artbycassiday

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bad Golf Made Easy

Bad Golf Made Easy by Bud Cassiday

I've golfed for many years and have here compiled my list of secrets of bad golf to share with duffers everywhere.

1) How to bogey from 95 yards out in the middle of the fairway.
This is not as hard as it sounds. 95 yards away from the green after a drive on a par four hole, or after a second shot on a par 5 hole is a good place to be for an amateur golfer. For most amateur golfers, men and women, that distance is a pitching wedge, or maybe a 9 iron for the older or younger golfers. So the key here is to make a bad second or third shot leaving yourself short-sided with a difficult chip or pitch over a bunker, for example. From a prime position, you can, in one shot, put yourself in a difficult position and make it virtually impossible to get a third shot close to the pin. A lob wedge has about 97 ways to go wrong. A mishit lob wedge can travel anywhere from about 18 inches to 50 yards, and if the pin is 20 feet away, neither of those distances is optimal. So remember, a bad second shot is the key on a par 4, and a bad third shot on a par 5. I should add, though, that even if you hit a good second or third shot, you can still three putt and salvage your bogey.
2) How to swing harder for less distance.
Golf is a game of physics. Parabolic trajectories. Curving ball flights due to low pressure on the side of a spinning ball due to the angle and motion of the clubhead point of impact. Lift and drag due to ball spin and wind direction. Clubhead speed and the vertical angle of departure of the ball determined by the skill of the golfer and the club face loft. A ball with a draw spin will tend to bound forward and leftward upon landing. My friend Bob hits a ball like this, sneaky long with lots of roll. A ball with fade or slice spin will tend to bound rightward upon landing.The composition of the golf ball cover also makes a difference. A hard cover ball tends to spin less than a softer cover ball
Probably the best way for the amateur golfer to hit shorter drives is to swing harder. This tends to result in an even more pronounced outside to inside swing path imparting sidespin to the ball. The more sidespin, the greater the slice, and the shorter the drive, often because the ball disappears into the trees, or the water, someone’s backyard, or the parking lot.
For lefties, the reverse is true.
3) Perfecting the skulled 9 iron shot.
This is a specialty shot that takes years to perfect. If you hit it correctly, on the right line and the right distance, this ugly shot can be beautiful. Normally, a 9 iron has a high trajectory and lands with some “bite,” meaning backspin that stops the ball rather quickly. A “skulled” 9 iron is one in which the club hits the ball on the upswing hitting the equator of the ball sending it on a low trajectory with no backspin and it hits well short of the green and rolls toward the pin. The secret to this shot is to mishit the shot so badly that it ends up about where you intended a well struck shot to land. If there is a pond in front of the green, do not try this shot. If there are greenside bunkers in your intended line of flight, do not attempt this shot. And be advised if you hit this shot too hard, you will fly over the green and into whatever hazard lies on the far side of the green. If you accomplish this shot, you should always inform your partners that you intended to do that. I like to say that I’ve been working on this shot for years. It is particularly gratifying if you win money as a result of this particular shot as your golfing partners will be incredulous, disgusted, and rattled as they hit their next shot.
4) How to play a push slice from the wrong fairway.
The push slice is a double-whammy of a bad shot, because it starts to the right and goes even farther to the right, but occasionally it will be so badly hit that you actually have a shot to the green. When I do this I will say something like, “I hit that so bad that it’s okay.” If you are lucky, a push slice will often have a high trajectory and go over the tops of a tree lined fairway into an adjacent fairway. One hint for the next shot is don’t do it again. You may have a small opening between tree trunks if you like living dangerously (see #13). Otherwise, attempt a lofted iron to go over the trees more or less in the actual direction of the hole.
5) How to Hit a Bad Drive after a Birdie on the Previous Hole
