Friday, October 26, 2018

Visiting London

Natural History Museum in London (South Kensington Station)

The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. The museum is a centre of research specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments; access to the library is by appointment only. The museum is recognised as the pre-eminent centre of natural history and research of related fields in the world. - FROM WIKIPEDIA Ice Rink Video

British Museum (Googe Street Station)

The British Museum, located in the Bloomsbury area of London, in the United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection numbers some 8 million works, and is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence having been widely sourced during the era of the British Empire, and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It is the first national public museum in the world.  - FROM WIKIPEDIA Video

British Library (King's Cross St. Pancras Station)

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest national library in the world by number of items catalogued. It is estimated to contain 150–200 million+ items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The British Library is a major research library, with items in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library's collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. In addition to receiving a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland (approximately 8,000 per day), the Library has a programme for content acquisitions. The Library adds some three million items every year occupying 9.6 kilometres (6.0 mi) of new shelf space. There is space in the library for over 1,200 readers. FROM WIKIPEDIA Video

London's TKTS (Leicester Square Station)

London's TKTS, originally known as ‘The Half Price Ticket Booth’, is run by the Society of London Theatre on behalf of the theatre industry. Operating since 1980 in the heart of Leicester Square, this discounted ticket booth offers customers a wide choice of discount theatre tickets on the day of the performance and in advance. There are also regularly full price tickets available through the booth.
Tickets can only be bought from TKTS in person, providing personal service from knowledgeable staff. Each TKTS ticket includes a booking fee of £3 on discount theatre tickets and £1 on full price tickets. All profits made from SOLT, including TKTS, go straight back into the industry. TKTS is also accredited by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and all ticket sales are made following the STAR code of practice.  The Society of London Theatre has licensed the TKTS trademark from the Theatre Development Fund, but the two organizations are otherwise unrelated. - FROM WIKIPEDIA

Borough Market (Borough Station)

Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London, England. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century. The present buildings were built in the 1850s, and today the market mainly sells speciality foods to the general public.- FROM WIKIPEDIA

Sky Garden (Cannon Street Station)

The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is a unique public space that spans three storeys and offers 360 degree uninterrupted views across the City of London. Visitors can wander around the exquisitely landscaped gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace of what is London’s highest public garden. The Sky Garden has been designed to create an open and vibrant place of leisure, offering visitors a rare chance to experience London from a different viewpoint. Entry to the Sky Garden is free, but please note space is strictly limited and visits must be booked online in advance through this site.

The Shard  (London Bridge Station)

The View from The Shard is a tourist attraction based in London's tallest building, The Shard. The attraction offers visitors views from the skyscraper, with two viewing platforms inside the building: the first is a triple level indoor gallery on Level 69, and the second is a partially outdoor gallery on Level 72. The attraction has a ground floor gift shop as well as 'The Sky Boutique,' on Level 68, with limited edition souvenirs. It is the highest shop in London.- FROM WIKIPEDIA

London Eye  (Waterloo Station)

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest Ferris wheel, is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually, and has made many appearances in popular culture. The structure is 135 metres (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft). When it opened to the public in 2000 it was the world's tallest Ferris wheel. Its height was surpassed by the 525-foot (160 m) Star of Nanchang in 2006, the 165 metres (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008, and the 550-foot tall (167.6 m) High Roller (Las Vegas) in 2014. Supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the taller Nanchang and Singapore wheels, the Eye is described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel". The London Eye offered the highest public viewing point in London until it was superseded by the 245-metre (804 ft) high observation deck on the 72nd floor of The Shard, which opened to the public on 1 February 2013.- FROM WIKIPEDIA

Tower Bridge  (Tower Hill Station)

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London. Because of this, Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with London Bridge, situated some 0.5 mi (0.80 km) upstream. Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges now owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the Trust's bridges not to connect the City of London directly to the Southwark bank, as its northern landfall is in Tower Hamlets. -  FROM WIKIPEDIA

St. Paul's Cathedral - (St. Paul's Station)

