Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year everybody

Hi all,
2010 ended with me feeling a little sad because two days ago I at last had a calm morning and was flying my aeroplane. This is a high winged single engine thing, something like a Cessna and made out of polystyrene about a foot long and bit more wingspan. First time I've tried to fly a plane and eventually I got it off the ground after numerous taxi crashes. The secret is to have confidence and give it throttle .. flies well then. Was down on the open space which was a container storage area, long time ago when my son was learning to sail at the nearby sailing club it was Humes' Pipe works. So for probably five seconds, maybe ten it flew great except towards the main road. I panic'd and cut the throttle and it fell into the sycamore trees beside the road. Sadly there is a ditch at the bottom of the bank with soft MUD. I thought I had lost it and went home ... that's $160 down the drain. Though not as bad a the guy on a film I edited for TV who had spent two years building a jet plane and it flew for perhaps twenty seconds before crashing .... all 20" captured on film!

I wondered if the wind and rain we have had the past couple of days might shake the plane down, and sure enough I could see it this morning but there is the MUD. Went home and got my aluminium ladder which was just tall enough to bridge the ditch and amazing myself I clambered across and pulling myself up by roots and branches was able to shake the plane loose ... seemingly undamaged ...and I threw it across the ditch where it landed in the grass and then I gingerly crawled backwards across the ladder.

Then I went for my 'easterly' 3km walk along to Maia from the boatclub.

So 2011 has started with a sucess! and I hope you also have good things happen to you ....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas


It is not that I am against Christmas and celebrating the birth of Christ 2010 years ago but rather the word 'merry' which to me means getting inhebriated. Spending a lot of money on a drug becuase one is so dissatisfied with ones life one wants to 'loose it' for awhile, often with a painful recovery.

My wife and I spent a happy christmas together sinking two bottles of grape juice with our christmas lunch, sad becuase our son was not with us but his presents had arrived in the nick of time .... thankyou NZ Post for delivering late on Christmas eve ....and we had numerous e-mails back and forth over the period.

Part of my drinking the grape unfermented was of course a wish to drink more than a glass in the warm weather and the danger of being picked up for DIC ...I had been tested four times in previous days.

'merry' is a established coupling with 'christmas' but I much prefer 'happy'

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Should you spend on an expensive P&S camera

It is silly in my opinion to compare and complaim about noise at 400ISO in small ompacts when after all one buys a camera for what it will do and not all cameras do everything. For me there are the other considerations about usefulness as a tool and cost of getting the capabilities. So I don't compare the compacts you choose but rather the long lensed flagships of each brand which are a better deal for the less affluent than a DSLR. To get a reasonable range of focal lengths with the DSLR costs big money and you loose the compactness of a long lens pro-sumer. I rarely shoot at anything other than 100ISO becuase I know I will not be happy with the results, prefering to get the 'emulsion' speed in editing on the rare occasions it is needed for what I do. That is the other consideration, what sort of photography you want the camera to do, probably I don't shoot what you do :-). In your case you are on the slippery slope of the DSLR owner wanting top IQ but not prepared to sacrifice it for compactness ... I carry my 0.5Mb cellphone for compactness but know it doesn't give me the IQ for larger sizes ... my son's phone results in much better IQ but isn't as compact as my phone. As suggested above perhaps you should look at 4/3 which will give you IQ but not the compactness of the P&S. A side issue which my cellphone taught me ... what comes out of the camera is rubbish until it is post processed when it is quite satisfactory. Probably applies to all small sensored cameras.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Child Proverty [ my contribution to a Standard thread]

The answer to poverty is of course more money .. the question is how do we organize it.
At the same time it seems obvious to me that we have to reduce demand on resources, usually these days imports, without undue affect to our exports. With that we have to find an answer to the downsizing of our retail sector that would bring and looking after in a meaningful way the shop workers made redundant

I remember back just two decades, which was after Rogernomics arrived by a decade, that if you earnt $50,000 pa you were in the top 5%.
But then we had Jennycide and Ruthanasia and our society went to custard. With the poor being pushed down and the rich got richer and continued in that direction despite nine years of Labour government. Can we trust either lot to get it right?. Could well be we need a further to the left party to ginger up Labour as ACT and Maori are doing to National today.

With the problems facing the country and on the horizon we simply must have a socialist government with gumption, absent it seems from today’s Labour, to get things right in a responsible manner. They had nine years to start getting it right and just sat on their hands apart from a few little measures, some of which appeared good but long-term are themselves problems such a WFF. Labour have to bite the bullet and appreciate it is not good for the country that a majority of people are beneficiaries.. There has to be a better way to get the money into the hands of those who need it without government hand-outs. It may get a few votes, the right think that is the case, but it is a strong inhibition of finding different and better ways.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Correction -- addition

"Over at The Standard there is a thread about a dam fool article by Deborah Coddington suggesting the DPB should be scraped becuase back before we had it, and just had child support being paid to mothers so they were not penniless when hubby spent his wages on booze ... it was still six o'clock closing then." I forgot to finish the sentance :-(

She suggested the DPB be scrapped because back then in the sixties women didn't have the DPB to support them when they had a child and no husband to support them. Marty G came up with a graph which shows the number of of under 20yo unmarried births declining from when the DPB was introduced. So much for the claim that DPB encourages young women to have children. He also points out that abortion became legal around that period to. Others say the there are many more pregnancies but they are terminated these days.

Do you remember the 60's? I do.

Over at The Standard' there is a thread about a dam fool article by Deborah Coddington suggesting the DPB should be scraped becuase back before we had it, and just had child support being paid to mothers so they were not penniless when hubby spent his wages on booze ... it was still six o'clock closing then.

I remember the sixties as when my live made a giant step forward and I exchanged my nice but rather hum drum job in a government department for that of joining the newish television. Everything was pretty privative and we made do with what we had to produce what we knew, in my case from around twelve years of being an amateur filmer, should be presented on the single channel. Interesting for myself, I was recently offered my personal file covering those days to save it being sent to the tip two decades after I was made redundant, I noted the comments when I was one of two staff to get a double increment in one year, almost unheard of in the public service. the other guy was senior management and I was down near the bottom.

