Lunch Walk Sponsored by Spring Flowers

May has been like April was supposed to be – full of showers.  And all that rain is preventing me from taking refreshing lunch time walks (otherwise, I end up walking in circles in the bottom of the parking garage where there’s no signal, no sunshine and no spring flowers).  Thursday saw a break in the clouds (sort of) and I walked east a couple of blocks to visit the Kauffman Memorial Gardens.  I took several photos and didn’t get much walking done for 5-10 minutes.  More like a stroll through the park (click on photo to see the rest of the album).

Lunch Walk Sponsored by Spring Flowers

Busy Bee at the Kauffman Memorial Gardens (click photo for rest of album)

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Tonight’s Adventure in Star Gazing with the Public

Tonight is my first night this year as a volunteer of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City in our public outreach efforts to introduce astronomical observing to the public.  Every Saturday night in May and through the end of October, we open up Powell Observatory to the public and provide education programs, solar observing, binocular observing and of course telescopic observing (weather and cloud cover permitting).  The weather forecast for this evening couldn’t be better.  See for yourself as we have our own weather station and sky cam broadcasting 24-hours a day.

Astronomy’s Sky this Week reports for tonight:

Saturday, May 14

•  The Moon moves approximately 13° eastward relative to the starry background every 24 hours, and its motion carries it near Jupiter this evening. From North America, the two appear within 5° of each other all night. They will be in conjunction at 6 a.m. EDT tomorrow morning, when our satellite passes 2° due south of the planet. Although the best views of the pair come with the naked eye or binoculars, don’t pass up the opportunity to observe Jupiter through a telescope. The giant planet’s disk currently spans 39″ and displays a wealth of atmospheric detail. All this week, Jupiter appears high in the south as darkness falls and doesn’t set until nearly 3 a.m. local daylight time. It shines at magnitude –2.2 — brighter than any other point of light in the night sky — against the backdrop of southern Leo.

While Sky and Telescope Sky at a Glance expands on: The two brightest things in the evening sky, the Moon and Jupiter, shine high just a few degrees apart this evening, as shown here. Third brightest is Mars, low in the southeast after dark.

So for a great time this evening, head south of Kansas City down US-69 to Louisburg and join me and several hundred other people as we take in the wonders of the night sky.

Keep Looking Up!

 

 

Posted in Astronomy, Clusters, Constellations, Deep Sky, Jupiter, Mars, Milky Way, Moon, Saturn, Seasons, Solar System, Spring | 1 Comment

Mini-Series Review: Dig (2015) 3.5 Stars

dig-poster-imageDig

USA Network Mini-Series premiered in March 2015 consisting of ten (10) episodes

Watched via Netflix DVD in March/April 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: When Peter Connelly, an FBI agent recently stationed in Jerusalem, begins investigating the murder of a young American, he realizes that he has uncovered an ancient international conspiracy that threatens to change the course of human history. Certain that the dangerous prophecy is nearing fruition, Peter must race against the clock to unravel its mystery. From a remote farm in Norway, to an enigmatic compound in New Mexico, to the serpentine tunnels of Jerusalem, this immersive, fast-paced adventure will take viewers on a quest for a truth that will shake the world’s beliefs to its very core.

My Thoughts

I had these DVDs literally for months.  I think they were first shipped to me back in late January or early February.  I just never seemed to find the time to sit down to binge watch a ‘new’ television show.  It must have been a rainy weekend in March when I decided to pop the DVD in and begin watching Dig.  My initial viewing sessions got me through three or maybe it was four episodes.  About that time, Terry said he’d like to watch to so I told him to watch the first four episodes late at night to catch-up.  After a few more weeks or this (not catching up) I finally gave up and just watched the rest of the episodes over the course of a Saturday and Sunday.  And I even remembered to watch the bonus materials before returning the DVDs (finally) to Netflix.