St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme in the City after the Great Fire of London. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral. St Paul's Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity.[4][unreliable source] It is the central subject of much promotional material, as well as of images of the dome surrounded by the smoke and fire of the Blitz.[4] Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the launch of the Festival of Britain; and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees and the 80th and 90th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth II. St Paul's Cathedral is a working church with hourly prayer and daily services. The tourist entry fee at the door is £18 for adults (March 2017, cheaper online), but no charge is made to worshippers.  FROM WIKIPEDIA

Buckingham Palace (Victoria Station)

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.  -  FROM WIKIPEDIA

Trafalgar Square (Charring Cross Station)

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain. The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13th century and originally contained the King's Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash, but progress was slow after his death, and the square did not open until 1844. The 169-foot (52 m) Nelson's Column at its centre is guarded by four lion statues. A number of commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square, but the Fourth Plinth, left empty since 1840, has been host to contemporary art since 1999. The square has been used for community gatherings and political demonstrations, including Bloody Sunday, the first Aldermaston March, anti-war protests, and campaigns against climate change. A Christmas tree has been donated to the square by Norway since 1947 and is erected for twelve days before and after Christmas Day. The square is a centre of annual celebrations on New Year's Eve. It was well known for its feral pigeons until their removals in the early 21st century. -  FROM WIKIPEDIA

Tower of London (Tower Hill Station)

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.  - WIKIPEDIA

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Richmond Station)

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (brand name Kew) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. An internationally important botanical research and education institution, it employs 723 staff (FTE). Its board of trustees is chaired by Marcus Agius, a former chairman of Barclays. The organisation manages botanic gardens at Kew in Richmond upon Thames in southwest London, and at Wakehurst Place, a National Trust property in Sussex which is home to the internationally important Millennium Seed Bank, whose scientists work with partner organisations in more than 95 countries. Kew, jointly with the Forestry Commission, founded Bedgebury National Pinetum in Kent in 1923, specialising in growing conifers. In 1994 the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, which runs the Yorkshire Arboretum, was formed as a partnership between Kew and the Castle Howard Estate. The organisation had 2,124,138 public visitors in the year 2016/17. Its 326-acre (132 ha) site at Kew has 40 historically important buildings; it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 3 July 2003. The collections at Kew and Wakehurst Place include over 28,000 taxa of living plants, 8.3 million plant and fungal herbarium specimens, and 30,000 species in the seed bank.

Westminster Abbey (Westminster Station)

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.
According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island)) in the seventh century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III.

Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been in Westminster Abbey. There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100.

Palace of Westminster (Westminster Station)

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Its name, which is derived from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. The building is managed by committees appointed by both houses, which report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker. 

St. Margaret's Church (Westminster Station)

The Church of St Westminster, Westminster Abbey, is situated in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square. It was until 1972 the Anglican parish church of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in London. It is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch. The church forms part of a single World Heritage Site, with the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey. The church was founded in the twelfth century by Benedictine monks, so that local people who lived in the area around the Abbey could worship separately at their own simpler parish church, and historically it was within the hundred of Ossulstone in the county of Middlesex. In 1914, in a preface to Memorials of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, a former Rector of St Margaret's, Dr Hensley Henson, reported a mediaeval tradition that the church was as old as Westminster Abbey, owing its origins to the same royal saint, and that "The two churches, conventual and parochial, have stood side by side for more than eight centuries — not, of course, the existing fabrics, but older churches of which the existing fabrics are successors on the same site."

