New Stuff

NEWCOMERS WILL IMMEDIATELY spot the new decorations and go, “Neat!” (At least, I hope so.) Old-timers will also spot them and go, “Cool! He’s doing that again.” (At least, I hope that so also.)

The changes are the images at the top and the bottom of today’s entries.

First what, then why.

The image at the top is one of approximately 10,000 images I have taken of skies and clouds in and around Cincinnati and between here and neighboring cities. Most of them have been taken on the fly through the windshield of my Jeep with a (by now) crappy old, beat up Nikon Coolpix. 3Mpx, if memory serves. I take considerable liberties with them, including Photoshopping them without shame or scruple. I make no representations as to accuracy or authenticity. I’m after making images that please me. That only.

The name of the feature comes from a fragment I wrote about Dolly and intend to use in a story, if I ever get the chance.

Dolly maintained fervently that “all this” was not her natural calling. She knew, bone deep, that she had something greater to do. Which is why, in moments of great stress, she would escape to a field somewhere, preferably on a high hillside, with a long view, and work assiduously on her cloudwatching chops. She knew that, if you worked at something, and got really, really good at it, sooner or later, somebody would pay you to do it. She’d also heard that it took — like — 9,000 or 10,000 times at doing something before you got world-class good at it. But she figured, if she really worked at it, sooner or later, she could get a job running a cloud observatory, and then she’d have it made.

In an eastern near-suburb of Cincinnati, there is a city park — Alms Park — where one of our great families has put up a pavilion in the Elvish style as a memorial to one of their lost children. It is ideally situated on the breast of a high hill, overlooking the Ohio River valley, with an excellent prospect of Ft. Thomas on the Kentucky shore. Turn your head to the right, and you can see the city core, rising from a turn in the river like the Emerald City. Turn to the left, and there is a vertiginous drop to the floor of the Little Miami valley, and a couple of miles of clear air between this hill (Mt. Lookout) and Mt. Washington to the East.

I call it the Cloud Observatory. Og’s been there. He can tell you I don’t lie.

The image at the foot of today’s entries is a panorama taken from another of Cincinnati’s hillsides — this time, Mt. Auburn, looking toward downtown from the north. It was one of the first images I took with my little Coolpix, and one that still excites my love of rainy days and romantic scenery. For geographical geeks, I was standing on Boal Street and the row of houses in the foreground is on Milton Street. It was taken on Easter Sunday, 2005.

It used to be my tradtion to open every day’s posts with a Cloud Observation and close them with what I call a “pix” entry. Just… decoration, but, like a spoonful of flavored ice, something to clear the palate. I’m intending to start these traditions up again.

Now, as to why. I’ve really kind of neglected this blog for the past several years. I’ve posted desultorily, mostly bilious political posts, without much joy and without the fun, aesthetic stuff I used to post. Part of that has to do with the focus of my life, and the general malaise of the times. After all, Democrats have been in charge or fucking things up since 2006. Not cause for good cheer.

I think the general murk has affected my traffic, too, although I haven’t really looked lately. I’m not even sure my Google Analytics are working on this site.

But, I figures, the shit storm that is the Obama Adminstration doesn’t mean I have to be a Gloomy Gustavus. SO. I intend to spread out, to post a wider variety of items, to share images of what’s going on around me, to discuss something other than politics, and maybe LIGHTEN THIS PLACE UP A LITTLE. Whattaya say!?

Yes, that does mean I’ll be attempting more Caturday Posts. OK?

Oh! And I also remember, years ago, when Sean Kinsell was still in Japan, he complained that you couldn’t permalink the Cloud Observations. I’ve fixed that. You can, now. There’s no little linky icon, but you can right-click on the post title and copy the permalink URL from there.

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