We call this phenomenon the PBFU, the post birdie fuck-up. It is a well-recognized phenomenon and common occurrence everywhere golfers golf. A birdie is a significant accomplishment, usually pure luck, but often with a small element of skill involved. A birdie is one under the assigned par for that hole. A par four hole is usually 350 to 400 yards, sometimes a bit shorter and sometimes a bit longer. Pro golf tournaments feature Par 4 holes over 500 yards in length which is just ridiculous, but almost all pro golfers hit the ball so far that it makes you sick. Anyway, a birdie 2 on a par 3, or a 3 on a par 4, or a 4 on a par 5, are pretty good scores. So what happens is you are somewhat pumped up as you approach the next tee shot and often hit a bad drive. In that short walk from the green to the next tee box you are thinking you are an excellent golfer and you can do it on the next hole, too. The PBFU is a reminder from God that you are not a pro. And that pride goeth before the slice out of bounds.
6) How to hit a ball from the bottom of a lake.
I’m just kidding. You can’t do that. On the other hand, I have seen and have attempted, a) shots from the shallow water around the edges of a pond when the ball is not totally submerged and b) off the frozen surface a golf course pond. Regarding the former, hit the ball as you would a sand shot: open the club face, hit about an inch behind the ball, and hope the ball flies somewhere. The next step is to wipe the mud off your face, shirt, and pants. Some golfers will remove their shoes for this shot. I saw a pro once on tv take off his pants as well to attempt this shot.
The ice shot requires more finesse. There are several keys to pulling this shot off. First, make sure the ice is thick enough to support your weight. There is no fool proof way to do this other than walking out there and determining if you have fallen through. In fact, the fact that you are attempting this shot proves you are a fool. Second, do not attempt in deep water where you might break through and complete become submerged and drown. Nothing ruins a round of golf like a drowned partner. If the water is only waist deep, though, and the ice might just be thick enough, carefully walk toward the ball listening for cracking sounds. You will likely hear them. But if you proceed cautiously, take an even stance with the weight evenly distributed on each foot, swing at about half your normal swing speed, you have a better than average chance to hit the ball, not fall down, and not crash through the ice. You should spread your feet a bit wider to better distribute the weight. I’ve done it; I’ve seen my golfing partners Jerry and Bob do it as well. This shot most often presents itself after a prolonged cold spell during winter months with an interval of just enough warmth to melt the snow on the course itself, but not the ice on the pond. If one of your golfing partners does crash through the ice, you need to ask yourself is that person a good golfing partner. If so, attempt a rescue.
You should carry an extra pair of socks, and pants, if you have the requisite pockets in your golf bag, though, just in case. Also if two of your group's shots end up on the ice, have the heavier person go first. If they safely execute the shot, then the ice must be strong enough.
7) Four-putting made easy.
You may think this is difficult in estimating how bad a player has to be to do this. And it is true. It is rare. Most average putters can two putt regularly from, say, 15 feet or so. But a fast green with a down-slope or a stiff breeze can make a four putt quite possible. Keep in mind that even pro golfers miss the occasional four footer. Maybe once in twenty. The key is to miss your first putt as badly as you can. I remember standing over a two foot putt at Dodge Park Golf Course in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a few years ago. It was a slick downhill putt with a small break from right to left. I took a short back stroke on my putter and missed my intended line by just a fraction of an inch and the ball picked up pace as it accelerated downhill past the hole and nearly off the green. Faced now with an 18 footer uphill, I left my second putt about six feet short and missed that. A short tap in fourth putt for a triple bogey was the result. A two footer for par became a four putt nightmare in a few short seconds. You walk off the green shaken, dismayed, rattled, and stunned.
8) How to recover from five bad shots in a row.
Most golfers will either by design or by accident hit a relatively okay shot every two or three attempts. The shots aren’t particularly good, but they have some redeeming aspect like they were in the general direction of the intended line, or it didn’t quite go far enough to dribble into the pond or the hazard, or at least they brought the green into the reachable zone for their next shot. Most golfers on an average public course tally their rounds by how many bad shots they make. Good golfers tally their rounds by how many good shots they make. For example, I shot a 71 the other day with only a couple of bad shots, 50 or so so-so shots, and 15 or so pretty good shots, and maybe three or four really good shots. The two bad shots resulted in bogeys. But five bad shots in a row tells me the person should probably give up golf altogether and take up billiards or bowling. The best way to recover from five bad shots on a golf course is to have a couple of shots at the bar in the clubhouse.
