Charleston Falls, Tipp City, OH - Autumn 2011

Charleston FallsCharleston Falls Cliff 3-DCharleston Falls WoodsRoberta Photographing the FallsCharleston Falls Cliff 3-DCharleston Falls 3-D
Charleston FallsBase of Falls and Ponding WaterBase of the FallsRoberta Photographing the FallsA Cliff Dwelling TreeCharleston Falls
Bridge Crossing below Charleston FallsTunnel Cave 3-DFall Foliage PathFall Foliage ForestCharleston Falls overlook 3-D

Via Flickr:
Fall foliage colors were reported to be at their peak in our area this weekend (10/7~9/2011). My wife and I chose to visit Charleston Falls on recommendation from a friend. I tried a few more of my 3-D stereo pair images and am happy with the results. Having grown up in areas to the north of Dayton, OH, I was surprised to learn of this place. I'd never heard of it before! It's a beautiful setting with waterfalls, cliffs, and a lot of hiking paths through forest and field settings. Many of the paths, especially near the falls, are old, narrow, and otherwise rather challenging with rocks and tree roots making for uneven footing. Casual walkers with a fear of heights or claustrophobia may not do well here. Footwear with ankle support is recommended, and be sure to watch your step, as some trails are immediately adjacent to steep slopes. Despite concerns about the trails, it's a beautiful site and worth the bearing of it's challenges. We'll certainly be visiting again and may even take the dog with us for a walk on some of the safer trails. Don't miss this place!


Sporangia of Stemonitis splendens (a slime mold)

In the course of discovering what it was I'd shot in these photographs I learned some disturbing facts. My research uncovered details of living things I believed to be fiction; things that, nevertheless, jad haunted my childhood and have, conceivably, dimmed my overall life experience ever so slightly. I'll explain...

First, I have to point out that Stemonitis splendens (Stemonitis sp.) typically does not appear as in my photos. When it runs out of food, or conditions become otherwise unfavorable, it sprouts super-thin black hairs on which brown spore groups grow. The spores eventually fall off and are spread by wind, and possibly other means. I don't know what this slime mold looks like in its normal thriving state. Perhaps it's not very noticeable when it's normal. It only grows sporangia when it must.

So, Stemonitis sp. is a type of slime mold. There are different forms of slime molds, but this one is particularly disturbing (to me) because it's basically "The Blob" until it becomes hairy, as in my photos.

I saw the Steve McQueen version of "The Blob" when I was a little kid. The memory of "The Blob" gave me frights as a child when I'd notice shadows under doors and caused me nightmares for many years. The most recent nightmare was just a few years ago... The dream was one of those commonly experienced 'chase' situations that most people have from time to time, in which someone or some 'thing' is after you. Also, "The Blob" ruined my desire to enjoy puddings and gelatins. I'm over that food problem now and will eat such things, but, if I have a choice between pudding/gelatin and anything else, Else always wins.

So, slime molds (slime/s), like Stemonitis sp., are large single-celled organisms containing multiple nuclei and lacking cell walls. Such organisms are called 'plasmodia' and are made up of protoplasm, the same stuff inside most single cells. They move by pulsating, though I have no idea how they manage to pulse in the first place.

Stemonitis sp. are different from other molds and fungi in that they do not grow roots into surfaces. Rooting would hinder their ability to move about in search of food. They creep along, blob-like, enveloping bits and pieces of organic matter and 'consuming' those bits. Unlike "The Blob" they do not subsist on living matter, but may pass over living plants in their search for other organic debris foodstuffs.

Stemonitis sp. are not edible by humans. Even if they were, they would barely make a decent snack. However, they do provide food for slugs and other creepy crawlies, which will eat just about any debris they find. I often find slugs feasting on the poo residue on scoops we use outside to clean up the yard when our dog has to go #2.

For the sake of posterity, my first impressions upon seeing the mass of sporing slime were as follows:
I thought that someone had stuck a patch of stringy brown fuzz to the window frame. Why would someone do this? I don't know, but I've seen far more random things than a patch stringy brown fuzz on a windowpane.

I should mention that, in this sporing state, the slime is not readily visible, perhaps having dried out. I suspect the slime was thriving in our remarkably rainy Spring. Then, the recent day and a half of no rain, plus a wee bit of sunshine, may have dried out the slime enough to cause this batch to go into spore mode.

The black stems, at first glance, resembled a patch of black velcro to which the stringy brown fuzz was attached. As I leaned in for a closer look I noticed the dusty brown stuff laying on the windowsill beneath and to the side of the fuzz and recognized it as spore dust. Even after discovering that this was a patch of mold I thought it looked like something else. The storefront where this was found had once been home to a dealer of saltwater aquariums, fish, corals, etc. and I considered the sporangia to resemble a sea anemone.

