Author Archives: Paul Morrison

Rubber Duck WTF #37

Since no one got #36 name the humpback (the answer was Music go check it out) #37 is going to be even harder but the prizes keep piling up.

First three winners get a GMG sticker signed by RD and one pirate Rubber Duck. First prize gets choice of Zombie Rubber Duck or Pirate.

To win the responder must say exactly where this is not just how/what and or why. Be precise. Precision wins.


Where is this? Not the image, where is the actual photo residing. If you get out in Cape Ann over the last two months you should know.

Crap: I just realized that if you follow me in Facebook you might be able to figure this out without actually having been there.

[edit Oct 12, 9:38AM] We have a winner! Anonymous correctly named the location. The fresnel lens as big as an outhouse is right behind me. Anonymous can come down to the dock to pick up her winnings. Proper ID required.


Winner winner chicken dinner!

Wednesday Lunar Eclipse at Dawn Once in a Lifetime!

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, when the sun rises in the east the full moon will be setting in the west. But this time a full lunar eclipse will be taking place.

The countdown:

5:18 AM eclipse starts (moon starts getting red)

6:27 AM total eclipse (moon is red!)

6:47 AM maximum eclipse in Gloucester

Sunrise is at 6:47 AM and the moon sets at :6:52 AM  So you can see there is a pile up with the sun rising, the moon setting and the moon is epic total all at the same time!

So if you are out at the Eastern Point lighthouse before 6:30 AM you can set up to watch the lunar eclipse set over the western harbor while the sun rises behind you in the east behind the lighthouse.

Except it is going to be raining at dawn with a 17 mph wind out of the south making it no so much fun out there. But what if the clouds part?


That yellow line points to where the sun will be coming up and the dark blue line points to where the moon is setting.

Because the blood red eclipse will be on the horizon the moon will look about as gargantuan as a giant Rubber Duck sitting in Gloucester Harbor. Except we won’t see a thing because it will be raining.

Name that Humpback

We crossed whale watch off our “list of things that must be done even if we live here” this summer. I’m going through my photos and auto-awesome has strung some together and I post it in my Apple Sheeple forum and ten mintues later Phos has straightened out the horizon. Thanks Phos.

Looking at the animation I can see the white on the flukes of the tail that are the best way to identify humpbacks. People who study the humpbacks know them all by name and have seen the same ones over decades. I wrote the names down of the seven that we saw but lost my notes. But if you go to Coastal Studies page and under the photos click “download the latest version here” you will get a 72 page document with photos of a lot of whale tales.


Seven Seas Whale Watch this summer. Seven Humpbacks all identified by the whale dude on board. This humpback has just cleared her pipes and is now sounding. She’ll be gone for 5 to 7 minutes as she cruises about in 130 foot deep water looking for stuff to eat, or hobnobbing with her friends Hippocampus and North Star.

Can you figure out the name of this whale? If you work with these whales you are saying, “of course that’s Suzie Cream Cheese”. But I made up that name.

They are ordered from very white to very black. It seems easy but I couldn’t do it. My daughter figured it out in five minutes. Can you? First three who name it correctly get a Pirate Rubber Duck autographed by RD herself. Clicking on the photo enlarges the animation. If it isn’t animated get a real computer or phone, Macintosh or iPhone :-)

This is Not a Bee


Halibut Point: Bees Bees I’m covered in Bees. A hundred shots of bees and the bees are all out of focus. I think they were all bumble bees and they were bumbling so much they were fuzzy. This bug was in focus.


One fuzzy bee in focus! Click on the photos to get up close and personal with my fuzzy bee and bug. Click one more time to see the fuzzy head. How does this thing fly? The wings are attached to her head and her ass is humongous compared to the wings. It did fly away.

iPhone 5s iOS8

Three Ocean Sunfish in one day?


Ocean Sunfish #3

Not one, not two, but three ocean sunfish basking on the surface from Thachers to Halibut Point. The last time I saw more than one sunfish in a day was 1972. I didn’t see a striped bass for the next 12 years. And it was also wall to wall jelly fish. Very clear water, nothing but jellyfish.

Rubber Duck Public Service Announcement: Don’t Be a Duck Butt, Get The Flu Shot

The moment after I call everyone who avoids the flu shot lazy and stupid I get an email from the President of Dana-Farber saying exactly the same thing. OK, he says it nicely because he is the head doctor here but I can be more pointed. Or I will let Rubber Duck and DFCI tell you why you need to get the vaccine.

DFCI: Influenza hospitalizes and kills more people in this country than any other vaccine-preventable disease, and DFCI has made the decision to require universal vaccination for the good of our patients, staff, and visitors.

Rubber Duck: If you do not get a shot you can be a resevoir of virus infecting everyone you cough on. Don’t be an idiot, get a shot.