They were happy days for a single person who could devote his entire time apart from sleep to film and TV. Having camera gear of my own I was able to shoot material as well as edit. When I joined, six weeks after President Kennedy was assasinated TVNZ only had one cameraman, Cyril Townsend, and relied upon a collection of 'stringers' around the country to shoot material. The 'stringer' in Wellington was of course the National Film Unit and I was pleased that my work was mistaken for theirs as they were the top outfit in the country in those days. Funny that becuase they rejected me when I applied for a job there some years earlier ... on reflection of my character and capabilities I'm glad I didn't get the job becuase they would have trained me up in their style rather than how I developed as an amateur paying for my own experience, and then what I quickly learnt editing the work of good, average and poor cameramen from around the world who worked for BCINA ... British Commonwealth I[?] Mews Agency.

Cyril Townsend had been out shooting a story about the Waikato river chain of dams ... The Silver Chain ... was to be the title and I was given the job of stringing it together. Not that much real editing involved becuase film was tight and expensive and not to be wasted the way cameramen did in later years when they start with a 400ft [10min 40 second, roll of film. We started with 100ft rolls :-)
But I do remember organising one rather nice cut ... a tree being felled and falling, CUT, to logs on truck going in the same direction [ Thank you Cyril for that :-) ]. After it ws show the Dominion TV critic praised the editing ... good for a youngster starting out in the business :-) I also had the fun of suggesting and shooting an animated sequence to show the chain of dams. Indeed they were great times for this little lad.

More reflections maybe later ... its my 79th birthday today and I must get ready for lunch with my better half.

My new brag-site

With the demise of Geocities went the free hosting of many webpages if you were happy to put up with [actually your visitors had to] the advertising down the right hand side ... not that intrusive really and I was organised so my photographs etc were clear of the adverts ....I lost my brag page and another extensive photo-tips site. Good things do end of course and it has taken me some time to decide that I am willing to PAY! for my pleasure ... and I hope yours too if you visit.

Anyway it is www.jcuknz-photos.com

Still in the development stage and only the front page with a small collection of linked photos for you to see. I hope you enjoy seeing them when you visit.

Shrubs and Mongeese.

As I contemplated the water draining out from my shrub this morning I thought that now I have a No.3 haircut 'all over' [ as the barber suggested ] there is less chance of hairs blocking the drainpipe. I have an old toothbrush to clean the chromed trap.
This got me thinking do we have the chrome fitting to stop things going down into the drain or coming out. It was interesting in the States to not see the fitting because the built in 'plug', not nearly as efficent in practice as our common and garden rubber/plastic plugs for holding waterr in the bowl or bath, covered the drain pipe and one couldn't see down it.

Sad to say when I knocked a tooth out of my dentures the american 'plug fitting' didn't stop it dissappearing down the drain ... whatever.

My mind then went on to the Rudyard Kipling story of the lonely european boy in India with no freinds to play with. Only child of the family and over protected by his mother who adopted, or was adopted by, a Mongoose. Definitely not to sort of thing any self respecting Mum would want for her only beloved. Anyway a cobra snake came up the drain as the boy showered, becuase in those days the drain was a simple trough exiting into the garden outside the house and was it 'Nicky'[?] the Mongoose who promptly dealt with it and the boy was saved. Mum discovered the dead snake and from then on Nicky the Mongoose was No.1 after the boy in her regard. Nice story if it has been around a long time.

Maybe some time I will elaborate again on the way water circles over the drain, clockwise and anti-clockwise ... it has had me puzzled for some years now ....WHY!

Friday, December 10, 2010

jcuknz'S WORLD TRIP and new photo website

It is a long time since I last blogged and have been living with family the the United States with a quick trip to the UK to see more family ... though I was provided with computers to work on it wasn't the same as being on my own old trustworthy machine :-)

Meanwhile I have bitten the bullet and decided to PAY for a website instead of bludging on Geocities as I had for previous years ....www.jcuknz-photos.com

It is in its starting period with just a small selection but in due course it will bloom with both illustration of my visual interests, dare I, yes I do, say talents in this direction and a help/guidance section for those entering the activity of photography. I get considerable pleasure in remembering my observations of the world I live in that were and maybe continue to be recorded by my cameras. I had a huge burst of enthusiasm when I adopted digital ... with the availability of editing programmes I can do things quite undreamed of in my old, now dismantled, wet darkroom.

Back here in New Zealand I am more regularly visiting the main blogs of both left and right. Last night I noted that one of the more rabid right wing bloggers has returned after a period of being banned ... and no doubt for him and his fellow jousters the fun has returned ... but for this reader that blog has returned to the futile squallour of the cat or dog fight with insults rather than sensible comment ... altogether a shame. On the left it is more subdued but still present to a degree with the non-sensical re iteration of past errors as if they are fact.

So life continues as every without much preparation for the problems global warming and the financial mess the world is in. The question is does one hide ones head in the sand ostrich like ... a very tempting solution for an older person ... or try to do something about it, though well aware that it is unusual though not unknown for a single person to have much effect unless they are brilliant, and I know I'm not that :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

When the knife is in don't forget to twist it ....

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20spill.html?th&emc=th

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Restaurent with a movable view

Visiting the States I lived for a week with food from Subway and it kind of put me off since, that was five years ago. Today I read about one for construction workers on the 'twintowers' replacement building, there are about 1000 of them and for those at the top, currently 27 floors up, it can take more than an hours lenchbreak to ride the 'elevators' down and back up to the job. So to have a restaurent and all mod-cons where you work is great, waterless toilets instead of buckets etc.. No more eating lunch out on the beam, as famous photos record.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/nyregion/17subshop.html?th&emc=th

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stealing water from our rivers ... a warning.

As farmers try to be more productive, as in Canterbury, and want to take more water, either for free or at an expense [ as I just heard somebody ranting at on Morning Report] there is a warning coming from Iraq.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/science/earth/13shatt.html?th&emc=th
Here the reduction in flow of the river is permitting salt water to encrouch up the river from the sea and also the flushing effect is greatly reduced leading to pollution. Perhaps we are just too clever us humans and one eyed in our endeavours.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Save by de-recognise?

