drivers!  Yikes!

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It’s About Time

No, this post is not about me thinking that something should be done or that something has finally occurred.  This post is about “time” – and it will likely be my weirdest post ever.

It occurred to me while watching a Hockey game on TV that time passes differently to different people at the same time, and that it is possible that what people perceive is reality – that people are thus aging in terms of the passage of time at different rates simultaneously.

I realize that to instruments that measure time each individual unit of time (second, minute, hour etc.) is identical.  But I am positing that to man they are not.

Let’s consider a hypothetical Hockey game.  Assume three men sitting in three consecutive seats in the arena.  The first man – an avid fan of the home team.  The next man – a scout for another team.  And the third man – an avid fan of the visiting team.

With one minute and 58 seconds left in the game and the home team ahead by one goal, a two minute minor penalty is called on a player of the home team.  That means that for the remainder of the game the visiting team will have at least a man advantage – and when it gains possession in their offensive zone will pull the goalie and create a two man advantage.  The visiting team thus has a great opportunity to tie the game and send it into overtime.

For the purpose of this discussion I’m going to assume that despite major time spent in their offensive zone and several outstanding scoring chances, the visitors are unsuccessful and the home team prevails.

For the first man, the home team fan, the final minute, 58 seconds seemed like it would never end.  The seconds on the scoreboard time clock counted down in a maddeningly snail-like pace.

For the scout this final phase of the game was indistinguishable from any other period in the game.  He was dispassionate and indifferent to the outcome.  His job was to observe and report on how the two teams set up their offenses and defenses in various situations, the skill levels of the players and the substitution patterns utilized by the coaches.

For the visiting team’s fan, however, the final minute 58 seconds went by on the scoreboard at a pace that hardly seemed possible.

Three men, sitting side by side, experience the same passage of time differently.  I’m suggesting that the time perceived by each man is real – and that for all of us, really, our minds expand and contract time in response to our personal interest and concern in the passage of time  based upon the perceived import of an expected event.

Hey, I told you up front that this was going to be a weird post!

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A Funny Memory of Christmastime

I promised to post a video in my next post  but will put it off because a long hidden funny Christmastime memory rose to the surface of my brain today which I’d like to share.

Many years ago I was a division director at a one of my agency’s regional offices.  Each year, a few days before Christmas, our Regional Commissioner, who I will refer to as ‘Mr. Big’, purchased a giant four or five pound box of  chocolate candies, donned a thoroughly ugly Christmas themed necktie, and, accompanied by his Secretary, made the rounds of all the offices in the Regional Headquarters to wish each employee a Merry Christmas and to offer each employee to select one piece of chocolate.

This occasion, for reasons I will reveal was eagerly anticipated and the subject of much  hilarity as employees subsequent discussed the event.

You see, Mr. Big was a manager who eschewed contact with the ‘little people’.  In fact, he never left his fancy executive office except to attend monthly staff meetings with regional managers, so at least he knew our names.  I doubt he would have even recognized any of the non-managerial staff.  Thus the need for the accompaniment of his secretary.  He would approach the desk of each employee, proffer the box of chocolates, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas Ms. (or Mr.) ……” followed by a pregnant pause, during which his secretary would conspicuously whisper the person’s last name into his ear…. “……. Jones.  Have a piece of candy.”  Whereupon, the employee would select a piece of candy and respond: “Thank You, Mr. Big.  Merry Christmas to you.”

I must mention here that Mr. Big did not purchase expensive good quality candy.  He bought the giant boxes carried by drug store during the Christmas season – extremely cheap in both quality and price.  I doubt that they were even chocolate – most likely imitation.  At least they were brown!

It was hilarious.  The word would rapidly start spreading the moment he left his office to begin his rounds, his progress being duly reported via telephone by the secretaries of each division – – – “Mr. Big just left Personnel headed for Logistics!” —- “Mr. Big just left Internal Audit headed for Classification and Value!”, etc.  So all the employees knew when to expect Mr. Big and Secretary to make their entrance.

One year, though, was especially memorable.  In my division there were two heavy-set black women accounting clerks. Other than their skin color and their physical size, however, they had nothing in common.  They dressed differently and their personalities were almost polar opposites – one very serious, the other almost bubbly.  But, most of all, they didn’t look a bit alike.

Well, when Mr. Big arrived in our office one of the women was at her desk and the other was out of the office, probably in the ladies room.  Mr. Big stopped at the one lady’s desk and performed his ritual, and, after greeting everyone there, headed out – just as the other lady entered the office.  She approached him, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Big.” and reached or a chocolate.  Whereupon, Mr. Big pulled the box back out of her reach remarking:  “You already had one!”