DFCI: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires that all hospital staff document their vaccination status. To meet this requirement, staff who are unable to receive the flu vaccine for medical reasons and those who receive the vaccine anywhere other than Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s, or Boston Children’s Hospitals will be required to provide written documentation to Occupational Health Services.

Rubber Duck: And the medical reasons better be good. Allergy to eggs does not cut it anymore.

DFCI: Last year at Dana-Farber, we had 100% compliance for flu vaccination!

Rubber Duck: Imagine if everyone on Cape Ann (older than six months) got the shot. There might not be a big spike in flu cases, less people would die of the flu or complications from the flu this winter.

Rubber Duck Facts of Life: Influenza is a virus. It does not appear as if by magic from a passing seagull. Each and every person in Massachusetts who gets the flu received that virus from another person. That person likely was not vaccinated. Do not be that idiot.

The Flu and Ebola: Ebola is also a virus just like the flu. Anecdotal story: Just a few weeks ago Francis lived in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia. He helped his sick neighbor into a taxi. A few days later as he lay dying in the hospital he told the doctors how he was infected. He leaves his father, son, brother, wife, to grieve. Francis and his neighbor were ignorant of how the virus was transmitted.

Ebola is not the flu. It has killed far fewer but it strikes so quickly one can connect the dots. Each person in the United States (estimated at around 50,000 each winter) who dies of the flu is infected the same way, by another person. Flu virus does not grow on trees. Do not be that infectious person. If you do not believe in vaccines, do me a favor and write IDIOT on your forehead so Rubber Duck and I can stay away from you. We have had our shots but the vaccine does not work 100% of the time. You can still kill us.

As author I am in charge of comments. If you post bullshit from a pseudo-scientific web site I will delete it. Sue me. Science works. Bullshit kills.

- Paul Morrison & Rubber Duck

You're going to feel a little pinch Rubber Duck

You’re going to feel a little pinch Rubber Duck

James Merry: First Attacked tonight

EJ posted these shots in 2011. September 18, 1892 122 years ago. The death of James Merry by a three year old bull owned by Patrick Nugent in a field in Dogtown owned by Curtis.

James Merry was a fisher man back in days of yore
But he left the blue in ninety-two for the trade of matador
So he got a bull and he raised it up full
And he learned the corrida lore
Then he died like a toad on the Dogtown Road
Bleeding from a stomach gore

-by Shep Abbott

If it’s for Charity it’s in good taste right?: GMG Charity Event this winter

The Perfect Storm of Events: Zoolander sequel on schedule, and Joey’s ability to describe hair removal and underwear selection and the post of this Youtube video coalesced together for the perfect GMG Charity Event.

Joey modeling Veronica’s Secret underwear.


Upside down muffin top?

Check out the video! (Because Gloucester we should be able to do this without this weird privacy screen and maybe Peter and Vickie can come up with a Gimmiesound “ba ba BOOM, ba ba BOOM).

Rubber Duck has said she will be a judge. Any money stuck in underwear goes to Cape Ann Animal Aid. Do it for the puppies!


Stella Luna the puppy. A mutt that was rescued out of a drain pipe with her sisters. She’s dreaming of a fashion show to raise money to save her furry puppy friends.

Rubber Duck Tech Tip: RD wants the iPhone 6Plus


Apple iPhone 5s. High noon light, rocking platform. Shot was “normal”, not HD.

Shot this Saturday waiting for the Cut Bridge to go up (high tide) after Mug Up trying to get a duck and the Birdseye Plant being taken apart in the background (They are working Saturdays.)

Non-descript photo, a snapshot, no real subject, point and shoot. But considering the conditions, it captures some detail. There was a lot of light but the boat was rocking. So the iPhone 5s shuts the aperture down to get a long depth of field but it should be muddy in the resolution and indeed it is a bit. We zoom in:


The rod holder probably got the center of the depth of field but because the aperture is shut down to a F22 pinhole (guessing) the focus stretches from the duck butt to the paint factory. The software digital stabilization gives the Birdseye Plant some muddy painterly effects (the shot is right out of camera unprocessed) but still shows some detail of the demolition of frozen food history.

So what does this have to do with the new Apple iPhone 6Plus? The 6 Plus is going to make this shot better. The six Plus has optical image stabilization. (The iPhone 6 does not, it sticks with software fake focusing.) What is the difference? A lot. When I snap that photo two weeks from now there will be micromotors moving the lens around to lock on the Birdseye Plant while the lens is open. So if you are shooting from a rocking boat it still comes out clean.

But wait, there’s more. Something called pixel focus. Remember when you had that five pound Nikon DSLR and you manually focused the lens and you tried to get that little split image in the center to line up? 20 years ago but they looked like pixels which suddenly cleared when you focused on your subject? That (sort of) is pixel focus. There will be designated pixels across the field that need to match up, and when they do the lens is focused on that subject. When you tap the screen with your finger to light balance on the birdseye plant you are also selecting it as your primary focus (thank you Adam Bolonsky for pointing that out). Pixels in the birdseye plant will be used to “pixel focus”.