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich known as the Old Royal Observatory from 1957 to 1998, when the working Royal Greenwich Observatory, RGO, moved from Greenwich to Herstmonceux) is an observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. It played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is best known for the fact that the prime meridian passes through it, and thereby gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time. The ROG has the IAU observatory code of 000, the first in the list. ROG, the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House and Cutty Sark are collectively designated Royal Museums Greenwich. The observatory was commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II, with the foundation stone being laid on 10 August. The site was chosen by Sir Christopher Wren. At that time the king also created the position of Astronomer Royal, to serve as the director of the observatory and to "apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation." He appointed John Flamsteed as the first Astronomer Royal. The building was completed in the summer of 1676. The building was often called "Flamsteed House", in reference to its first occupant. The scientific work of the observatory was relocated elsewhere in stages in the first half of the 20th century, and the Greenwich site is now maintained almost exclusively as a museum, although the AMAT telescope became operational for astronomical research in 2018.
Royal Albert Hall (South Kensington Station)

Royal Albert Hall (South Kensington Station)

The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London, which has held the Proms concerts annually each summer since 1941. It has a capacity of up to 5,272 seats. The Hall is a registered charity held in trust for the nation and receives no public or government funding. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world's leading artists from many performance genres have appeared on its stage and it has become one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings. The location of some of the most notable events in British culture, each year it hosts more than 390 shows in the main auditorium, including classical, rock and pop concerts, ballet, opera, film screenings with live orchestra, sports, award ceremonies, school and community events, charity performances and banquets. A further 400 events are held each year in the non-auditorium spaces. The Hall was originally supposed to have been called the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but the name was changed to the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences by Queen Victoria upon laying the Hall's foundation stone in 1867, in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, who had died six years earlier. It forms the practical part of a memorial to the Prince Consort – the decorative part is the Albert Memorial directly to the north in Kensington Gardens, now separated from the Hall by Kensington Gore.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Marathon" - Rush

You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast. You can make the most of the distance. First you need endurance. -- First you've got to last...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Affirmation and Encouragement

Recently I was hurt.  Without going into detail, I was misjudged.  Since it came from someone I care about I've struggled.  

But The Lord has ways of sending people your way to affirm you.  I got such an affirmation in a random, unsolicited text from a friend the other day:

"Thank you! It may have taken me a year but I finally feel that connection with God. His presence has been strong in my life recently. So thank you for explaining it to me & giving me the knowledge I needed to get there."

God always comes through. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

18 Hours of Work and Fun

Last night I enjoyed hanging out with Jason Simpson, the Chief Meteorologist at WHNT 19.  I had a very long stressful day at work.  Sounded like Jason had a busy day himself.  We always have a good time talking about weather and about life in general.  

After Jason finished the weather around 6:45, I drove over to the Space and Rocket Center.  There we had a very interesting presentation at the local chapter of the NWA/AMS meeting.  

After getting home around a quarter till nine, I spent the next few hours working on my camera equipment in anticipation of the upcoming severe weather season.  

I haven't had much sleep this week but last night it was for a good reason!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A New Goal

                  Last Night's Route

I have always enjoyed running and/or walking for exercise, since I was young.  I have often wondered why people spend hundreds of dollars for gym memberships, personal trainers, and expensive equipment.  I am not being critical of that, but it has been my experience that running, jogging, and even walking long distances can yield the same health benefits, at no cost.  I suppose there are benefits to having access to better equipment, motivational coaches, and indoor climate, but we can’t all afford that.  And even if we could, one would have to ask if it’s worth it.  These support systems can be helpful, but in the end, the desire to take care of yourself has to come from within. 


In recent years I have used free smart phone applications to help me.  Several days (especially on weekends) I have walked 10-15 miles and in 2012 I think I averaged between three and four miles of walking per day.  In 2011, I completed seven out of nine weeks of a “Couch to 5K” program.  Then I was the coordinator of 30-plus volunteers at a national weather conference.  I was putting in 14-hour days for over a week.  I literally had no time to find a way to complete the program.  Not only that, I was staying in a hotel in the downtown portion of a large city with high crime rates.  So I stopped the program and went back to walking. 


