Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eastern Michigan Basketball Vs Western Michigan

And finally I was in Kalamazoo for the game.  I managed to make it in time.  As always, these are my favorite shots...for others go to Eagle Totem.  This was pretty much a must win game for Eastern Michigan in order to have home court advantage for the first game of the MAC Tournament.
 Raven Lee going up for a basket.
 Mike Samuels getting the ball taken away as he goes for the basket.  This was mostly the story of the day.
 Mike Talley about to dish the ball off.
 Olekan Ajayi waving towels in celebration of Eastern getting the lead for the first time in the game.
 Anali Okoloji going for a layup.
 Karrington Ward about to dunk.
 Raven Lee taking a shot.
Mike Talley going for two.

Eastern ended up losing.  Mathematically, they still have a chance to get home court advantage but they have to win their two remaining games and Miami has to lose both.  Given Eastern's road record this year, if they don't get that home game, I think they are sunk.

And a Brief Stop in South Haven

Since it is straight from Kalamazoo on M-43, I decided to make a stop in South Haven even though I was starting to feel the time crunch before the game.  I figured that four lighthouses in a day would be pretty cool.
 The South Haven light isn't too far from the parking lot but I didn't have much time, so I decided to not go on the pier.  Again, I probably could have safely walked on the pier.
 There were also a bunch of people here too.  But it wasn't quite as bad as Grand Haven.
One more shot before moving on to Western.

And Then We Were In Holland

Next up is a lighthouse that I visited a few years ago and that I've been meaning to come back to.
 I knew that there was a park that was across the river from the lighthouse and I was pretty sure that the pictures would be better from over there.
 Probably if I'd come earlier in the day or were here later, I would have been right.  As it was, I was almost shooting into the sun for these.  I guess these aren't too bad, considering this.
 I decided to head out where I could get some other angles of it.  There is also another pier where I could have probably got better pictures.
 A shot from straight out.
One more shot.

Next Up Grand Haven

Grand Haven is a short jaunt south from Muskegon.  It is usually good for pictures of an ice covered lighthouse.
 Prior to visiting the lighthouse, I had to make a stop at the Pere Marquette 1223.
 Shot from another angle.
 And shot from the front.  This is not an angle you'd want unless you know that the train is stopped as it is in this case.
 Then I went over to the lighthouse.  After seeing the Muskegon lighthouse, I was surprised at the number of people at this lighthouse.  But then again, it seems like there is always a large number of people at this lighthouse.  With the temperatures in the low 20's, it was like a heatwave compared to the weather we've been getting.   Couple that with the presence of the sun and you've got people out lighthousing.
 The lighthouse from another angle.
 From almost straight out.
 I probably could have headed out on the pier but I was in time crunch.
 A shot of the channel.  I couldn't believe how frozen over it was.
One more shot before moving on.

A Whirlwind Tour Starting in Muskegon

I was going to the Eastern Michigan basketball game at Western Michigan yesterday.  The game wasn't until 4:30, so I decided to head over to the west side of the state first.  I was hoping that I would catch some lighthouses that were frozen over.  Fortunately it was a nice enough day because I was looking forward to it for a while.
 I started the day with a trip to Muskegon and the dock where the Paul H. Townsend is tied up.  She is a pretty nice looking ship and it's kind of a shame that I don't get to see her on the Lakes.  I think she was being used as a storage ship for a while and now I don't even think she is being used for that.
 She cuts a pretty nice profile.
 Next up is the barge portion of the McKee Sons.  I've only seen her once before and she is currently in layup.  I'm not sure what is going to become of her though.
 Then I headed over to where the Silversides is tied up.  I've wanted pictures of her for a while but I didn't really have time for the tour (not that I think the museum was open).  The Silversides is one of three submarines on the Great Lakes and she has the best record of the ships still around.
 She was commissioned 8 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.  She had a total of 14 patrols and ended up sinking 23 ships for a little over 90,000 tons.  In 1987, she was moved to her current location where she serves as a museum ship.
 Her mascot of sorts.
 Her five inch gun.  Typically this was used to finish off targets.  A sub would not have a chance against a surface escort.
 A shot of her bridge and anti-aircraft weapons.  Again, they were not very useful against an aerial target.
 A shot of her from another angle.
 The US Coast Guard Cutter McClane also served in World War II where she served as a sub chaser.
 I'm not sure what kind of duck this is but I think it looked pretty cool.
 I believe this one is a canvasback duck.
 That black and white duck again.
 A redheaded duck.
 Another angle of that duck.
 Of course the reason I was on the west side of the state was for the lighthouses.  Here is a closeup shot of the Muskegon Lighthouse.
And pulled out a bit.

Friday, February 27, 2015

As Long as We Remember...

...he will not be dead.

I am not the biggest Star Trek fan but I do enjoy the series.  It took me a long time to realize this based on some of the perceptions of Star Trek fans (or should I say, rapid Star Trek fans).  Of all the characters on the show, I would have to say that Spock was my favorite.  He represented an ideal, where people base their judgements on logic and reason but could take the human point of view when it counted.

In interviews I've seen with Leonard Nimoy, he seemed to carry that ideal to his own personality.  He seemed like he would be a very likable and fun person to be around.  He seemed to be the one to mend fences with the other actors of Star Trek.  He was definitely the best part of the Star Trek reboot.
Even the Spock character that this figure is based on could see the irrationality of a world that was opposite of the Star Fleet ideal.

I will miss Leonard Nimoy.  His final tweet was pretty cool too:
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

Given my hobby,  I try to preserve those perfect moments but even then it is still the memory that makes them come back to life.

Enjoy the stars, Mr. Nimoy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Sherman Tank

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a movie called "Fury".  It stars Brad Pitt and is about a Sherman tank crew towards the end of the war.   It was a pretty good movie but a little graphic.  The language was pretty colorful but then again, if I were a Sherman crew that survived to that part of the war, the last thing I would care about is my language.
 As a result, I've been wanting to take pictures of my diecast Sherman.
 The M4 Sherman was designed by the US Army Ordnance Department as a replacement for the M3 Lee Medium tank.  The main difference between the Sherman and Lee was that the Sherman's main gun was mounted in a fully traversing turret versus the side mounted one on the Lee.  It was also equipped with a gyrostabilizer giving the crew a reasonable chance of accurately firing the gun on the move.  Design work began in 1940.
 The first tank rolled off the Lima Locomotive Works and was given to the Americans for evaluation.  Subsequent tanks were sold to the British.
 The initial Shermans were powered by gasoline engines.  This proved to be a vulnerability early in the war, so some models were switched to diesel engines.
 The Sherman fared pretty well against the earlier German tanks but not so well against the later model Tiger and Panther tanks.  The Shermans had to close distance with the Tigers and Panthers in order to penetrate their armor.
 This fact caused the Sherman leaders to use mass tactics.  A couple Shermans would have to distract the Germans while others came in to flank the enemy.  This was not good for the men who crewed the tank.  Still, it wasn't a bad tank because it was fairly reliable and could easily repaired.
By the end of the war, almost 50,000 Shermans were produced.  They saw service in the US Army and the armies of many of our Allies.