9) Proper club throwing etiquette.
Always throw your club in the direction you are walking. This speeds up play and is appreciated by other golfers on the course.
10) What to do when the divot travels farther than your ball.
This is embarrassing, but it does happen. Deliberately walk forward to the large chunk Of dirt you unearthed and place it back in the oddly shaped gouge you just made on the nicely mowed turf. Step on it to press the roots firmly back into the soil. Use the same club you previously used, because, let’s face it, you aren’t that much closer to the green. Hit it better this time.
11) How to get out of a sand bunker in four shots or less.
A sand shot can go wrong in many ways. Take too much sand and the ball may not clear the lip of the bunker and roll right back at your feet. Take too little sand and the ball may rocket out of the bunker like a well hit 3 iron and end up 75 yards farther away from the green than you were to begin with. Anyway, the secret is to take a deep breath, remain calm, and take another whack at it. The goal is to hit an inch or two behind the ball with a slightly opened club face so that the sand propels the ball not the club. After four shots, pick the ball up and throw out, but not nearer the hole. Assess yourself a penalty stroke, take your eight or nine on that hole and order a beer from the cart girl next time she rolls around. A long sand shot from a fairway bunker may require you to hit the ball and not the sand – good luck with that. You can practice that shot on a sidewalk where you try to hit the ball, not the sidewalk. A tip on practicing that shot is do not use your new $1,000 Taylor Made Aeroburner irons for that practice.
12) Replacing a ball in play.
A pro tour player is required to play the same brand and type of ball during a tournament, that is the brand and type of ball they have selected. Other players may choose a different brand and type, but they too must play the entire round with that brand and type of ball. A player may play a new ball every hole, but it has to be the same brand and type they began with. This is not a problem in that pros are given dozens of balls by golf ball companies for every tournament. Nikes, and Titleists, and Srixons, Callaways, Taylor Mades, and Bridgestones are often the balls of choice. Players may also replace a damaged ball under certain circumstances, like a cracked or severely scuffed cover, but must notify their playing partners, carefully mark the location of the ball, and replace the ball with one of the same brand and type.
Amateurs golfers, on the other hand, often have a pocket of the golf bag filled with several dozen “found balls” of different brands, colors, and different types, and readily switch at will and whim. I have used harder cover balls when playing into the wind and softer cover balls with the wind to attempt to gain an edge over my partners. I can’t swear it ever made a difference, but it seemed worth a shot. These balls, however, are often subjected to extreme cold or heat in that the golf bag in the trunk is subjected to the daily temperatures of heat and cold which can affect their performance. On cold days, I will try to remember to bring a few balls into the house the night before an anticipated cold weather round to get that edge of a warmer ball traveling a bit farther than a cold one. My playing partners are also known to have adopted this strategy. However, we all do observe the prohibition of carrying a surreptitious portable ball warmer in the bag. I will carry an extra ball in my pants pocket to gain some of my body heat looking for that extra yard or two during the later part of a cold day’s round. I’ve also been known to fill the kitchen sink with hot water an hour or two before a cold weather round and put in half a dozen balls for use. It is permissible under the rules of golf to do this, wrap them in a towel, and place them in your golf bag. I do not believe this constitutes cheating. It would be cheating, however, to use a heated towel.
One other important note is that when you replace a ball after a bad shot, blame the ball. “There’s something wrong with that ball.”
13) Trees.
"The Myth of 90% Air" - for any tree branch diameter, you also need to add 99% of the diameter of the golf ball on both sides of the branch, for if that 1% of the golf ball hits a branch it will be deflected proportionally. So a 1" diameter branch is for all practical purposes nearly 3" in diameter and multiplying that branch times the number of branches, you are actually facing a virtually impenetrable solid object, like, say, a brick wall. And I might add, carrying a chainsaw is prohibited. So the official best practices advice on this is “Do not hit the ball into the trees.”