Spring is a good time for finding many odd things. Later, in the evening of the same day,  I found a large Cleopatra moth at a local convenience store. I have photos of it to post as well.

I hope this information will be of use to someone else in the future.

Thanks to http://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood/club%20and%20coral/species%20pages/Stemonitis.htm for the scientific details concerning my strange find.


Hey Dayton!

UprootedMushroomsFallen TreeStick HouseStalag Stalac differencesSchool's In Session
Children's Discovery ZoneStick SculptureWoven WoodStrange LandscapeWell TrimmedTarnished Arches
Over and UnderRoberta strollingOne of FourUptightReflecting on ReflectionNo Painted Lady
Elven DwellingsDSCF0021Choose a SideNarrow PassColumnsInside Outside

Patrick Dougherty Woven Wood Scupture!
Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark has a new attraction. Photos don't do it, or the park, justice. Go see it for yourself!

Limberger PSA - A Warning

I love cheese. Not just in the cultural sense, but in the edible sense. I love to try cheeses I've never had before.

One day, about a year ago, a friendly clerk at the grocery store had samples of Limberger.
I've seen enough cartoon Limberger gags to know that it was probably fairly potent stuff, so I tricked myself into disbelieving Tom & Jerry. I convinced myself that it couldn't be so bad, and that I shouldn't allow cartoons to deprive me of a life experience. As it turned out the cartoons were right.
I was Wile E. Coyote ordering another fine ACME product. My palate paid the price, falling to it's apparent death. And, just like Wile E. Coyote, as my taste buds begin to rise from the impact crater, a boulder of Limberger memory comes crashing down to ruin a good day and add insult to the "injury". The cartoons were right! I'm sure you'd rather not imprint your face in a frying pan; so too, you do not want to try Limberger cheese.

When it comes to Limberger, I can't stress this enough, DO NOT EAT IT. DO NOT EVEN TASTE IT. I mean that with all my being. It's not a warning, not merely a request, but a Commandment.

Limberger tastes like the combined scents of month old used cat litter, on a plate of fresh bird droppings, with a severed decaying hobo foot for garnish.

Limberger will not kill you, but it will haunt your tastebuds for eternity, really. NEVER, EVER PUT LIMBERGER CHEESE ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR MOUTH. And if anyone else tries to tell you it's not all that bad, make them eat it first. They won't. You'll know them for a liar, and you have a duty to punch them square in the face.

Limberger really is that bad. FACTS: This is not a matter of personal taste. Limberger cheese is not an acquired taste, like oysters or caviar. It's not a flavor that you will grow to appreciate. I believe Limberger cheese exists only to create a market for gourmet dog poop!

People get struck by lightning and live, but there ain't a'one of them that'll suggest you try getting struck by lightning for yourself. Limberger is just like that.

Limberger is the worst thing I've ever experienced that didn't cause me any physical harm, but the random phantom-smells and taste memory of the experience is still with me over a year later. I have Limberger PTSD!

If you feed a prisoner Limberger cheese, their lawyer will probably get them freed on grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.

Limberger is really that bad. Like a cobra snake bite, just believe Limberger is bad. Don't find out for yourself.

Thank You


Photo Blogging

Some years ago, maybe more than a handful, there was a very friendly community of people using a site called TextAmerica - TA, for short. Pre-MySpace, TA was a 'first generation' site. It's sole purpose was to do something quite uncommon at the time; place photos and text together online, from your phone! Soon, TA added video and "vlogging" became an option as well. Many photos of pets, brewskis, dinner plates, and local landmarks later, here's a picture of my cat, as this nostalgic reminiscence of newness gone stale comes to an end. It's worth remembering how we got to here and considering the who what when where and why of it all. 'Tis the will of Samson Kitteh.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Fun with #ChangeLoveToLubeSongs

I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter. I like Twitter. I appreciate Twitter. However, short bursts of communication only get us so far. Fortunately, I'm a huge fan of well-done short-form works. Limericks, Haiku, bumper stickers, T-shirts, and Tweets can all be extremely funny, thought provoking, controversial, and even important and/or meaningful forms of word-play. This post, as you might have gathered from the title, is focused primarily on humor. As with many humorous endeavors, there can be found a grain of truth, or a spark for waxing philosophic.

Tuesday night, while checking in on Twitter, I took a look at the Trending Topics. Hashtag #changelovetolubesongs was at the top of the list. The idea is to change the word Love to the word Lube in song titles. Thus, The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" becomes "All You Need is Lube".

