Morning birds

September 29, 2009

Out the door this morning, I almost tripped over one of our Song Sparrows scurrying across in front of the porch steps as I was going down.  Like a mouse with feathers.  Then, as I rounded the corner, I noticed a ball of starlings jinking about 100 feet up, and got to see one of our local Sharpshins make 2 attacks; both unfortunately unsuccessful.  A good start to the day.  That, and the coffee I’m sucking down right now.


Classic movie

September 23, 2009

We finally got around to watching the recent BBC Pride and Prejudice series/movie (taking a break from the usual male-bonding bang-bang fare as well as from the TV-from-our-youth fare for my wife and self).  Excellent!   The cast was uniformly fine, with some real stand-outs:  Mrs. Bennet was particularly good, as was Mary Bennet; I really enjoyed Lady Catherine and Mr. Bennet, and the leads were all as good as one could wish.  The true star of the show, though, and the person who put his stamp on the role the way Alastair Sim gave Scrooge his identity, was David Bamber as Mr. Collins.  I don’t see how he could be improved on.  His cringing, obsequious humility would make Uriah Heep purse his lips in disapproving distaste, while he gave off the sort of underlying nastiness that makes one think of Silence of the Lambs.  Now I’m going to have to rent Rome, in which Mr. Bamber played the role of Cicero – I can’t wait to see what he does with such a pivotal role; hopefully something quite different from Mr. Collins, anyway!

Some days I feel like a Birther..

September 15, 2009

I mean, it seems quite obvious that what I believe is correct, and yet nobody will address it!  So, here’s the deal.  For 70 years, one of the primary goals of one wing of the Republican Party has been to destroy the New Deal, root and branch.  Most of that work has by now been done, but there still remains that foul Frankenstein’s monster – Social Security.  Additionally, there is now the terrible Bride of the Monster:  Medicare.  That wing of the GOP is now the only wing of the GOP, and has been pretty much in control since the days of the sainted Reagan.   The institutionalized strategy is that which Grover Norquist has become the latest driver of: bankrupt the government by cutting taxes and hiking military spending until the horrid social programs become simply too expensive to maintain, after which a capitalist Utopia will emerge from the ashes.  This is, I believe, why BushI was so reviled – he broke from the established ideological orthodoxy and set back the emergence of Heaven on Earth by raising taxes.  His son, however, led by the hand by the disciples of the great Republican Warriors of old, managed to come close to the Final Solution, but alas, the victory was snatched from their hands by this upstart image of everything they fear, Barack Hussein Terrorist Traitor Obama (that, of course, is why he hasn’t released his real birth certificate: not only will it expose his real birthplace (Deepest Africa) but it will also show his real middle names).  Now, not only will their  victory be delayed, but there is a movement to actually add to those Frankenstein’s Monsters the Wolfman of “Health Care Reform” which also threatens to interfere with profit-making, that backbone of the corporate state.  This obviously cannot be taken lying down, which is why the gullible foot soldiers have been mobilized to shriek random mouth-frothings in an effort to scare the media and Congress into doing what they’ve been already bribed to do – kill it in infancy.

It’s funny (not in a ha-ha sort of way, naturally) that I have this sort of discussion moderately frequently with people in my circle of acquaintances of all political stripes.  Invariably they argue a position that boils down to “you must be wrong because you can’t be right!”  Me, I just look to see if the results of the political actions of the past decades support or refute my assertion.  So far, I’m ahead on points.  Not that that means anything – in a contest between belief and facts, humans invariably prefer belief.  Some days I can actually feel a hint of a shade of what poor Cassandra felt.

And the Fall keeps falling

September 10, 2009

So, the first dead warbler of the fall under the newly-completed glass-walled building.   A Yellowthroat, appropriately enough.  Somebody must have done some sort of approximation of migration deaths per square footage of glass on these big urban buildings.  I have no idea how much  of a toll we’re talking about (like deaths per windmill on the ridgelines).

In better news, we now have a real orb-web again on the house under the porch light – some sort of Neoscona it looks like; I’ll try to get a better look tonight, as she just turned up sometime last night.  There was a time we had a half-dozen or more all around the house on windows and at the lights.  Two years running we had one of the really big Neosconas spin a web between the roof and the ground.  Not for years now; about the time that the butterflies all left us.  Cause/effect or similar responses to the same cause or what?  Hard to say.

Unexpected Lessons

September 4, 2009

Our last outing on Sunday, we saw a little ecological experiment the area naturalist had put up – it was a deer exclosure about 4’X5’X5′ to show how much the over-deering of the area was damaging the local vegetation.  Turns out it was a great display, although I doubt many people actually look at it much.  Everywhere around it as far as you could see was clear, open scrubby woodland with scattered bluberry/huckleberry bushes and odd plant debris.  The exclosure, though, was packed with a moderately dense growth of vegetation – it was quite striking!  It was only when I got closer that I realized that about 2/3 or more of that lush growth was made up of Poison Ivy and Bittersweet.  “Go, Deer!”  is my response.  Maybe after a few years it will be a better display, presuming that more desirable plants start to recover within its protection.