14) Things to say to lighten the mood: "At least it was straight." "If the green was over there, that would have been a good shot." "Maybe it'll hit a turtle and bounce out." "That drive was short but crooked." "That shot looked really good until you hit it." "You made that 8 look easy."

15) A quick way to improve your putting stats.

A quick and easy way to improve your putting stats is to take fewer putts. Ha. You probably already knew that. However, one method my golfing partners often use is to give each other short putts, especially if we are in a match play format. We play for quarter skins. Say you are up by half a dozen skins and you are playing for a handful of additional skins and your opponent has a three footer to tie you. If you just say, "pick it up," or "that's good" they will appreciate the gesture and perhaps return the favor on a succeeding hole. Or sometimes you can suggest, "Good, good?" meaning I'll give you your five foot breaking putt on a slick down hill green if you give me my six footer. Depending on the circumstances, they might just agree and you all pick up and count one putt without having actually made a putt that could very well have been two more putts. Theoretically, if you do that every hole no matter how long the putt, your putting stats will show drastic improvement. In practice, every so often someone will deny the proposal saying something like our golfing friend Andrew from Scotland used to say, "Let's play some golf!" When translated into English, this means roughly, "Laddies you are big American wusses. That's a six footer. There's no way I'm giving you that putt."

16) How to look good shooting 95.

This is hard to do, but always remain calm as though you were on your way to shooting a 75. Act like you are having a good time. Think about that one good shot you made seven weeks ago. Enjoy the outdoor air and the sound of golf course maintenance workers mowing the fairways. Tell yourself a bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at the office. Count the number of hawks you see. Look at the sky.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

My mother wrote a poem about my 2018 calendar and other testimonials




My calendars are still available. Only $20 which is $5 less than they would be if they were $25. All new dates! Holidays free.


Jan.

Flag overhead,

House in the yard,

Plane flies by,

Always on guard.

Feb.

Eyes go around,

You’re getting sleepy.

Wait a minute,

This is creepy!

Mar.

The dogs are perfect

They’re playing a tune.

A pleasant time

In the afternoon.

Apr.

What have we here?

Ideas galore.

Turn the pages

For many more.

May

Driving the bus.

This is fun.

Ran over the snake.

Now it’s done.

June

Jimmy singing

With Eric’s guitar.

I kinda think

That he’ll go far.

July

Happy Dogs!

I love ‘em to pieces!

The joy they give

Never ceases.

August

A nice little room;

Too much stuff.

Turn the page

If you’ve seen enough.

September

The fish are cute

And they are koi.

Beautifully colored

For you to enjoy.

October

A very nice painting

Of a toucan.

Try it yourself.

Maybe you can!

November

The Taj Mahal

As it never look-ed

The perspective

Was a little crooked.

December

The picture is perfect:

Manger and star.

An excellent artist

Is what you are!

**************************************************************

I've also received encouragement (and orders) from artists I admire. A sampling:


"I love his colors and irreverance and outlook on life. He reminds me of my husband, Diego Rivera. He's a wonderful man. I have several of his calendars." - Frida Kahlo

Hans Hofmann just texted me that he was pleased by my use of color and texture devoid of comprehensible structure as an element of the failure of the communication nexus of the synthetic moral construction of epistemic communalism and the contextual disorientation of post modern America, particularly in my happy dogs playing musical instruments. He ordered two.