By de-recognising governments that are victimising their populations in Africa and elsewhere for the sole benefit of their rulers it is suggested they will become unstable and fall to the masses who them elect/create a truely democratic government working for the people rather than rulers.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/opinion/12englebert.html?th&emc=th

Afghanistan

A quote from Bob Herbert in the NYT ...
The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/opinion/12herbert.html?th&emc=th

Which could be titled "The lost war" just like first the British in the 1800's and the Russians in the 1900's, so the combined forces in 2100.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Rabbi's Quote

Roger Cohen in the NYT gives us thia quote by the Rabbi at his daughter's Bat Mitzi.

The notion here is that the word of God is fire, redoubled fire if you like, and that if you get too far from it you freeze, but if you draw too near to it you burn. “The word of God can actually destroy you if you get too close,” Bachman suggested.

So evident with the religious hard liners who compose a major part of the Israeli IDF and results is appawling mistakes like the recent killings on board the relief ship. Also how baren life would be without the guidence of religion in our lives. The two extremes Rabbi Bachman talks about.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The speed limit tolerance experiment at QBWE

I suspect that the ’success’ of this experiment [ Only two deaths instead of in double figures] will lead to a permanent reduction in the maximum ‘over the posted’ limit. That doesn’t unduely bother me because it takes some time for my car to warm up and ‘want’ to go faster than 100K … usually it is happy at 90K on short trips. I watch my mirror to let others risking demerits and their licences get past quickly, particularly when I am towing.

But what I do think is missing from the current police position is tolerance for those overtaking. It makes a lot of sense to permit 110<130 to get the vehicle back into its proper lane quicker. So many times we read the complaint about the slow driver who speeds up at passing lanes and stops the driver obeying the limit from overtaking. A first stage could be to permit a higher limit at passing lanes, then if that doesn't adversely affect the road toll [I'm sure it won't], maybe extend it to the rest of the roads.[On that I'm ambivilant]

The comment about increased police presence suggests to me that the low toll would have been achieved by that and not the reduction of tolerance from 110 to 105. Attention to driving rather than speed being the important factor. Or maybe it was a sense of resignation "Its going to take longer so what the hell. Let's be courtious" I stayed home and only made town trips over the QBWE.

Though I have proved to my own satisfaction when towing a trailer compared to without over a distance of around 200K that being limited to 90k with the trailer made the journey not that much longer, fifteen minutes on maybe three hours or so. One needs to ease off from 90K much less than when doing 100K.

It is experience like that that make me a more relaxed driver, and maybe becuase I'm getting older every day. What does get my goat are these idiots who tailgate [ME!] as if they are at Bathgate or Nascar and the ridiculous amount they use their brakes.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Raindrops

There is something about rain and raindrops which attracts photographers I'm sure as I have seen quite a few over the years and taken my share. Here I used ny editing ability to combine a close shot of the drops on the car's windscreen and the another of the view through the window when the drops were out of focus.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Project ... copying past memories

Family have been on to me to hand over old family photos, not those which have been handed down to me but those illustrating our family's activities. So in due course I got myself a film and slide copier from the Warehouse complete with eding programme which seems to work reasonably well. Although at only $130 plus freight it cannot be compared to one which I saw on TradeMe which apparently cost $1600 new ... though quite a bit of the difference could be tooling up for a short production run and digital things were very expensive only a few years ago.

My simple little 3.3Mp camera cost me over $2000 while the latest camera I got 10Mp was only $900 a year or two back. Simple P&S cameras, less features, smaller only cost a few hundred ... many more pixels than my original Canon s20 which is a very good though simple camera.

Way back around 1980 I was shooting colour negative film and I suspect the dyes have faded with the passage of time and not really keeping the films in 'proper' conditions .. just in glassine bags in a number of houses without controlled temperature.

We had a Golden Labrador, apparently she was not pure but had 1/64th English Sheepdog who featured in the film Chitti Chitti Bang Bang
She was bought to be a companion for our son, his dog, although when he went overseas she became my wife's dog.

Started being called Putty but somehow this became Bub. Endless energy for people to throw stick both on land and onto water.

So here is the beautiful girl waiting for us

She long ago went to Dog's Heaven after about fourteen years and her successor also spent fifteen years with us and she's been gone about five years so it is a real memory from our family's past.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

pseudonyms/ZX80

The trouble with giving people 'names' is that they become "pseudonymous, not anonymous" and some will say that is a bad thing ... if you believe in what you say you should stand up to get your head cut off.
Personally I am quite sure anyone with a modicum of computer skills can find out who I am and after all this time [ compared to common computer usage .. post Sinclairs ZX80, of which I once owned an eighth share] I'm reluctant to change. I think 'Chubby' is quite a nice nickname. A mildly horrifying thought is that the moment you say anything on the web it is likely to be picked up by the search engines and it is usually the comments that on reflection one would wish to be forgotten, like this one probably :-(

Further to the ZX80 the other seven couldn't understand why somebody who was just an 'operator' as opposed to a 'electronic technician' like all them could be interested in a computer. I remember when we gathered to be shown our new purchase and some thing like "a=4, b=2, a+b=6" was displayed on the screen and my comment was "WOW white man's magic!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A drink age?

Kiwiblog has a thread on this subject and reading through it am I glad that a single stubbie makes me sleepy thanks to my upbringing .. getting pretty drunk for the first time at 22yo [despite two years in the army and earlier 10yo being supplied with a couple of gin and oranges by best man and groomsman at a wedding. Groom was a army major and they were in the army too] and disliking the hangover and waste of money; though my guardian let me taste her Guiness [horrible!, put me off it for life]and have a shandy when out riding our bikes at around 12yo and virtually not drinking until my fifties when it was wine for medicinal purposes .. red wine good for the heart? But I guess I was also lucky in one sense that I didn't grow up with a bunch of freinds through until adulthood so no peer pressure, though obviously I missed a lot of fellowship becuase of that.

