Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What's A Bear To Do

First Tigger ...

Now, Piglet too.

The hundred-acre wood grows quiet.

, John.

I always liked John and just saw him the beginning of this month in the PBS series Character Studies. That episode was about Ruth, the wife in Raisin in the Sun. Fiedler played the unfortunate (in the 1989 version of the film) sent to negotiate with Walter in an effort to keep the family out of a white community by purchasing their new home from them before they make the move. In his anxiety, John sweated divinely.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Aerial acrobatics. A blur in a rapid ascent of more than 100 feet, an instantaneous reciprocal dive ... pyhew ... pyhew. Spectacular mating display or territorial defense? Damned if I know but the activity around the hummingbird feeders is getting interesting.

There are, by my count, three little 'guys' now. I use 'guys' in the most generic sense (as in "you guys better knock it off back there - don't make me stop this car"). In all likelihood, given the difficulty we're having identifying them (even with two fieldbooks and the internet at our disposal), all three are females. At this point we surmise two Black-chinned and one Caliope but as they're all still quite skittish (hence no pics) it's really difficult to get a good look at their wings and tails to help with the identification. Hopefully they'll begin to relax at some point.

It's been about four weeks since I saw one fruitlessly attempting to extract nectar from one of the rose bushes outside my office window. When we first moved here six summers ago, I put out feeders but they yielded nothing. Encouraged by my sighting, Mr. CJ and I put three feeders out as well as planting columbine, delphinium and bee balm in an effort to attract them. One within the first week, a second after about 10 days and by the third week one more and gosh are these 'guys' voracious feeders but I guess if we were running marathons at the clip of a 60-yard dash we would be as well.

The only instance in which one of the hummingbirds appeared unconcerned with our presence was last Saturday evening when we brought the feeders in for their cleaning and replenishing. One hummer let Mr. CJ know that 'he' had not been finished feeding for the night as it buzzed round and round the lone string, then Mr. CJ's head and back again. We quickly replaced the feeders and he hit it one more time before heading off for the night.

The '2-second delay' on my digital just won't do for getting shots of these guys. I may have to resort to buying film and using my 'real' camera - I will post photos before summer's end.

Well, here's a pic of our first Delphinium to tide you over:

T - I - double Geh - eR

The wonderful thing about Tigger, was that Tigger was a wonderful thing.

'night, Paul.

[cross-posted at Nitpicker]

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hard to Tell

It's one of those morning's when it's difficult to tell if the Alzhemer's has kicked in or if it's just that the caffeine hasn't.

Sunday Morning Eye Candy

The work of Silvia Ganora.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Well, I've changed the template and have it looking just about how I would like it and the bonus is that this particular template is not afflicted by the latest blogger bug that's going around. So, just ignore the last post about the formatting issue, as it is no longer (an issue, that is). I'm sure changing the appearance of a blog is trivial for many but not for this just-slightly- web-literate fool. Well, I'm done playing for now.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Fuck 'em

See here for explanation of WTF is wrong with the formatting now.

Update: Irrelevant for this blog as template was changed.

Friday Nature Blogging: Cows in the Field Edition

"Are You Talkin' to Me?"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

If All Else Fails ...

Put on your tin foil hat.

In the last throes of the insurgency...

rebels refine their bomb skills.
Insurgents have long been able to build bombs powerful enough to penetrate some armored vehicles. But the use of "shaped" charges could raise the threat considerably, military officials said. Since last month, at least three such bombs have been found, Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon briefing this month.

The shaped charge explosion fires a projectile "at a very rapid rate, sufficient to penetrate certain levels of armor," General Conway said, adding that weapons employing shaped charges had caused American casualties in the last two months. He did not give details.

A Pentagon official involved in combating the devices said shaped charges seen so far appeared crude but required considerable expertise, suggesting insurgents were able to draw on well-trained bomb-makers, possibly even rocket scientists from the former government. Shaped charges and rocket engines are similar, the official said.

Infrared detonators are an advance over the more common method of rigging bombs to explode after an insurgent nearby presses a button on a cell phone, a garage-door opener or other device that gives off an electric signal. That approach is vulnerable to jammers, however, and a shift to infrared detonators, which rely on light waves, underscores the insurgents' resourcefulness.[Synaptic Sync emphasis]
Throes. Last. Indeed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

We've Seen That Movie Too

The former Chilean military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, is recovering in hospital after fainting over breakfast, doctors say.

They said the 89-year-old was "stable" and would remain in Santiago's military hospital for observation.

Gen Pinochet's family said earlier he had suffered a stroke, but it is not clear how serious the problem was.

The Chilean's Appeal Court was to begin considering on Wednesday whether to strip him of his legal immunity.

If this happens, he could be prosecuted over a secret operation in which more than 100 left-wing activists disappeared.

... Gen Pinochet's opponents have previously questioned the timing of his bouts of ill-health, saying they usually coincide with imminent court appearances. [Synaptic Sync emphasis]
Remind you of anyone? I'm sure ol' Augusto's hoping he can beat it too.