"His work is so colorful and glimmers on the canvas. When I see his ocean villages, I can taste the salt air! His use of colors is exquisite. I learned so much from him that summer he spent with me at Arles. We painted every day. It was amazing to watch him -- he became the landscape. And the peasants loved him. He was so kind. And those evenings with Gaugin........... We both have his calendars. Love the guy. I'll send him my other ear someday." - Vincent van Gogh

"Bud would be totally embarrassed to know I am writing on his behalf, but I had him in mind when I painted "Whamm!" He is one of the few who understood Pop Art and the counter-cultural underground and the appropriation of art by consumerism. He taught me to work from sketches. A real smart man and fine artist. I have all his calendars. Without him, I wouldn't know what day it is." - Roy Lichtenstein

"Bud Cassiday? Sure I know him. I love his action art. He gave me the idea. My "Galaxy" painting was inspired by his work. He has such a free-flowing style; abstract expressionism would not have happened but for him. He introduced me to Peggy Guggenheim. I owe him so much. And we have a lot in common. We both lived in Wyoming as children; his son and I share a January 28 birthday. We always exchange birthday cards. And I loved his 1956 Buick Roadmaster. It was a lot like my Pontiac. His work in mixed media and textural painting is remarkable. If you haven't gotten a calendar yet, you should. And Lee Krasner and Bud are such good friends.I love him like a brother.He should charge a lot more for those calendars. " -- Jackson Pollock

Dear Bud: I'd like three of your excellent calendars. I understand they are only $20 each. I love your synaesthetic art. I consider you a find practitioner of synaesthetism of a high order. I wonder though what you think of the synchronic anti-modalism of the experiential synaptic cascade phenomenon in relation to the theosophic rather than spiritual/archetypal scaffolding paradigm? I would most interested. Sincerely, Wassily Kandinsky.

Dear Bud - even though I've been dead since 1995, I'd like to say thanks for watching my tv show and I love your Happy Dogs. I painted happy trees which are different than Happy Dogs, but they both are happy. I love happy trees, and clouds, and bushes, and rocks, and barns, and birds. Just remember, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Oops, I just spilled my f****** coffee. Sh**. ps. I'll take two calendars.

"I love Cassiday's art, his inquisitiveness, his love of science and discovery. I always chuckle when I see one of his Happy Dog paintings. I wish I had thought of that. And who doesn't love dogs? I do. And his chicken paintings are a delight, especially those on the motorcycles. I've known him for years and we talk regularly, especially when I need inspiration. He's such an interesting and resourceful fellow. If he ever does a calendar for 1516, I'm ordering several. One for me and several for my friends." -Leonardo Da Vinci

Other news:

Hector Eduardo Rodriguez is a veterinarian in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he has a successful business that treats large animals. He and his wife, Concelita, have four wonderful children. She is a Doctor at the local health clinic known for her caring and healing skills. Their children all excel in their schooling and want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. “We love our parents,” they all say. “They are respected by the whole town, they treat us so well, and they are so understanding and fun to be with. We want to be like them when we grow up. And it is all because they have 11” x 17” wall calendars.” They go on: “Without their 11” x 17” wall calendars, they would have arrived late for their universities. They would have not become the doctors everyone loves. They owe it all to Bud Cassiday, Papillion, Ne. And the calendars are only $20. We love him so much.” This is a true story.

Sally McSweeney, 35, worked at The Adams Agency, an advertising company in Lubbock, Texas. She had worked for 8 long grueling months to land the contract of an important aerospace industry and planned to meet them in Chicago on Nov. 8, 2016. She had worked weekends. She had worked long hours. She lost track of time. She had prepared extensively for the meeting with her financial projections, her audience analysis, her list of prospective customers. And she was ready; however, she had no calendar, in particular an 11” x 17” wall calendar. She went to Chicago on the wrong day losing the account and her job. Heartbroken, she thought, “If only I had a wall calendar, I could have written those important meetings on the right days instead of putting all that work in for nothing.” Don’t let what happened to Sally happen to you. Don’t lose track of time. Don’t miss that Chicago aerospace contract. Order a calendar today, preferably an Art by Cassiday 2018 calendar for only $20.