I object to any age limit for parents supplying a drink, suitably watered down maybe, to their own children, but not others without specific permision from their parents. If a drinking age make policing easier I agree with that, it makes better sense than raising the buying age. Agree that prohibition makes it more attractive for the consumer trying to rebel from their upbringers and the slygrog merchant making a buck from selling the stuff. The gangs have enough options without adding alchohol to the list of drugs they would supply.

Trying another way

My card reader in the computer isn't working and refused to accept the mini card from my cellphone in its adaptor. Wanted to send a snap I had taken to family. It is now some days latter and the blooms have passed their best so it is no good getting out one of my 'proper' cameras. [ been sick for a couple of days]

So I tried an experiment which by all I've read would work. Put the mini-card in its adaptor into my Panasonic FZ50 and connect it by cable to computer USB input. It worked! and I have been able to send the shot to DiL.

Rosebush is about three feet high sitting in a 2'6" raised bed so cellphone was held above my head pointing down at blooms ... cellphone with its little button for a trigger is horrible to use and most times ambient light is too strong to view the screen properly .. plus my eyesight doesn't like LCD screens .. much prefers an Electronic viewfinder.
The bush is several years old and for its first years was planted in the ground, to be transfered into a pot when I though I was going to change the flowerbed into a carpark, then when a raised bed was made it was replanted with plenty of depth for its roots ... so it has rewarded me hansomely for its freedom regained :-)

A visitor on my letterbox

Been out helping a lady in distress, her microwave has given up after 34 years of use, "Everything works except the light bulb which gave up a few weeks ago and the heating thingie". Yes well I guess the heating thingie is what we have these machines for :-).
For taking the machine from above her fridge, gosh it was heavy, to the repair shop for a diagnosis, I was treated to lunch in town and when I got home I found this fellow on my letterbox. Would have liked to have used a smaller aperture [ taken at f/4 with zoom at 432mm Angle of view] but didn't want to reduce the shutter speed from 1/200 as I was hand holding ... whatever ... here he/she is ....

I could add that I was using my 2 dioptre close-up lens which brings me, the front element of the lens to about 13 inches from the subject with the focusing range of the camera lens ... unfortunately this meant that I couldn't support my hand with the end of the letterbox ... I guess maybe I should get myself a stronger CU lens but the '2' does for most things. Although I would call this a grasshopper I think maybe it should be called a cicada .... maybe they are the same thing? This was a much smaller beastie than others I have photographed which would have been twice as big, the body. Perhaps I should contratulate him for getting me to use one of my better cameras after a long interval, the cellphone is so handy for snaps and with me all the time I have my trousers on.

"Pukeko" A New Zealand native

I was cruising around after getting up early and looking for shots on Otago Peninsula and saw this bird quite close. Close and far is a relative term depending on the reach of the lens you are using. This morning I had x12 zoom plus my new 2.2 Raynox telephoto adaptor. The amazing thing about this photo, just a average record shot of the little beastie, is that I had forgtten to adjust the shutter speed from previous shots. So can you imagin get such a reasonable result hand holding, though probably leaning in my car seat and on the windosill, using a 950mm equivalent angle of view at 1/20. Obviously a fluke, a lucky fluke, and it has been sharpened in editing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

'Peninsula Clouds'

Nothing very dramatic and I'm not sure why I should have taken it .. but I did .. so included to show I have my off days. Though really I guess we all have lots of trigger presses that don't really make it for every one that does.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Pagent Girl"

Experimenting with combining threshold with normal tonality as a means to isolate the subject material from surrounds.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Moonlight Express"

Saw the moon and heard the train ... just had time to rest the camera on my front gate post ... it is concrete block .... and pressed the trigger for a one second exposure .....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Landing"

Messing around with the computer and a good editing programme is fun and so SO MUCH easier that it used to be in the 'wet darkroom'

Friday, April 2, 2010

Today's Photo -- "Just a couple of seagulls"

I slowly walked closer and closer to this pair taking a shot each time in case they flew off until I had the composition I wanted as here. One of a number of shots from a photo-safari on a foggy morning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Today's Photo -- "Hills above the sea"

A fascinating effect which only lasted for a minute or two, at least after I saw and photographed it...

Cost effectiveness and the Benefit

The recent story about a woman who returned to the DPB becuase the job, instead of improving her situation, cost her income suggests to me that the 'minimum wage' needs to be more than the benefit.

One can use this as an argument to reduce the DPB but that is inhumane abuse.

The solution as I see it is to ensure that abatements do not cut in so quickly or severely. So that it is definitely worth the persons getting off the benefit.

The problem with this is the petty mindedness of those who think somebody is on a good lurk ... They well may be from some peoples viewpoint but when one is concerned at the amount of government money going on benefits one should estimate which will cost less, a whole benefit or just part of one subsidising a persons efforts.

Sadly this has been the situation for decades through both left and right-wing governments. From the small mindedness I read in papers and now blogs I doubt if progress will be made ... but one can dream and hope for a good solution.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whose Country is it?

The far-right extremists have gone into conniptions.

The bullying, threats, and acts of violence following the passage of health care reform have been shocking, but they’re only the most recent manifestations of an increasing sense of desperation.
read on ... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/opinion/27blow.html?th&emc=th

Personally I think it is all rather sad.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More of it .....

I thought health care was going to be "Waterloo". Now it's "Armageddon". Can these guys just make up their minds?

If you can't cry it is best to laugh

Some of the humour .....With a lack of knowledge of American history I miss some of it ... enjoy ....


You might be a Republican if:

you're afraid to buy a cup of coffee without a side arm.

you think there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.

you believe we shouldn't have universal health care because God doesn't want us to.

you think the guy who flew into the IRS building "had a point".

you don't know, or don't want children to know, that Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

you didn't know why people were laughing at the designation "tea bagging".

you like Michele Bachmann for her fine mind.

you think Sarah Palin is just gosh darn cute enough to be president.

A reply to the assinine right on Lindsay Mitchells blog

In case it gets moderated out unlike the silly folk who usually inhabit that 'rabbit' blog .....