But you don’t need to know any of this. What it means is that iPhone 6Plus shots will be cleaner, sharper right out of the camera so you can fill your Facebook feed with more selfies than ever. The focus will be on your subject the entire time in a movie so your cat gifs you upload on #Caturday in G+ will be even more sickeningly cute.

The take home message: Tech marches on led by Apple. That used to be cool point and shoot digital camera you have covered with dust in the drawer next to your film cameras? Get ready for some company. High end point and shoots are history and this phone is going to start nibbling into the professional camera category. OK, you filmsters who said nothing will kill film quiet down. The three to seven thousand dollar DSLRs have plenty of life left. But everything underneath those price points I would worry if I was making a living selling them. People want to take snaps. More snaps on iPhones this year than all photos combined. Compact cameras will go the way of compact video will go the way of the Dodo bird. Because you use what you have. Since you have to have a phone in your pocket to check facebook and text you are going to shoot with your smart phone. Everything else is a slide ruler. Neat to own, but gathering dust in that drawer.

When and what to buy: The new Apple phones are the 6 and the 6Plus. I just described a few advantages of the six Plus. The six Plus also has 37% more screen, more pixels, and also better battery life than the 6. But I am still going to wait until next Friday, September 19 so I can touch them before deciding in the Boylston Street Apple Store. Everything points to the six Plus. For a hundred bucks more you get a ton more features. The battery and the camera are the deal maker. The downside is that the thing is an air craft carrier, a cross between a phone and a tablet. A “Phablet”. An awful portmanteau. I don’t want a phablet in my front pocket. “Is that a phablet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” Bend over and start singing falsetto. But I will likely go big. I was poking fun at Toby’s Androidy Phablet just a few weeks ago. (Can you land jet planes on that?) I will live through his eyebrows raising when I pull out my Fabulous Phablet. Or my Fab Fablet out of my Euro man purse.

if you read this far …

Disclosure: I have been an Apple fan, Apple Fan Boy, member of the Apple Sheeple flock, ever since I used a Macintosh 512 to make graphs in a paper published in 1985. I find Apple is like real Science, it just works and makes my life simpler. I am biased towards simpler. Sue me.

Unnecessary detail: the Info on the shot says F2.2 ISO 40. So instead of shutting the aperture down the camera digitally selects “slower” film to capture more detail. I’m not going back to change the verbiage just to make film school graduates happy who want to argue about the size of silver halide crystals.


Rubber Duck Tech Tip: The New Watch


I kept this hidden for two years …

So Apple has come out with a smart watch. The question is, are you going to buy one and will Apple sell these like hot cakes? My verdict to those two questions, maybe and yes.

Do I need to know all the time a new text has come in, a new email? Me? No. That is a short leash. I can go the whole day not turning my iPhone on. But others might have a different take. The maps, the photos, the all sorts of stuff this smart watch does is very cool. It does do one thing, make that two. 1) It just destroyed all the other smart watches out there. They are toast. This watch has also sucked all the oxygen out of the room for the fitness dongles, Fitbit etc.. Dead dongles walking.

So you come home, take your phone out and put it on a charger. Now you have a watch that needs charging too, maybe every night. It has a slick easy charge interface. It would be nice if Apple did the same thing to the phone and their laptops. A string of silver medallions to link all the things need charging. Might have to wait until version 2.0 before I dive in. Battery life is going to be a problem.

But what else did Apple announce? Big new iPhones. Gonna get me one of those, maybe even the aircraft carrier to make Joey happy. Apple also is boosting the iOS (phone operating system) to 8. I have been beta testing Apple’s Yosemite (new MacBook OS) and it is going to be kick ass linked to an iOS 8 phone.

Anything else? Oh yeah, maybe the biggest thing. The mobile payment system. OK, Android had NFC but Apple will make it work. Imagine not dealing with cashiers ever again. That seems ridiculous. But remember before ATMs when you had to wait for a bank teller at least once a week? When they first came out some people thought ATMs were silly and unsafe. You might have been one of them. Same with this.

[edit] Here is the best article I have found that explains the details of Pay. I had to read it through twice to get the simple reasons why it is going to kick butt. No more money, no more credit cards, no more wallet. Just your iPhone or your Watch, a fingerprint ID and you bought it.

RUBBER DUCK ARMY ASSEMBLING ON THE ISLAND in a secret location. Homie is on sentry duty.


88 Rubber Duck sisters form the Rubber Duck Army. We have a Navy. We have NERF guns. We know this island like the back of our rubber wing. You cannot hide. Because the secret to our success? We have way too much time on our hands. FREE RUBBER DUCK! FREE RUBBER DUCK!

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