Jonathan Wormington Winfield woke with a nagging suspicion he had missed something the day before. "What is the date today?" he wondered. "What month is it?" he worried. "If only I had a calendar, " he thought, "I wouldn't have missed that important job interview and my life would be better." He pulled himself out of bed, sorted through the pile of soiled clothing on the floor and found his favorite underwear, a pair of black socks, the jeans he'd worn for seven consecutive day, smelled a t-shirt just to be sure it was okay to wear, and found a sweatshirt wadded up at the bottom of the pile. "Where, oh where, can I buy a calendar" he thought. "If only I'd had one, my life would be so much better. And an art calendar! That's what I need. Every day I can be amused and inspired by the monthly original art featured." So he remembered he had seen calendars by a Papillion artist. "$20?" he thought. "Heck, I can afford that and my life will be so much better." So he bought one and his life became so much better. He knew what day it was, what month it was, and knew Christmas was on Dec. 25. He found a good job, has a girl friend, moved into his own apartment, remembered his mother's birthday, and is saving his money to buy a new car. This story is true.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Dr. John's Sex Emporium



Poems of Everyday Life
Doctor John's Sex Emporium

So I took my mother
to the doctor
to get a shot for the pain in her hip
and on the way back
decided to stop
at the Walmart near her
to get several items she wanted:
the "right" toilet paper,
as I had gotten the wrong,
a ream of printer paper,
saline nasal spray,
knee-high stockings,
and two bananas.
But I turned in the wrong drive,
just one short of the Walmart,
and ended up at
Doctor John's Sex Emporium,
a lingerie, and sex-toy store.
A funny moment ensued.
We laughed.
I love my mom.
She's a class act.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Re. punctuation: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.

I often assign one page response essays to writing prompts in my composition classes. A recent prompt was a Yogi Berra quote: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.” The quote is also attributed to Albert Einstein, physicist, and Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut, another physicist. Although Yogi did not originate the quote, he most certainly popularized it and gave it a humorous twist when he applied the concept to hitting a baseball coming at you at 100 mph.

One of the student responses included this sentence referring to an article she found: Yohan also said in his article, "How true is Yogi Berra's statement that, 'In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.'?", "There is always some aspect of nature that a theory does not fully capture."

My eye was immediately drawn to the six punctuation marks in a row which occur at the end of the article title which is rather long and has embedded elements requiring individual punctuation. So first there are quotation marks around the quote: ‘In theory . . . [blah, blah, blah] . . ..’ Single quote marks are used as this is a quote within an article title which is in double quote marks. Oh man, I just used ellipses on both side of my inserted “blah, blah, blah” into the quote indicating I eliminated some words from the quote and inserted others. And note the period after the last elipsis. Next there is the question mark [?] outside a single quote mark indicting the question is not part of the quotation itself but is a question about the quotation. The single quotation mark [‘] is a convention of punctuation for quotes within quotes: double quote marks [“] on the outside, single on the inside, and so on depending on how many quotes within quotes there are. And continuing from right to left in this punctuation string is a period at the end of the quote.
So in unpacking all this, I think the student nearly got it right, the only problem being the comma after the double quote mark. The comma should be inside the quote mark: .’?,”. The terminal period is mine, and outside the double quote mark because I am discussing the quotation mark as punctuation. Oh wait, I am also quoting her paper, so it should be: “ .’?,.” No wait that doesn’t make sense. Damn. And then the student quotes Yohan after the article title punctuation cascade, “There is always some aspect of nature that a theory does not fully capture.” And that is punctuated correctly.

Notice I avoided putting the student’s sentence in quotation marks in the first paragraph above because that would recast the sentence punctuation scheme of alternating double quote marks and single quote marks so that the double quote marks would become single quote marks and the single quote marks would become double quote marks, which would result in an article title in single quote marks which violates a basic punctuation rule: article titles are in double quotation marks. Editors might allow an exception to the double, single, double, single embedded punctuation rule, to allow a double quote, double quote on both ends of an article title but that would be weird: “”article title””. Note that microsoft word does not even allow for this possibility as the second double quote mark is pointed left. And where would that terminal period go? Inside the first double quote mark or the second double quote mark? Damn. This is turning into an irresistible force versus an immovable object paradox. I need to do more research on this.
Truly, in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What a Life

Saturday Oct. 21, 2018

It’s been one of those mornings so far.
I woke up at 7 am and decided
to roll over and sleep some more.
I usually don’t do that.