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Yellow Leaves

Saturday morning when I went out to get the morning newspapers from my lawn I sensed a lot of yellow in my peripheral vision.  A quick glance in that direction, towards my yellow hibiscus bush revealed many beautiful yellow hibiscus blossoms and many more leaves of matching color!  😯

“Holy sh*t!”  I thought.  Friday all the leaves had been green.  With some trepidation I peaked around the corner of the house at my other three hibiscus bushes.   Yeah, they were in the same state, although not nearly as bad as the yellow blossom bush – not a happy development – and before breakfast, already!

Later in the morning I did some Google-ing to see if I could find out what could have caused the yellowing leaves and what I could do about it.  I actually learned a lot – good stuff as well as bad.

I learned that hibiscus are known for just such overnight transformations.  I also learned that hibiscus are very delicate and require a lot of care.  If I had known that I never would have bought and planted them.  I didn’t get them to care for.  I got them to look at!   😕

I learned that there are four possible conditions that cause a hibiscus to throw such a hissy fit.  I considered each and made my diagnosis.

First – bugs!  I rejected this.  I had such a problem earlier and cured it easily with soapy water.  Each of the bushes had been happily producing beautiful blossoms for a long time – right up through Friday.

Second – poor soil, needing fertilizer.  I was sure that was not the cause.  The plants had been doing fine – healthy blossoms and rich green leaves and rapid growth.

Third – not enough sun.  I rejected this also.  Even though this is our rainy season whenever it isn’t raining or it’s not night the Sun is blazing,  The bushes are located in areas with ample exposure.

Finally – rain, too much or too little.  Too little was definitely not the problem!  This month we have had over 14 inches of rain.  The average July is 7 1/2 inches. I have decided that is likely the problem.

What can I do about that?  Nuttin!  I can’t make Mother Nature turn off the spigot.  But, doing nothing is what I have decided to do.  Since Saturday morning we’ve had only sporadic rainfall and lots of sun.  As of today, all the yellow leaves have dropped and the bushes all look normal; they’re even producing blossoms.

So I will keep my fingers crossed.  But if the problem returns I know four hibiscus bushes that will find themselves at  the curb on trash collection day!  As I said, I don’t want to care for them. I just want to look at them.

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Cold Night in Cleveland – Pt. 2

Back in my room I watched TV for a while, read a few chapters in a book, and went to bed around midnight.  The front desk had not called to inform me that my coat and contents had been returned, but I was not particularly concerned.

I realize that this was rather odd, but it has always been my nature to believe the best in people and to expect it – I’m a product of my upbringing, of course.  Both my parents preached and practiced personal honesty and integrity.  If I had been the one to mistakenly take another’s overcoat I would certainly return it as quickly as possible, even if I were hundreds of miles away when I discovered it.

I don’t think my head had been on the pillow more than ten minutes, when I heard the sound of a key turning and the door starting to open.  But I had set the chain lock in addition to the dead bolt.  The dead bolt was no deterrent to a key but the chain was.  The person attempting to enter my room, pushed hard against the chain just once and then closed the door.  Apparently he or she had hoped to find the room unoccupied.

Well now, it had become quite clear that my coat and keys were not going to be returned.  I wasn’t worried that the person would make another attempt to gain access to my room – but a new concern arose – my car!  Out there in the parking lot was my practically brand new Lincoln Town Car and some stranger who obviously did not have my best interests in mind had my keys which were identifiable as for a Lincoln.  I had no intention of going back to bed and wait until morning to see if the car were still there!

So I dressed and packed my luggage and headed down to the lobby where I explained what had happened and that I didn’t intend to stay.  I paid the bill and asked the clerk to make me a reservation at  a nearby motel.  I then checked the phone directory to find a locksmith offering 24 hour service.  I was lucky.  The first one I called agreed to come directly.

He arrived about a half hour later.  While waiting I had gone outside several times to verify that my car was still there.  I thought it had been cold when I was wearing my overcoat and gloves, but that had paled in comparison to being coatless and gloveless!   😦   When the locksmith arrived I told him the make, model, color, license plate number and location of the car; then I waited in the warmth of the lobby.

He didn’t take long – it couldn’t have been more that 20 minutes.  He returned and gave me a new key and his bill -which I paid and added a generous tip.

Then it was out into the frigid night for the five mile drive to my new motel. shivering all the way.  It wasn’t long enough for the car’s heater to work its magic.  It was close to 3 AM before I was once again in bed.

I was able to stay in the sack much later than I would normally, because I was going to have to buy a coat and gloves, and I knew there wouldn’t be any stores open until at least 10 AM.  After having a complementary continental breakfast at my motel I went to a department store in a nearby mall and bought an overcoat and gloves – then it was back onto the Interstate Highway homeward, sadder but wiser!

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