America screwed the British Empire and bleed her dry in the first years of WWII. Now they are screwing themselves with their extravagent living relying on Asian money to feed their absurd lifestyle.

The foolish scaremongering of the American right and their toadies in NZ is a national disgrace and helps to promote the views of Dirk. Over the years I have spent months in the United States and with a few exceptions found them to be pretty much as I find people in NZ. Except due to the size of the country they are very insular compared to people in small countries like NZ.

The ironical thing is that with the new bill America has not followed the UK, NZ and various other countries into a government run healthcare system ... mores the pity ... but has adopted the Swiss concept which probably is the best the world can expect given the absurd and old worldly concepts of freedom they espouse.

The fearful stories one hears about State Healthcare are mostly hogwash and fabrication by foolish irresponsible people such as KG who scaremonger deliberately ignoring the truth of the subject with ridiculous untruths mixed with enough truth to fool the less knowledgable.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The scream of the American Right

The wailing and knashing of teeth as the American right attack the new Healthcare legislation of Obama ....This reminds me of the screaming child just out of the womb. Obama seems to have delivered America into the circle of civilised nations who look after their sick.

Though sadly instead of creating a genuine healthcare system he has forced the American people into the hands of the con merchants, the insurance companies. This is maybe the only way the Americas would accept their human responsibilities to their fellow man, and hopefully will work for them. I think it is similar to the Swiss approach to the subject. Though according to DPF {Kiwiblog] it is in direct contrast to some provinces of Canada where private health insurance is illegal.

It would be wonderful if that was the case in New Zealand and those contributions went into the general pool instead of paying for priority treatment with care being provided as required and as facilties were available by both private and public hospitals. So public and doctors had the opportunity, the freedom, to work be helped in the system of choice. Then we would see if the bureaucratic system of the public hospitals was really neccessary.

I am firmly of the opinion that the only satisfactory system is for healthcare to be funded by government, or SOE, supported by contributions on a 'whole of life' basis, though scaled to income, rather than the confidence trick operated by companies of low premiums when you are likely to be well and high when you are likely to be sick.

Frankly while I accept and support some of the right's commonsense views I think that the extremists are utterly sick in their mindset as they attack Obama on the basis of freedom. Being required to contribute to one's own healthcare instead of squandering it on high living and becoming a burden on one's fellow man seems to be the only sensible solution as the world gets crowded beyond the immagination of the original freedom fighters/thinkers of past centuries.

Freedom to polute the world, to go where one wills was a fine sentiment in previous centuries but is completely impracticable with the current world population with emerging nations struggling to match the wasteful extravagences of the 'West' where a small proportion of the world consumes/wastes most of the world resources.

As a child one learns the norms of fitting into one's family, the sensible restrictions our parents put on us for their welfare and that of their neighbours in the home building and elsewhere ... a concept sadly missing in many cases illustrated by the noisy children in supermarkets and aeroplanes ... and in my case yesterday in a Post Shop as I waited to pay my creditcard account

So must adults learn to show consideration for thir fellow man, however revolting they may be, to moderate their behaviour to make room for the current population on earth. There is no meaningful getting off available. One of the important aspects is controlling the results of our desire to propagate so that hopefully before amagedon arrives we reduce world population to something it can support without self-destruction.

So the 'right' are obviously the barbarians of the 21st century and must be restrained from gaining control of our societies here on earth. It is a matter of self preservation and common sense.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tricking a P&S into getting a shot of the moon

The thought crossed my mind that apart from the average P&S doesn't have a long enough zoom/reach to get a good shot of the moon just how could it be done.

The main problem is that the moon is a small but bright object, see an earlier thread on moon shots,surrounded by a large expanse of black. The camera metering system is designed to work out an average of the light captured by the whole frame ... so the little bright object gets over exposed ... and HOW!

There is a useful trick that one can use for various reasons with most if not all digital cameras, and some automatic film cameras I guess. This is the 'half-trigger' technique where you show the camera something and press half trigger. The camera sets exposure and focus and if you continue to hold the half trigger you can point the camera elsewhere and then fully press the trigger for the shot. Focus and exposure will be as 'pre-set' and not for the recorded subject. I frequently use this technique to avoid going into manual mode when 'exposing to the right' to avoid burnt out skies.

So for the moon ... if one held a cigarette lighter or lit match close in front of the lens the exposure might correct for the bright object which is the moon but focus would be all to hell. So in addition to the light source you need a close-up lens to make the camera think the light is at infinity. [ a x10 plastic magnifying glass such as I have could do this job ] Holding HT you put the light and CU lens away and point at the moon and get a nicely exposed and sharp shot.

Today's Photo -- "My first IR"

My first IR taken with my Canon P&S, the s20, a simple but great little camera. Suprisingly sharp considering that the exposure was one second and hand held. I remembering reading Larry Bolch, the Canadian photographer, writing that he could handhold long exposures like 1/5th steadier than faster 1/30th ones. Must be you take more care when you think it is not going to work.

Film Review "The Road" "Girl with Dragon Tat"

I am a bit deaf and deficient in higher frequency hearing, one of the rewards of getting old. So often it seems people are mumbling in their beards even when they don't have any growth, like femals speakers. So my preference is to go to films with sub-titles and I recently got a clue that when you hire a DVD you can select sub-titles, even english ones. So when I confirm this as a fact I may well buy a DVD player. I have a DVD player in my computer but it doesn't read all DVDs so the only time I tried I was dissappointed. Anyway to the films ....

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a Swedish film with sub-titles by a NZ outfit AAV or something. A bit disturbing that they let the sub-titles run over cuts quite often. But the story was a modern Mrs Peel if you remember her from long long ago.
It is strange that I thought I had missed it a good month or more ago and it is still running admittedly it was a 5.20pm screening. The small cinema was over half full, a rare event these days and largely seemed to be middle aged women ... interesting demographics .. is that the right word?