Rose-colored Memories

Indeed. Toles rules.

The Real DaVinci Code?

ROME - "Cerca, trova" — seek and you shall find — says a tantalizing five-century-old message painted on a fresco in the council hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.

Researchers now believe these cryptic words could be a clue to the location of a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting and are pressing local authorities to allow them to search for the masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Maurizio Seracini, an Italian art researcher, first noticed the message during a survey of the hall 30 years ago, but his team lacked the technology then to see what lay behind Giorgio Vasari's 16th-century fresco, "Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley."

However, radar and X-ray scans conducted between 2002 and 2003 have detected a cavity behind the section of wall the message was painted on, which Seracini believes may conceal Leonardo's unfinished mural painting, the "Battle of Anghiari."

Critically Acclaimed

Imagine a school curriculum that includes the development of critical thinking skills. Maybe we wouldn't be in Kansas anymore.

Southern Justice

It only took 41 years but then everything in the laid back south kinda runs on its own timetable. But from yesterday's report of a jury locked at 6:6, this is a pretty rapid turnaround:
An 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was convicted of manslaughter Tuesday in the slayings of three civil rights workers exactly 41 years ago in a notorious case that inspired the movie "Mississippi Burning."

The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the verdict on their second day of deliberations, rejecting murder charges against Edgar Ray Killen but also turning aside defense claims that he wasn't involved at all.
But a widow of one of the victim's makes the most important acknowledgment:
Schwerner's widow, Rita Schwerner Bender, praised the verdict, calling it "a day of great importance to all of us." But she said others also should be held responsible for the slayings.

"Preacher Killen didn't act in a vacuum," Bender said. "The state of Mississippi was complicit in these crimes and all the crimes that occurred, and that has to be opened up."
Substitute Pfc. England for Preacher Killen and United States for Mississippi -the more things change ... Well, at least it didn't take 41 years for the convictions that did result from the Abu Ghraib travesty.

Time For Recess

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced Tuesday that he won't schedule another vote on John R. Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador and said the next move in the three-month battle over the outspoken conservative is up to President Bush.
Translated, I guess that means we're in for another recess appointment.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Watch For My Signal

Mr. CJ and I went and saw Batman begins at the local Imax theatre yesterday. It was pretty entertaining and I thought Christian Bale and Liam Neeson were very good in their roles. But if they were really going for a serious tone they could have left Katie Holmes at home with Mr. Scientology. We both agreed that IMAX really didn't do much for this particular film though we weren't quite sure how much was the IMAX experience vs the technique they used for filming the fight sequences. The clarity wasn't great, which I think was deliberate for the scenes in which Bale was Batman but it was also the case in earlier scenes during Wayne's learning phase and we both thought that perhaps IMAX brought you a little too close in those scenes. All in all not bad; I'd give it 3 1/2 stars (5 scale).

A Father's Day Gift To Be Remembered

My father passed away when our second daughter (who's now 22) was a little more than six weeks old and while he always had some type of job in the 18 years that I lived at home (he was a dare-devil car driver for several years but that pre-dated me), I recall him talking about he and his friends working for the WPA. I know, like social security, another lousy Roosevelt New Deal idea. Anyway, go read Robyn's disageement with Hallmark on the best way to commemorate Father's Day and then, celebrate your dad.

Quick Quip

So, if they manage to repeal the 22nd Amendment, who do you think Poppy would vote for in 2008? His embarrassing genetic offspring or his new found Kennebunkport pal? My money's on their new buddy.

On a related note, I find it interesting that everyone is so surprised by this friendship. Think about it. Clinton likely held information (Iran Contra) that could have removed the halo from Saint Ronnie and if not sent Poppy away, at least had him impeached - Poppy's gotta love this guy.

And Clinton? Well, he either (foolishly) thought that his actions would buy him some good will with the Republican congress or it didn't much matter to him. Clinton is a consumate politician. That's his greatest asset (as well as the greatest liability for those he represented).

First, last and always, he's a whore. Being accepted in that elite boys club means more to him than anything he did, or could have, accomplished for this country.

Sunday Morning Eye Candy


[via Thomas O'Neil Photos]

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Spring Renewal

Yes, I know Spring is nearly gone and Summer is nigh but the pics and this post are from April (I told you I'd been thinking about the move for awhile).

Out hiking from one week to the next, more and more color develops -kind of like watching images emerge from the paper in the darkroom.

And while this is about as ...

green as it gets Posted by Hello

where I usually hike, that isn't to say it's without color. Here are a few splashes from my trek the other weekend. It took me considerably longer to 'identify' what it was that I was admiring than it did to take the pics.

While I have 'clearer' shots of parsley, I like this one because it hints of the wind's invitation. No come-hither seduction this wind, more like - "Yo -you comin' or what?" As Pooh might say - it was a blustery day.

