Turn your iPhone into a microscope

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The image above, the all seeing eye from the US Dollar bill was taken with the iPhone, although any camera phone will work. By placing a drop of water on the lens and carefully flipping it, you create a macro lens on the cheap. With better lighting and a steadier hand, a much better shot could be had.

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This is not original, something I came across on the web.

Hilton Head, o beautiful muddy island.

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Hilton Head is in the news this time of year because of the golf tournament on the Harbour Town course with the iconic light house on the 18th green. It made the news yesterday because an alligator interfered with play -the golfer unfortunately didn’t take the free drop being ignorant of Hilton Head and alligator rules.

The gators on Hilton Head are hogs -fat, mean, and not shy. All the courses have gator rules as well as poisonous snake rules, and the smart golfer takes the free drop. Hilton Head is not the place where you let your toddlers roam free or they might end up free lunch. It’s only a few steps from being a malarial swamp, but it’s blessed with a strange lack of flying vermin. Few mosquitos is very nice, but the island has hedge fund managers infesting the palmettos like velociraptors clad in Tommy Hilfiger. New Yorkers it has in spades like bed bugs on a transient’s hairy knee. It’s Aspen on the tidewater, the Hamptons unburdened by its Long Island umbilical to Manhattan, a New Yorker’s semitropical Hong Kong on the South Carolina/Georgia sea coast. Hilton Head, like Boca Raton, Austin, and Charlotte, is in the South but not of it.

Hilton Head’s isolation proffers it automatic business class status compared to the economy class experience of jitney creeping to the Hamptons on a Friday evening, but really it takes about the same amount of time to get to either place from midtown. Once you arrive, you will notice that Hilton Head is culturally indistinguishable from 78th and Lexington. Sunday mornings, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Harbor Town and Southhampton as you hunt and gather for coffee, bagels, and the New York Times.

The sea air is a hint saltier off Montauk and Southampton. The terroir of Hilton Head is a twee riper with more ferment of low tide than is available in Long Island. The aborigines on both islands have been pushed out -on Hilton Head, the once Gullah speaking inhabitants and their white confreres commute from the mainland, unable to afford their island and its taxes. In the Hamptons, the aborigines are long gone, and the more recent inhabitants, the establishment WASP -an endangered species, survives by intermarrying with the new money like the English did with the Normans, only the invading hordes today sport last names like Cohen, Freeman, Chen, and O’Hanlon (the ethnic stereotypes, not the law firm).

When you see Harbour Town on the TV, you think about some kind of tradition, a deep south Cape Cod, but it’s all a pleasant sham. Look hard as you want for the humble shacks out of Conrack -they’re buried beneath the rusticated mini mall around Publix. You might even think the Harbour Town course is super exclusive like Augusta, but au contraire, you just need enough bank. The irony of the Masters getting annually harangued for their peculiar institutions is in the fact that Shinnecock out on Long Island, while no less exclusive and hidebound, gets off the hook because the USGA moves the target around like a 3 card Monte dealer. While it is unlikely that I will get to play on either Augusta or Shinnecock in this life, I can swing Harbour Town once every few years. That is great.

And I’ll finish with this. The Ayn Rand/Gordon Gekko creed of “Greed is good” does work in America because we lack the education and sophistication to dedicate ourselves to political ideals more sophisticated than “less taxes, less government, more God,” but once you get there, once you have arrived, after all the striving and self improving which can take generations from broken English immigrant green grocers to graduate school educated doctors and lawyers, to pretensions to establishment, you are equally bound by the other great American rule voiced by Marx (Groucho, not Karl), “I would never join a club that would have me as its member.” We’re happy to be on Hilton Head, but we know there is something better. Specifically, it’s a helicopter ride to Fisher’s Island.

Atlas Kvetches: Advice for a Friend Newly Married in Middle Age

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Expert Advice

  1. Don’t go introducing your first wife as your “first wife.” Very few people find that funny. Heh, heh.
  2. In general, the answer is “yes” unless it involves wearing man Uggs.
  3. You have two years to establish your habits and patterns, after which these become the boundary conditions of your confinement -if that includes getting a new Porsche lease every year or having an annual dinner with some close woman friend with whom you have a platonic but almost but not quite When Harry Met Sally kind of relationship, you have to set the pattern within the two year mark.
  4. Start work on your man cave for all the things that you love that she hates. That space will never be big enough.
  5. If you share bank accounts, you should put aside and maintain some cash inside an unused guitar for spur of the moment purchases like: 1. lap dances, 2. bribe to get out of Mexican jail, 3. over and under 12 gauge shotgun, 4. food for secret family, 5. escape
  6. Spontaneity worked in dating, but predictability keeps the marriage secure. Share your Outlook or iCloud calendar, broadcast your phone’s GPS, update your Facebook frequently or hire someone reliable to do these for you, paying out of the funds in #5
  7. Learn and appreciate the incognito mode on Google’s Chrome web browser. 
  8. Golf gives you 5-8 hours of quiet alone time. If she takes up golf, the other options include: 1. Iron Man training, 2. piano lessons, 3. trips to buy obscure companies that make obscure but needful things, 4. solo sailing, 5. extreme litigation, 6. closet with an inside lock, Lazy Boy, and iPad.
  9. Prepare for inevitable valleys of despair and peaks of reasonable happiness by collecting whiskies.
  10. Buy one of those clicker counters (those red plastic ones are best) to keep track of meaningful conversations. Remember you can only have 100 meaningful conversations with the wife before it all ends, and you don’t wan’t it to end so soon, so pace yourself. About one a year may sound crazy but goes a long way to keep the bonds tight. 
  11. All hires -personal secretaries, nannies, staff, should be younger versions of your wife, just to keep everyone on their toes. 
  12. Stop with the Q-tips -let the ear wax buildup and let hearing slip. Hearing is overrated, particularly in the married.