Well worth seeing with a 'modern woman' dressed in black leather and rings in her nose, more than my grand-daughter has. But the Character was 24 and GD is only 17 so give her time. Both are slim and elegant in an offbeat way. Dragon girl is a computer wizz able to hack and works for a security firm. She has a Guru for computers who reminded me of my Guru who guided me until he left the country.
Won't tell you any more about the film except it has some grusome sequences well handled along with sex scenes which didn't disturb this easilly embarrased old man.
So great twists and I am reminded of Jack Reacher in the Lee Child's books ... talking about an old gun-slinger in the West "He never shot anybody who didn't deserve to die". There is a sequel to Dragon Girl which I'm looking forward to.

"The Road" tells the story, I guess pretty harrowing, of a man and his young son following so unspecified apocolypse event which had destroyed American civilisation. Fortunately I missed most of the mumbling dialog but becuase I was trapped at the wrong end of my row of seats I sat through it ALL. I'm sure if I could have heard the dialog I would have left the cinema in desparation ... that sums it up pretty well :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The horse/cow has bolted

Reading WEB Griffin's book black op I found the characters talk about 'the cow is out of the shed' rather than horses out of the stable.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today's Photo -- "Glenwood Canyon"

Glenwood Canyon to the west of Denver. The Colorado River flows through the canyon on its way south. I also saw an AMTRAK train and had and would travel through the valley by AMTRAK on this and susequent visits to the States.
The blurred people you can see had the camera that I wasn't using for this photo so we had an interesting chat about the good points of the Panasonic FZ 10/20. This was before the FZ30 and then FZ50 came out I was using my Nikon 5700 for infra-red as the Panasonic has too strong an ir cutting filter to be satisfactory.

How lucky we are!

Reading this morning in the New York Times a story about a doctor having to give away a patient suffering from cancer becuase the Medicaid payments to doctors had been cut in the state of Ohio, and other places too I expect.

It seems that the reduced payments simply do not cover the administration costs of the practice. From my American doctor source I gather that if you have a good balance of insurance covered patients you can afford to deal with a few medicaid patients. But this Ohio doctor cannot have enough full fee paying patients to make ends meet in the practice, so he cannot afford to spend time on medicaid patients.

There is a major cost for any american doctor and that is malpractice insurance which quoted in the article at around $43T is much more than many have to live on, quite a lot I'd guess in Ohio with cutbacks over the years of industry. My informant told me he was paying around what a superanuient gets to live on here in New Zealand.

So we are very lucky that a person by the name of Woodhouse came up with our Accident Compensation scheme, messed around by subsequent politicians but at least still basically a worth while arrangement. Abused by some as they found loopholes but I guess that is to be expected with any scheme. It is a human characteristic to look out for oneself in the short term, be they capitalist or socialist, it just reveals itself in differing opportunities. The boss tries to screw the worker and he returns the compliment.

So for all the problems we have here I think we are lucky to have the system of medical care and accident coverage that we have.

Children in Public

I remember a popular panel speaker saying that "Children should be seen and not heard ... and preferably not seen either" A bit extreme the punch line but I think the first is a valid attitude.

These days, and for several generations, it has been 'normal' to tend to ignore people other than oneself and if ours disturb others the concept it that it is 'the others' problem. Consideration for others seems to have gone out the door and we have children flying in planes making a racket and somebody who makes a comment about them to a freind, but is overheard ... shades of stage whispers perhaps ... is crucified as being un reasonable.

Then it turns out that the husband/ father was sitting beside the commentor and apparently doing nothing to keep the children happy and quiet ... that's womens' business anyway.

Side issues like one part is Labour and the other ACT add nuencess to story.

But it all boils down to bad parenting and unbringing of children rampant these days when corporal punishment is an offence and children are simply permitted to run wild and un controlled and thereby not taught to have consideration for others when out of the home environment.

Friday, March 5, 2010

An inept solution

It is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted this suggestion that those involved in abusing and killing their unwanted offspring should be paid to undergo sterilisation. A parrallel suggestion is that those on the DPB should be required to practice contraception to avoid prolonging their time on the benefit by having more children. Since contraception is the killing of a life form there seems to be a moral conflict there.

For years now, in good times and bad, I have been puzzled and dis-approving of the dole-bludger bashers. Everybody looks out for themselves and we have a society which enables some to choose to stay at home and look after children by providing an income to sustain them in that endeavour ... some suggest it is too generous but I'm not sure it is in most cases. Those who complain about paying tax to support these people are so selfish and I wonder how they would get one if there were no benefits and we had a mass of people scrabbling to make a living and forcing down wages for those fortunate to have a job. The insecurity it would create for everybody.

Living in different universes

Paul Krugman the ecconomist in his weekly NYT Op-Ed column talks about how the left and the right are living in completely different universes, interlectually and morally, with their approach to everything Congress and the Senate are discussing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/opinion/05krugman.html?th&emc=th

It strikes me that something similar is occuring in various blogs I read based here in New Zealand.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Photo for today -- "Ford"

This is a small stream which flows into the Colorado River just east of Glenwood Canyon[?]. A bit 'cluttered' for a photo but it appealed to me at the time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Photo for today -- "Footprint"

Do you find footprints in the sand interesting, particularly when the light shows them off nicely? Perhaps it is a 'photographer's 'thing' .. the effect of light on otherwise quite dull aspects of the world

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photo for Today -- "Double or Quits"

I can understand why two people needing access to an area would employ a padlock each but a third using wire? Crazy! It was just a waste area where a school had once been and there was free access from a pathway on the opposite side of the ground.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Photo for today -- "Dog's Fun"

Enough of IR .. now for a multiple image with three snips of time joined to illoustrate a dog having a whale of a time chasing seagulls at the beach.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photo for Today ---'Canon Trees'

Still in Canon with this small collection of infra-red studies. I didn't catch the train since it was a private charter and I didn't push myself on the organisers. Later that morning I found an interesting little 15" guage railway which took me to a lookout over the gorge that the big train travels ... I will try and find a photo I took of it for another day. Meanwhile another Canon ....

