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Clockwise, from top left: Blackfriar's Theater in Staunton, VA, home of the American Shakespeare Center; National Cathedral in Guatemala City; church near Volin, SD; engraved stellae at ruins of Copan, Honduras; folk musicians in La Paz, Bolivia.

Culture and Travel montage shadow

Culture-related pages:


Travel photos



Religious blogs & sites


Local drama & music


Other Web links


 

My favorite movies

  1. Casablanca
  2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. Raising Arizona
  4. Fargo
  5. Shawshank Redemption
  6. Field of Dreams
  7. Bull Durham
  8. Fiddler on the Roof
  9. Patton
  10. Bananas
  11. Fort Apache: The Bronx
  12. Broadcast News

August 11, 2020 [LINK / comment]

Recent (non-bird) nature photos

When I summarized my bird outings in July in yesterday's blog post, I mentioned a few other nature observations, so I thought I should share some of those other photos. Rather than simply listing them one by one, I thought it would be more fun to present them in an interactive fashion. I was especially pleased with the Pipevine Swallowtail photo (at the top left below), but I have had a few other good recent photos which you can see on my Butterflies photo gallery page, newly updated. (For the time being, that page still includes moths.) The Black Bear is the third such animal I have seen this year, and each time I managed to get a pretty good photo -- scrupulously observing social distancing rules, of course! smile It reminds me that I should present some kind of lifetime chronology of bear sightings.

Nature montage 2020

Click on the links below to see those photos (and others) in a larger size. Roll over to restore the montage.

camera icon Pipevine Swallowtail, on North Mtn., July 19.       camera icon Black Bear, on Rose River trail (SNP), July 20.

camera icon Jack In The Pulpit, camera icon Red-spotted Eft , camera icon Mushrooms, on
at Hightop Mountain (SNP), June 8. at Hearthstone Lake, May 17. Braley Pond trail, August 8.

camera icon Skink, at Sawmill Ridge overlook (SNP), June 1.

camera icon Mourning Cloak, at Hightop Mtn. (SNP), June 8.     ||     camera icon Box Turtle, on Rt. 614 in Highland Co., June 27.

camera icon Eastern Fence Lizard, at Coles Run Res., July 1.   ||   camera icon Mushrooms, on Wildcat Ridge trail (SNP), Aug. 1.

(NOTE: "SNP" = Shenandoah National Park.)

I have updated my Mushrooms photo gallery page with the two montages shown above, plus another less-dazzling montage I did of fungi that I saw on the Falls Hollow trail on June 20. I have been remiss in trying to identify the many mushrooms I have photographed in recent years, so hopefully I'll get to that task in the next few months. Finally, I intend to update and beef up my Nature photo galleries in general, including the separate pages for Mammals and Reptiles, perhaps separating amphibians from the latter page, and maybe adding a new page for trees as well. The Flowers page is the most outdated of all.

Note that all of the above nature photos are the same size, 600 x 450 pixels, with the Jack In The Pulpit being the only vertically-oriented photo. In contrast, the standard size of my bird photos is 480 x 360 pixels. The smaller size reflects the (mostly) smaller size of the photographic subjects and the fact that it is difficult to get high-quality images of fast-moving birds except under ideal lighting conditions. If I get a better camera in the coming months, I may start presenting bird photos in the larger size.





Major world languages

Language 2002
(mn)
2010
(mn)
Chinese * 874 # 1,213
Spanish * 322 329
English * 341 328
Arabic ? 221
Hindi 366 # 182
Bengali 207 181
Portuguese 176 178
Russian * 167 144
Japanese 125 122
German 100 90

# : 2004 data for Chinese pertained only to Mandarin speakers, whereas data for Hindi speakers were defined more broadly.
Asterisks (*) denote the official languages of the United Nations, which also includes French (68 million speakers).

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I speak Spanish, some Portuguese, and have dabbled in German, French, Italian, Russian, Catalan, and Quechua.


Major world religions

Religion 2002
(mn)
2010
(mn)
Christians 2,038 2,281
Muslims 1,226 1,553
Hindus 828 943
Chinese folk 389 454
Buddhists 364 463
Sikhs 24 24
Jews 14 15
Local, other 32 379
Non-religious 925 798

The obvious discontinuities in the last two lines of data are of uncertain origin.

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I belong to the Episcopal Church and am annoyed at the recent polarization. According to a Theology quiz, I scored as a "Classical Liberal."


Ten Commandments

  1. Worship ONE God only
  2. No graven images
  3. No taking God's name in vain
  4. Keep Sabbath day holy
  5. Honor parents
  6. No stealing
  7. No murder
  8. No adultery
  9. No bearing false witness
  10. No coveting what others have

Seven deadly sins

  1. Pride
  2. Covetousness
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Gluttony
  6. Envy
  7. Sloth

Proverbs 6: 16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Romans 12: 17, 21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Niebuhr's
Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was a leading theologian of the mid-20th Century, and often wrote about foreign policy from a "Christian realist" perspective. From wikipedia.org:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

.