Archive for June, 2008

Moth closeup

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I spotted this little guy (gal?) on the concrete at the entrance to our garage, after I had driven in. So pretty much it sat there after the garage door went up and I drove completely over him.

Other than I think the image came out reasonably well, the real reason this is worth a posting is the rather silly way I followed it around with this piece of blue card stock trying to get a better picture. I tried to just sort of encourage it to walk onto the paper, but it would flutter a few feet and land (never flying terribly well actually). This was pretty much how it went for about 5 minutes: picture me with the camera in one hand and an 8×11″ piece of card-stock in the other, running in a sort-of hunched over fashion as I tried to slide it under the moth as it fluttered along. Finally it landed in the grass. As it crawled up through the blades I finally managed to get the paper underneath it.

I know practically zero about insects of any kind, so after searching through all of the beautiful and various images at What’s That Bug? I’ve submitted the image for identification. We’ll see if it’s anything interesting.


Based on searches at Butterflies and Moths of North America, the Moth Photographers Group and, I’m down to genus, but no species. Based on web pictures:

  • Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
    • Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
      • Class Insecta (Insects)
        • Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
          • No Taxon (Moths)
            • Superfamily Noctuoidea
              • Family Arctiidae (Tiger Moths)
                • Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger Moths)
                  • Tribe Callimorphini
                    • Genus Haploa

Two choices for species seem likely:
Haploa lecontei:
Haploa confusa:

Bob Patterson from the Moth Photographer’s Group sent me this note in response to my message: wrote:
Hi Chris,

I’d call it 8112 – Haploa confusa, with probably a 90+% chance of being correct.

Nice photo!

Bob Patterson
Moth Photographers Group Website

Auditory Awareness

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Some of you may have heard about a related study on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, but for those that haven’t, here’s a brief overview.

Some people are neurologically tone-deaf (and these people are generally known as flute players*), such that they can not distinguish between one musical phrase and a different slightly altered one.

I know I have a particularly musical audience, so check out an online tone deafness ‘test’.

For the record I was 80.6% correct. It seems I’m pretty accurate on positively identifying the errors, but I seem to have a high false alarm rate also (this was true in the rhythm test also.).

Check out the other tests too:

  • Adaptive tone test: 2.1Hz
  • Rhythm test: 80.0%
  • Associative Musical Visual Intelligence test: 90% (87,88,94,86,87.6)
  • It would seem that I’m musically above average. Maybe that trombone playing did do something permanent to my brain.

    * Please do not flame me on the woodwind jab. I am a trombone player (even if I haven’t touched it in over a year) and it is my sworn duty to bust on the musical ability of woodwinds. No matter how stereotypical or inappropriate…

Bloody Gore

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The title is not a British conservative commenting on the recent Nobel prize winner. It’s the literal interpretation. Therefore I must apologize for the juxtaposition of this blog entry with the previous one, but I won’t provide pictures so you have the opportunity to click away now if you are the squeamish type.

So our cats are becoming increasingly competent in catching mice and various other creatures of similar size. Unfortunately, they hadn’t quite learned what to do with said captives, so they usually deliver them to us still fully operational. I am forced to re-catch and dispatch the rodent myself with the cats looking on with only the slightest curiosity.

Not today… (more…)

Local Strawberries = Yum.

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

K hit the local farm for strawberries today.

I made shortcakes from scratch.

K cleaned and sliced the berries.

We both* made whipped cream from honest to goodness real heavy cream and sugar.

Fresh home made strawberry shortcake is THE yum.

MMmmm....  Shortcake.

* It took both of us to keep the whisk going at full speed long enough.

Quick fix for gas mileage!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Yes, there really is a silver bullet. Well, at least a rather shiny metallic bullet of some kind.

I have recorded the number of gallons and trip mileage for EVERY tank of gas I ever put in my car (361 tanks as of today). This is a habit that I picked up from my Mom, which generally serves little or no purpose other than monitoring sudden changes in engine efficiency. It is not my Mom’s fault (at least directly) that I bothered to enter this data into a spreadsheet and analyze it. Anyways, it is because of this record that I am able to somewhat conclusively report that there is an easy way to improve your gas mileage.


And then they’re gone.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

I admit I’m a touch choked up at the moment.

I received this simple email from my Dad about 10 minutes ago:

Goodbye George Aug. 1996-June2008

There’s always been a cat at my parent’s house. Not a froofy cat with a little pink bow, but an outdoor, mouse catching, rabbit terrorizing, sparrow infuriating honest-to-goodness rural cat. Their coats always a bit coarse and in need of a brushing (when they chose to tolerate it). George was no exception.

My Dad taught me that it’s ok to be a man and have a fun, loving relationship with a cat. It has to do with balance: showing emotion, compassion and friendship when it’s appropriate. There are some who would encourage the stereotype that cats are ‘feminine’ or somehow don’t fit in the truck-shotgun-dog mentality. Some kind of “Real men don’t like cats” stupidity. That’s not my Dad and it’s not me.

We make a place for pets in our lives, and we make a place for family pets when we visit family. It’s always a personal victory when the ‘shy’ pet allows me to “skritch” them behind the ears or lies down on my lap. George had a crazy personality and I know he was well loved. My folks will be finding little fuzzy balls and other toys under, in and behind various pieces of furniture for years to come. And every time, he will be missed.

My civic duty is to sit and read.

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Seriously. I even got paid for it. (Caution: Long posting)

I received a juror summons some weeks ago to report this week. Most people, it seems, find this to be some kind of terrible inconvenience, but I thought it sounded interesting, having never done it before.
So over the weekend I called the provided telephone number and was told that all jurors needed to report. So this morning I was off to Wampsville (I’m not making that up) where the Madison County Courthouse is located.

Some 150 potential jurors were summoned according to Ms. Kincaid, Commissioner of Jurors for a criminal trial. 12 jurors and two alternates would be required. We were asked to fill out a questionnaire which covered such things as education, occupation, and various potential conflicts of interest. This was a general form, nothing specific to the nature of the case (which we didn’t know yet). At this point we were all seated in the gallery of the courtroom. Ms. Kincaid then discussed jury duty and showed us an introductory video about the history of the trial by jury. I have to tell you, this video started out looking more like a Monty Python skit (complete with medieval mob and trial by throwing some poor sod into a lake… go ahead watch the first 5 minutes.), (more…)

Suhlly cat. Laf is for peepul.

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

I will carefully dodge the blog taboo by blogging about someone else’s cat. Bad Astronomer has broadcast the social inadequacy of his cat on I had never heard of this site, and once again I am relieved to discover that despite what TV writers would have you think, there are still funny people in the world.

I browsed through a few pages and found the following which I very much enjoyed:
If Only...