Californian Death Spiral

A challenging and gripping heading for an OP-ED by renowned Paul Krugman in the NYT today. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19krugman.html?th&emc=th
The health insurance business is facing a crisis in California and I expect elsewhere becuase of the financial crisis. People who think they are healthy and less likely to need insurance coverage are dropping out or moving to to cheaper less coverage options. Naturally the people who know they are sick or likely to be hang on. So the proportion of uncalled on premiums of the healthy which pay for the treatment of the sick falls and the insurance companies increase premiums some as much as 39%. A death spiral for sure.

Caused of course by the natural instinct to look after oneself and to hell with the rest of the world. This is a basic right wing characteristic and promoted as a good thing. It isn't and merely provides the best argument I know for compulsory contributions to preferably a government run or government owned , non-profit making, organisation to handle health care for everybody in the country.

It beats me how a leading country of the world can be so blind to this basic need for its people. How a so called civilisaded people can be so primative in its approach to health care for so many of its people. For somebody living in a sensibly run country it is hard to imagine a situation where 20% or well over 45 million of one's fellow citizens do not have access to health care other than emergency situations. It is a situation really too horrible to contemplate .. yet the right wing think it is good .. how wrong can the right be. Oxymoron ?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slow Boat to China

NYT today http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/business/energy-environment/17speed.html?th&emc=th
Mearsk Shipping have discovered that by sailing their ships at 12 knots or 20 Knots instead of the previously standard 24knots they save considerable money, even when longer crew costs are taken into account, and also reduce emmissions.

While American States apparently are raising top speed limits it is suggested that driving at 55mph is better than 65mph. Here in NZ a couple of winteres ago I built myself a camper trailer to sleep in the motor camp close to the ski field I like, Cardrona, a field with plenty of beginners runs suitable for an old mad returning to the sport after an absence of several decade so feeling nervous and cautious.


Anyway because I was towing this light camper [ 4ft by 6ft ] I was supposed to not do more than 90k as opposed to the 100k permitted for the car by itself. I discovered despite this limitation my trip time only increased by about 15 minutes on a three hour trip, hardly worth bothering about. Fuel consumption remained about the same and I was saving on the backpacket bed costs, let alone a hotel cost. The trailer paid for inself with about three trips of four or five days each.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photo for today --- "The River"

The River close by Canon Station

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Photo for today --- "IR in Canon"

One of a series of IR shots I took around the Canon Railway station while waiting for the train.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Photo for today --"Beacons" an infra-red study

Not all cameras can shoot IR satisfactorilly. My Nikon 5700 doesn't supress the IR as much as my Panasonic FZ50 so with a proper IR filter, not just a deep red filter, Wratten 87 equivalent, I get the IR result without any redness. Exposures tend to be long such as one second at f/4 with 100 ISO so movement is blurred but the results are satisfying with some subjects.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Photo of the Moon for a neighbouring blogger


Acroos the road between my house and the harbour runs a train track and one evening I saw the moon and heard the train and rushed to place the camera on the concrete post which supports my front gate. I selected one second exposure and it has been modified a bit in editing. Camera and editing programme, a good one that is, are equal partners towards the final result.

Photo for Today -- "Back Beach"

Back Beach is now a snug little anchorage protected from the easterlies by reclaimation and buildings for Port Otago and the log trade, while to the west the bay curves around with a high hill to protect from westerlies over the uppper harbour. This morning it was foggy and little or no wind.

US Army Corp are stupid

Reading the following story it strikes me that the USMC are somewhat lacking in common sense. They have a reported 10,000 single parents and they don't set up a foster division to free up the soldiers they wish to draft away from bases where parents can both serve and look after their children.
NYT 12.2.2010
Single Mother Is Spared Court-Martial
Stephen Morton for The New York Times
Specialist Alexis Hutchinson's plan for care of her son, Kamani, while she was to be deployed to Afghanistan fell through.

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Published: February 11, 2010
Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook and single parent, was days from deploying to Afghanistan last fall when her mother backed out of an agreement to take care of her 10-month-old son for the duration of her one-year tour.

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Mother Refuses Deployment (November 17, 2009)
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Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Angelique Hughes, Specialist Hutchinson's mother, found she was unable to help.
Specialist Hutchinson’s mother, Angelique Hughes, had a child of her own at home and was also caring for a sick sister while running a day care center from her home in Oakland, Calif. Feeling overwhelmed, Ms. Hughes took the boy back to Savannah, Ga., where Specialist Hutchinson was based, and begged her to find someone else.

That is when Specialist Hutchinson did what might seem natural to a parent but to the Army was a serious offense: she stayed home with her child and missed her flight to Afghanistan. She was arrested and later charged with offenses that could have led to a court-martial and jail time.

On Thursday, Specialist Hutchinson received an other-than-honorable discharge, ending an impasse that had surprised many legal experts and spurred lively debate in military circles.

In a news release, the Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., said Specialist Hutchinson’s rank had been reduced to private and that she would lose some Army and veterans’ benefits.

The statement asserted that evidence from other soldiers and Specialist Hutchinson herself indicated that she “didn’t intend to deploy to Afghanistan with her unit and deliberately sought ways out of the deployment.”

Rai Sue Sussman, Specialist Hutchinson’s lawyer in San Francisco, said the soldier was prepared to deploy and that they would have rebutted those accusations at trial. “This resolution will give Alexis closure and the ability to move on immediately, without a lengthy trial and possible jail term,” Ms. Sussman said.

Legal experts said it would have been extraordinary if Specialist Hutchinson had been court-martialed over child care issues, saying they could not recall a similar case. However, hundreds and perhaps thousands of soldiers have been administratively discharged for such problems in recent years.

Some legal experts speculated that Specialist Hutchinson’s commanders threatened court-martial to send a message to other single-parent soldiers in the brigade. Last year, more than 10,000 single parents on active military duty deployed overseas.

“It could be that they have a ton of single parents and deploy regularly and can’t afford to have disruptions like this,” said Michelle M. Lindo McCluer, a former Air Force lawyer who is now director of the National Institute of Military Justice, a nonprofit group in Washington.

In its statement, the Third Infantry Division noted that there were many other single parents or dual-military families in Specialist Hutchinson’s unit who deployed to Afghanistan. “They have experienced similar challenges but have been able to overcome them so they could deploy with their units,” the statement said.