Since then, I have walked quite a bit at times, but not with the consistency I have had in the past.  There are so many barriers to outdoor running and walking.  It takes a lot of time.  Rainy days make it difficult.  As I age, cold weather makes it very difficult.  Sometimes extreme heat makes it difficult.  Then there are the issues of being unavailable due to work hours and a pretty long commute.  I have hobbies, neighbors, and friends I like to spend time with.  I like to be available to chase storms or take lightning pictures. Tonight I will be at a meeting of a weather organization I am involved in.  Even though my sons are older, I still value any time I can get with them.  I have had times where I dated.  That is not a time issue currently, but it has been at times.  I always have projects to work on at home.  The list goes on and on.  At some point though, we have to make time in our lives for things. 


I “feel” the drive to do this now.  But as I was walking and jogging last night, one word kept coming to mind: “consistency”.  How many people get fired up for a few days or weeks, only to slip back into inactivity?  A former pastor of mine once described me as one of the most consistent people he knew.  I don’t know about that, but it is something I feel a renewed desire to implement more fully in my life.  Warmer weather is arriving, and I am getting the “fever” again.  One thing that helps is setting written goals.  Last night I decided on a new goal.  Today I am putting it in writing.  I want to run a 5K race.  I have never been in an “official” race, before.  I started thinking, that’s really only 3.1 miles.  My initial goal is to actually run and jog the whole way.  But even if I end up walking, I will have completed something new.  In that spirit, I looked up quotes on consistency.  I will try to think about these as I pursue my goal.


“For the novice runner, I’d say to give yourself at least two months of consistently running at a conversational pace before deciding whether you want to stick with it.  Consistency is the most important aspect of training at this point.” – Frank Shorter


“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives.  It’s what we do consistently.” – Anthony Robbins


“Success is neither magical nor mysterious.  Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn


“The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli


“Getting an audience is hard.  Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” – Bruce Springsteen


“You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others.  That’s the mark of a true professional.” – Joe Paterno


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Classic Kramer

"The Opposite" is one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.   George Costanza acts the opposite of his instincts and finds great success.  But my favorite clip is when Cosmo Kramer goes on Regis and Kathie Lee.  

Kramer coffee table book on "Regis & Kathie Lee"

Live Long and Prosper

I ran across an interesting interview in which Leonard Nimoy describes in detail how he came up with his character Spock's famous Vulcan hand gesture in the original Star Trek show.

Monday, February 17, 2014

1970 Something...

was just thinking about 1970-something.  There was no Facebook. No personal computers.  I played outside with my friends until my parents forced us to come in and eat.  In the winter I never knew in the morning if I might wake up to snow.   We knew most all the neighbors.  At school we all talked about the same shows on TV.  We grew gardens.  Kids who did bad things were kind of ostracized.  Getting to talk on the phone with family members long-distance was a treat.  My parents didn't have to be too embarrassed about music on the radio.  We always sat down to a real meal prepared by my mom (other than weekends when dad grilled out). We talked at the dinner table as a family.  I had fast food about once or twice a year.   There was never sex on TV in my house.  Everybody we knew, we knew in person.  Somehow we survived without wearing seatbelts.  I could ride all over town on my bicycle before I was even 12.  $.15 snowcones and cup ball games were regular fare down at the park. People rarely divorced, but usually were fairly happy.  Sometimes people found out that their best friend-spouse shared the best days of their life toward the end.  We learned math by reading the back of baseball cards and computing our batting averages.  We were lucky to see our favorite football team once or twice a year on TV.  I learned about the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates from listening to distant radio stations.  We didn't download music; it was an "event" to go to the record store and bring an album home.  We survived fights and bullying at school.  Life was not perfect. But I think it was better.   

After writing this, i happened across an article through my Facebook feed.  It talked about the dangers of texting in a relationship to the exclusion of human interaction.  Without realizing it was happening, pI had a relationship recently that fell victim to the very same thing. Other reasons and factors were given, but assumptions were made based on texting, not to mention the familiarity it brings that were hurtful.  This is a very good read for anyone he does a lot of texting.  

I might add another point to her article.   If two people don't invest in each other enough to block off some time to actually see each other and talk on a regular basis that might be a red flag.  Texting can be done at almost any time. Is it really saying that I don't have time to talk to you without other distractions?