Lomatium triternatum

Stumped him. Mr. CJ generally knows the identity of most plant life (often including genus -if not species and this especially holds true for trees) but he couldn't ID this shrub. As best as I can tell it's a Golden Currant but what do I know -any time you have something that places a 'wall' around its cells and has more than two sets of chromosomes, well, that's just ... someone else's purview. Whitescreek is one such someone else and has a wonderful essay that explains why trees don't walk around. [via skb]

Ribes aureum

Of course, Mr. CJ did know the parsley and this lovely Phlox.

Phlox diffusa

Bogus Basin (ski resort) closed for the second time this season though there is still some snow up there as you can see from this shot taken off our back balcony (hiking shots from the foothills below this).

I bring this up because while I'd like to say my Magnolias are in bloom, it would be correct to say they were almost in bloom. The spell of cold and snow (that allowed Bogus to re-open) reeked havoc on my poor Magnolias. This is our fourth spring with them and each year we get more blossoms. I was hoping this year was going to be a great one (the guy at the nursery told us the first 3 years here were the critical ones and that if they made it that far they'd really start to take off) but before they could peek out they were nipped in the bud so to speak.

In memorium of the anticipated beauty, I offer a pic of the very first blossom from our Magnolias. Interestingly, it appeared, by its lonesome, in the Fall of 2003 (the watercolor effect was added in Photoshop).

Since our Lindens have not yet leafed out (and I already mentioned the Magnolias), the responsibility for our backyard aesthetics falls squarely on the Pear tree. You can see it doesn't take that responsibility lightly.

In Search of a Partridge

As Good A Time As Any

Well, this morning started out as depressing and gloomy as my mood since last November third and while the clouds appear to be clearing from the surrounding skies I wish I could be as optimisitic about the forecast for America's future.

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time now, since before I read this post by Paradox over at The Left Coaster and that, as you can see, was written over two months ago.

Back yet? As someone pointed out in the comments of that post (and I'm paraphrasing from memory), that if you've only now lost your 'faith' in America - you're a little late to the game (or young I thought) -the commenter stopped believing in America during the 60's.

I guess that one could reconcile that we've had periods before in which anyone with a brain and or a conscience would not have been proud to call themselves Americans and yet we somehow muddled through, the tide changed and we came out on the other side, while not unscathed, at least somewhat morally intact as a nation and this is just another sad chapter in our history.

I suppose that's what those who continue to post on Downing Street Memos, corporate tycoon convictions, occasional Democratic challenges (Conley, Dean and Durbin as of late) and Bush's tanking poll numbers imagine. They reckon there will be a 'tipping point' at some time in the future in which these things will matter; maybe they even believe that members of the current administration will be held accountable for their actions in the future. I close my eyes and will that I could see this too - but I can't.

I can't because we've already moved on from the most permanently damaging events. Fraudulent elections. That's game, set and match, folks. Unless and until safeguards are put in place to guarantee that elections cannot be stolen as they were in 2000, 2002 and 2004 we're doomed and I don't see that (safeguards) happening.

Anyway, this is a very verbose way of saying that I haven't the stomach to blog politics in America anymore - I'll leave that to those with a stronger constitution than myself and 'thems' that still believe.

Those of you who recognize the decor here may be aware that since November of 2003, I blogged over here to keep things going for Terry who was deployed to Afghanistan. While attempting to post on Friday morning, I found that Blogger had evidently 'disappeared' the Nitpicker blog. This happened on one other occasion and the blog shortly re-appeared as suddenly as it had evaporated so I wasn't immediately concerned. However, it's been more than a day now without a voila moment and, other than the auto-reply, I haven't heard back from Blogger. Since, like this blog, it was a high-level, free blog - I suspect it's unlikely that they'll be able to retrieve a back-up by the time they get around to (if ever) attempting that feat. So, I guess that was the shove off the cliff that I evidently needed to move on.

I'll continue to see if I can't resurrect Nitpicker and try and keep it going for Terry - at the very least, if beyond resurrection, I'll start anew to reserve the blog name.

So, that about covers old, blue (albeit in a different sense) and borrowed so I guess it's on to new.

There's a self portrait in the upper right. It was taken quite a long time ago and I assure you that while I look nothing like that now, my chromosomal constitution remains intact (except for maybe some shorter telomeres). So, that truly is all of me, actually two of all of me if you count the intact white cell in the lower left in which the dense chromatin mass ( a second genome-equivalent) is visible. Go ahead, count 'em folks ... 46 in all their glory - can you say the same?

So, as the quote implies, this is one of my little diversions. If you're at all like me the diversion part is easy -it's the better return to thinking that I can't always seem to manage.

The blogroll is more than a tad shorter than at Nitpicker. This has nothing to do with the quality of the blogs listed there (that are not listed here) but has to do with the fact that I merely added to a roll that Terry already had going over there and, more to the point, that stomach ailment mentioned above. No doubt the list will grow but it may reflect a different tone and content than the mostly politically progressive list at my old digs.

Now on to that new start ...