Specialist Hutchinson’s case unfolded about the same time as the division’s commander was embroiled in another controversy. In December, the commander, Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III, who oversees forces in northern Iraq, issued orders threatening to punish soldiers, married or single, who become pregnant. (Punishment was also threatened for sexual partners.) The general, who has sent home about eight soldiers from Iraq because of pregnancy, later backed off the threat of court-martialing such soldiers.

Raised in Oakland, Specialist Hutchinson was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps in high school and then enlisted in the Army upon graduation. She wanted, she said in a written response to questions, “to get away from home and try something new.” Her son, Kamani, was born in January 2009.

Specialist Hutchinson declined to say anything about the boy’s father, other than that he had never been involved with Kamani. Ms. Hughes said she believed he was a former soldier.

Single parents are required to file family care plans months before deployment. In her plan, Specialist Hutchinson listed her mother as a long-term caregiver and in October she used a two-week leave to take her son to Oakland.

But it took only a few sleepless nights of caring for the infant for Ms. Hughes, 42, to decide she was in over her head. “I was working a full day and then staying up all night with Kamani,” she said.

Ms. Hughes said that she called Specialist Hutchinson’s company commander to explain the problem and that he said the specialist could delay deployment for 30 days to find alternative care. But apparently the delay was never granted because Specialist Hutchinson was arrested in November when she returned to her post, Hunter Army Airfield, a day after missing her flight to Afghanistan. In January, she was charged with absence without leave, dereliction of duty, insubordinate conduct and missing movement.

Kevin Larson, a spokesman for Fort Stewart, said Specialist Hutchinson had been given a previous extension to work out her family care plan, though he could not say when. Mr. Larson also said that a “notable national veterans organization,” which he declined to name, had offered to care for Kamani during Specialist Hutchinson’s deployment, but that she refused the help.

The legal wrangling over Specialist Hutchinson’s case stirred much discussion on blogs, with sympathizers wondering why the Army would prosecute a parent struggling with child care problems and critics questioning the soldier’s motives.

Ms. Hughes has heard some of that criticism firsthand. “People have said to me: ‘She signed this contract. She’s supposed to go. That’s her first priority,’ ” Ms. Hughes said. “My response is: ‘I don’t think so. This is her child. This is her family. This is her priority. The military is a job.’ ”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photo for today --- Photo trickery

I like this shot as an example of how my concept of digital photography works ... that camera and editing programme are equal partners towards the end result ... and a knowledge of what you can do in editing can help in the field.

I was early and picked my spot for the shot but somebody later decided to stand on the stone pillar in front of the railcar. But I also got a shot of the railcar further back on the bridge and used a portion of that to replace the part of the car hidden by the person. It involved a small enlargement to compensate for the car being further back for the first shot. For this I think Paint Shop Pro superior to Adobe Photoshop ... still I started with PSP becuase then I couldn't afford PS and have never really taken to PS .. likely the reverse would be the case for somebody starting with Adobe :-)

It amused me :-)

As a photographer I am interested in how other togs work and was amused to see somebody using the LCD screen in bright sunlight when the camera has an Electronic Viewfinder, EVF. I guess old habits from film die hard and I almost always use my EVF and only the LCD for occasional low and high angle shots.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photo for today --- "Freinds and Romans"

I wonder if the person who stuck this piece of wood in the sand saw the same thing that I did.

The inequality of unemployment

There is an interesting and disturbing op-ed in the NYT this morning by Bob Herbert where he points out the wide differences in the amount of unemployment in different decile groups.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/opinion/09herbert.html?th&emc=th
It makes me wonder how similar groupings are being affected in New Zealand. I would expect it to be pretty similar which is disturbing for the long term effects of governments doing little or nothing to rectify the problem.

It seems to me that in the Unioted States we have a caring President and supporting party hamstrung by the political system from achieving any progress while in NZ it is the basic 'speak calming words while doing nothing'.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Road Killers

From Lidsay Mitchell's blog ....
"The state of Victoria has a higher population than NZ but fewer road fatalities. Last year they had a record low in road deaths.

But a terrible accident at the weekend killed five young people. Typical aspects all present. Young, male driver. Limited licence requirements flouted. High speed. Alcohol.

STEVEN Johnstone, the 19-year-old driver in Sunday's horror crash that claimed five young lives in Mill Park, makes a chilling case study on the limits of the law. The apprentice roof tiler had a speeding conviction in the past year and was only allowed to carry one passenger, according to police.

Instead, his car was crammed with six people as it slammed into an oak tree at 140 km/h after hurtling through the intersection of Childs and Plenty roads.
This is followed by a discussion of the limitations of the law, what has been tried so far and what direction the police may go in next."



The problem is peer pressure and the fact that everybody wants to be liked and fit into some group. This applies at all ages and only a very few are strong enough in character to be individuals and say 'this is stupid behaviour'. In childhood I was frequently sitting on my guardian's knee while her husband drove. He was a cautious Scotish Presbitarian :-) and I'm sure I intook his attitudes to the road ... until I got my licence and occasionally pushed the venerable [ 1937 in 1948 ] Morris 8 up to 50 mph when alone. At that age I didn't have a 'peer' group.
So I'm lucky to be alive.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Censoring of posts and bans

It seems most common on those of the left wing who apparently cannot stand comments against their point of view. Perhaps I can be sympathetic that they are paying to publish their views, taking the trouble to run their blogs, so why should they tolerate discenting views.

I guess we expect everything to be free and easy to abuse each other with impunity, a common problem with some blogs ... a sort of fighting without blood or death ... not many wars in our neighbourhood.

I got refered to one thread on Red Alert and it was very disappointing with so many deletions and bans and hard to follow just what the thread was about. Will not go back there in a hurry.

It does seem rather juvenile all the censoring and banning.

Today's Photo --- The football


I could see nobody around at the time so how and why the ball came to be sitting on the rocks is a mystery. I did once notice a ball caught in a whirl of rubbish on the side of a river but that had obviously fallen into the river higher up the stream, but on the rocks is a puzzlement :-)