Seems simple enough, but I found many of these to have layers of meaning waiting to be discovered. Much of it depends on what your mind brings along, much like in Tuesday's episode of Glee; in which the naíve school counselor chooses the song "Afternoon Delight" as a wholesome tune for the Celibacy Club to perform - because she thought it was about a refreshing snack on a 4th of July afternoon. So you see, "All You Need is Lube" by The Beatles is funny, but might be funnier still if one's mind is "polluted" enough to include masturbation euphemisms derived from the band's name. It was in my neurons! LOL

OK, so, I LOVE word games and couldn't resist following the hashtag for a bit. A lot of titles are obvious and get repeated often. Other ideas just aren't very good. I wasn't impressed with the majority of posts I found, and at the same time, I had a few of my own ideas, but was unwilling to participate (I was at work, signed in on my work account - one should at least attempt a professional demeanor). On the other hand, I wasn't willing to let this fun find go un-noticed, so I posted a Tweet about #changelovetolubesongs and how funny I thought it was, knowing it would serve as a reminder to me later. And yet, I couldn't wait until later...

I started scrolling through the song titles on my iPod and found a lot of gems. I also found that I had some duplicate songs as performed by different artists. This led to the realization that the artist/group performing one of these songs could either add or detract from the humor in various ways. Consider any Love/Lube song as performed by The Cars ("Looking for Lube" & "This Could be Lube"). Cars require lubrication. It's not even a dirty joke any more! And, the twist can still put a smile on your face. :-)

Because of the recent Valentine's Day, and my personal inclination toward the romantic, there happen to be a lot of Love-titled songs on my iPod. Below is the full list of songs actually on my iPod when I found the hashtag. All are funny, some hilarious, a few awkward items, others downright philosophical, and some that might be gross. I now leave my list and the meme in your capable, and possibly slippery, hands:

All My Lube - Led Zeppelin
All You Need is Lube - The Beatles
Beat Out My Lube - The Cramps
The Book Lubers - Broadcast
Can You Feel the Lube - Candy Flip
Crazy Lube - Van Morrison
Crazy Lube, Vol. II - Paul Simon
Creatures of Lube - The Talking Heads
Crimson & Cluber - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Dominated Lube Slave - Green Day
Double Shot (of My Baby's Lube) - The Swingin' Medallions
Exotica/Voodoo Lube - Martin Denny
Forbidden Zone: Lube Theme - Danny Elfman
Genius of Lube - The Tom Tom Club
Get Down, Make Lube - Queen
The Glory of Lube - The Dukes of Dixieland
Good Old-fashioned Luber Boy - Queen
Hello, I Lube You/Touch Me  - The Lettermen
Hold on to Your Lube - Neil Young
I'm in the Mood for Lube - Jackie Gleason
I Can't Believe that You're in Lube with Me - The John Buzon Trio
I Lube You (Miss Robot) - The Buggles
I Need Your Lube - NRG
Indian Lube Call - Slim Whitman
Isle of Lube - Martin Denny
It's the Lube - The Tasties
Lay All Your Lube on Me - Information Society
Little Thing Called Lube - Neil Young
The Look of Lube - Billy May
The Look of Lube - Dusty Springfield
The Look of Lube - Susanna Hoffs
Looking for Lube - The Cars
Lube Catalog - Bassomatic
Lube Dance - Les Baxter
Lube Goddess of Venus - The Ventures
Lube is Stronger than Justice (The Munificent Seven) - Sting
Lube on a Farmboy's Wages - XTC
Lube Theme from TRON - Wendy Carlos
Lubefool - The Cardigans
Lubely Head - Goldfrapp
Luber - Richard Marino & his Orchestra
Lust to Lube - The Go-Gos
The Magic Piper (of Lube) - Edwyn Collins
Message of Lube - The Pretenders
Moments in Lube - The Art of Noise
My Lube - Paul McCartney & Wings
Mysteries of Lube - Julee Cruise
Native Lube - The Enchanters
Our Lube is Here to Stay - Dave Grusin
Pool of Lube - Les Baxter
Sea of Lube - The Honeydrippers
So in Lube - K.D. Laing
Space Age Lube Song - A Flock of Seagulls
Talking 'Bout My Lube - James Hunter
This Could be Lube - The Cars
This Guy's in Lube with You - Gene Chandler
What is Lube? - Deee-Lite
What the World Needs Now is Lube - Burt Bacharach/The Posies
When a Man Lubes a Woman - Percy Sledge
When Lube Comes to Town - U2 with B.B. King
Who Do You Lube? - The Woolies
Who Do You Lube? - George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers
Wicked Lube - Bassomatic
Xtabay (Lure of the Unknown Lube) - Yma Sumac/Les Baxter