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Movie Review: Beyond the Mask (2015) 3.5 Stars

Beyond the Mask

Release Date: April 2015

Watched via Netflix DVD: May 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from IMdb): The chief mercenary for the British East India Company, being double crossed by his former employer, has made his way to the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name, William Reynolds (Andrew Cheney) now hides behind a different mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte, a woman he has been lying to, as well as a colonial intellectual by the name of Ben Franklin. All the while he races against time to defuse a plot that could have devastating effect on the birth of a new nation.

My Thoughts

The story was intriguing and I’m always a sucker for a Revolutionary tale. The actors performed well (I laughed, I almost cried).  Yet, I remained unconvinced in the sincerity of Will’s conversion, but his actions and convictions spoke louder than his words throughout.  Charlotte’s constant protestations of confusion made me doubt her intelligence, but she redeemed herself admirably before the credits.  I spotted the telegraphed clues to the mystery early on, so the plotting was almost as heavy-handed as the special effects, which I thought were a bit over-played.

I liked the score, except perhaps for the repeated use of Pachelbel’s Canon,  which really wasn’t popular until the 1970s, not the 1776 (in fact it was pretty much lost to history until the early 20th century).

Christian film-making is improving.  I continue to hold out hope and with each passing year my prayers are answered for an improved storytelling experience.

Give Beyond the Mask a try.  You might find a spark of redemption waiting for you.

Posted in 3 Star, Christianity, Family, Movies and Television Shows, Ratings, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Double Timing It: Walk Across Kansas and Up the Coast of California Simultaneously

VirtualWalkBig1At the beginning of April, I embarked on two (2) virtual walks.  The first is sponsored by my employer and is called “The Big 1” and described as “The Big 1 takes you on a coastal voyage from Laguna Beach in the south all the way up to San Francisco.  It is going to be a beautiful trip and your goal is to complete the route along the Pacific Coast Highway in six weeks.” Continue reading

Posted in Dogs, Family, Musings, Rottweilers, Seasons, Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I joined (or more accurately re-joined) a small group last night, one of the many associated with Westside Family Church (WFC) and connected with their recently opened Leavenworth campus.  I promised the other members of the group that I would research (it’s one of my talents/gifts) one of the study questions from the guide (which can be found here) for this week’s installment of the Model Family sermon series.

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Movie Review: Before We Go (2015) 4 Stars

Before We Go

Release (U.S.) September 2015

Watched (via Netflix streaming) April 2016

Rating: 3.5-4 stars

After a sunset walk along Angel Falls Trail with Terry, Lexy and Porthos, we whipped up some baked hot wings and sat down to find a movie to watch.  First stop Starz On Demand.  We looked at every movie offered and discounting the ones we had already seen, found not a single movie worth watching.  I asked Terry, “We’re paying how much per month for Starz?” Yeah, they got cancelled this morning, despite Dish trying to entice me with a $5/month for 6 months ‘deal.’  I switched to HBO for a special price this morning to see if we’ll get any better movies with the oldest and biggest premium channel in the business.

Next we both checked our Netflix streaming queues.  I also checked movies I’d bought on sale at Google Play and suggested we re-watch the re-make of True Grit.  We held that in reserve until we could find something we hadn’t seen.  Terry found some strange high school comedy/drama from the mid-80s called Lucas that we attempted to watch for 15 minutes but gave up.  I lived through the 80s once.  Once was enough.  I also checked Hoopla (streaming video from local libraries) and my PBS app but came up with nothing promising.  I went back to Netflix and reviewed the drama recommendations.  I don’t normally do dramas because they can be a downer and I really didn’t want to start my weekend off on a sad note.  But the reviews on Netflix for Before We Go were higher than the normal so I decided to take a chance once we ditched Lucas.

I’m glad I did NOT read any of the ‘critics’ reviews of this film as I quite enjoyed it.  Charming and sweet and not bad for the directorial debut of Chris Evans.  A very different view of New York from the eyes of two strangers not on a train.  I liked it because it was different and hopeful.

 

Posted in 4 Star, Movies and Television Shows, Ratings, Reviews, Seasons, Spring | Tagged , , | 2 Comments