I woke up again at 9 am,
made some coffee, watched
a Sylvester Stallone movie,
“Bullet to the Head,” and
now a Kristin Wiig ,
“Welcome to Me.”

I cracked a warped stretcher frame
to get it back to level. You have to
break the glue in the corners to get
it back in shape. You take the corner
to you need to crack and slam it
onto a hard surface. Will prime
it later.

There’s no Husker game today,
so maybe I’ll watch a rerun of a
national championship game
from the days of yore.

My main goals today are:
shave, take out the garbage,
and buy some acrylic paint.

My mother says my poems
should rhyme. And she’s won
more prizes in poetry than I have.

I painted a Day of the Dead
picture in the last week, and the
“a” key in my keyboard doesn’t always
work so I have to keep backspacing
and retyping. Maybe I’ll try to write a
stanza without the letter “a.”

So here goes. My keybored doesn’t
work often. I hit the key end nothing heppens.
I guess it’s not so eesy.

I golfed yesterday and won $1.50.

I’ve got a few papers to grade.

What a life.

Friday, October 13, 2017

"Half the Universe's Missing Matter Has Just Been Finally Found"

“Half the universe’s
missing matter has just
been finally found”
I saw this headline
on The Huffingtonpost this week
heralding an astronomic discovery.
“’The missing baryon problem is solved,’
says Hideki Tanimura
at the Institute of Space Astrophysics
in Orsay, France,”
leader of one of the groups
involved in the research.
I didn’t know the baryons were missing.
Scientists used the
Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect
to detect baryon filament strands
between galaxies where nothing
was previously thought to exist.
The Sunyaev thing has to do
with background radiation
from the Big Bang exciting
those thinly spread baryon particles in the vast
distances between galaxies
so they are detectable.
And that’s pretty cool.
It’s something of a prodigal son moment
in which the lost has been found,
a Eureka moment like
Archimedes in his bathtub.
But the headline says “half the universe’s
missing matter” has been “finally found.”
I’d probably say “has finally been found.”
“Found finally” has the sense that
that’s it, it’s over, the mystery is solved.
“Finally found” is slightly less
terminal somehow,
a grammatic nuance,
perhaps as undetectable as
those baryons.
And I’m presuming the headline writer
meant that “all the missing matter”
has been found, not just half,
meaning there’s another half of
the missing matter still missing.
At any rate, all that empty space
is not so empty after all.
But why, I wonder, are those
missing baryons,
like favorite pair of cuff links,
or earrings,
always in the last place
you look?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Motorcycle Ads

I often amuse myself
looking at the motorcycle ads
on Craigslist.
This time of year you can find
some pretty good bargains.
The riding season is about over.
Motorcycle owners are thinking
about moving up to a bigger bike,
or quitting riding altogether, or
selling that bike they got for their wife
who never really rode much,
or clearing out their garage.
Occasionally, you can see a
motorcycle for sale at too low a price.
You wonder if it is misprint, or the
owner is uninformed about the
Kelly Blue Book values.
I usually set search parameters
of $2500 maximum price
and 500 minimum cubic centimeters.
I get nice cross selection of
Buell Blasts, and Yamaha 650 V-twins,
Honda Shadow 750s,
or Vulcan 800s, and the occasional
older Harley Davidson 883 Sportster,
or Suzuki 650 thumpers,
and a few other older assorted
barn finds and choppers and
cafe racers and rat bikes.
"Thumper" is a nickname
for a single cylinder engine
so named because of their
distinctive sound, a throaty,
rhythmic pulse. A cafe racer
is a stripped down minimalist
motorcycle made lighter to
run faster while a rat bike is a bike put
together from assorted other cycle parts.
I'm pretty satisfied with my
ten year old Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD,
though, with its 34 horsepower,
and windshield,
and saddle bags,
but like to daydream/windowshop
for that bigger, better bike out there.
Motorcycle riding is about the
closest you can get to flying
without leaving the ground.