Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Most contradictory of species, man alone creates sanctuaries for his victims."

Jacques Cousteau

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Electric Raccoon

We went to Lake Michigan yesterday and this was one of many raccons shooting lazer beams at us.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Justin sent this picture of yours truly (that's what I call me) and Robert. Thanks Justin.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006


This thing gets much better mileage than a car which makes me feel good about riding it. Of course the rides I took were rides I wouldn't have gotten in the car for, like doing circles in the driveway.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And Ruffed Grouse.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Birds I saw in Wisconsin this Weekend.

Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated green warbler, Ovenbird, Black-capped chickadee, Bald eagle, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Hairy woodpecker, White-breasted nuthatch, Red-breasted nuthatch, Red-breasted merganser, Hooded merganser, Chipping sparrow, White-throated sparrow, Red-bellied woodpecker, Common loon, Mallard, Double-crested cormorant, Starling, Brown thrasher, House wren, Yellow-rumped warbler, Gray catbird, Sandhill crane, Common grackle, Red-winged blackbird, robin, Crow, Raven, Hermit thrush, Blue jay, Cooper’s hawk, Red-ailed hawk, Eastern bluebird, Easter Kingbird, Belted kingfisher, Pileated woodpecker, Northern flicker, Chestnut-sided warbler, Great blue heron, Ring-billed gull, Canada goose, Song sparrow, American goldfinch.

Luke spotted the Eagles and Jen spotted the Pileated woodpecker.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Robert, my great friend, mentor, boss, and so much more, died Friday. To say he will be missed is not a strong enough statement. If I wrote pages about Robert and ended it with “He will be missed,” it would all feel like faint praise. This is not a situation where I am at a loss for words. The more I say, the more I want to say. I am just not sure what to say and what not to say. What I want people who read this to know is that I loved him. He was like a father and a son at the same time. This is a real loss.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jorgy and Taffy

Perhaps you are familiar with a man named Jorgy. Perhaps you are also familiar with a yellow dog named Taffy. If you are familiar with Jorgy than you know he died a few years ago: three? Four? And it was some years (two, three?) before his death that he was healthy enough to walk the roads and trails near Echo Lake. In those days when Jorgy was alive and walking, Taffy and I used to walk with him pretty regularly and Jorgy would praise and pet Taffy. But then he would tell me that Taffy was getting old and that I would have to be brave and put her down someday – someday in the not so distant future. He would go on about how putting Misty down was one of the hardest Goddamn things he had ever done. I would listen because he was the wise, old man of Echo Lake. I did not bother arguing that she was only five or six years old, etc. As of this writing, Taffy is still alive and healthy and Jorgy has been dead for something like thirty dog years. Jorgy was one of my favorite Lakers; right up there with you. I enjoyed listening to his stories of the Sierra Nevada in the 40s and 50s, and his advice on killing trout (do it quickly by breaking their necks.) But, six or seven years later, I am glad I have not yet taken Jorgy’s advice and killed my dog. Wow, that’s 49 dog years!
I just watched Gus, a dog, pull a plastic bag out of a waste basket, put it on the floor, and then pee on it. What a smart dog.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The last day of school

I was following this warbler down the street, trying to get a better look at him. I thought, "I wish I could pick it up to get a good look at him." So I walked over and picked him up. Upon closer examination I concluded it is an ovenbird.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Sheriff makes prisoners wear pink underwear and eat green bologna sandwiches. He also organized a posse to round up illegal immigrants. He has a cleaver interpretation of a law that, in his mind, allows for arresting illegal immigrants for smuggling themselves. Isn’t that like arresting runaways for kidnapping themselves?

Monday, May 08, 2006

I heard about a couple that was married in a cemetery. It sounded interesting but it also sounded like a bad idea. But, it turned out, I had misheard. The couple was buried in a cemetery. A better idea, but not that interesting.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I have a love/hate relationship with the world (not the Earth).
I love Flowers and I love fruit trees because they produce a lot of flowers. I love the flowers more than the fruit, which I also love.
I hate war. I think it is wrong. It is: barbaric, old fashioned, not necessary, unproductive, expensive (money and lives – lots of young lives), uncivilized, not pretty, hell, and bad for the environment.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Old Lady

Imagine, ten or twelve years after the civil war. I do not know what was happening in El Salvador in 1878 other than this woman's birth. It was year 1 of the Gilded Age here in the USA. The American Cereal Co. introduced Quaker Oats as the first mass-marketed breakfast food. This panorama of San Francisco was taken by E. Muybridge in 1878. Cruz Hernandez was 88 when I was born.
I ordered a dark chocolate frappe at Alterra on Lincoln Memorial drive on my way to Chicago. I pronounced it “frapp,” and the clerk corrected me saying, “Frapp-ay.” I am not sure why, but I decided to tell him that it is really pronounced, “Frapp.” This is what I said: “In the Northeast it is pronounced Frapp.” I wanted to tell him that the northeast is where frappes were invented but before I could he said, “Frapp-ay.” Part of me thought that perhaps there is a difference in the pronunciation because, in New England, frappe is a regional term for milk shake and the frappe I was buying was a blended ice coffee drink. But that part of me was very quiet, I almost didn’t even notice it. I just thought it more important to argue about pronunciation with some poor guy working in a cafe. In case you aren’t convinced of my pettiness yet, I checked the pronunciation on when I got home:
frappe (frap) (there is suposed to be a 'u' shaped symbol above the 'a' but I can't find one).
n. Rhode Island & Southeastern Massachusetts

See milk shake. See Regional Note at milk shake

I was right. Unfortunately, so was he. And he was even more right, because my pronunciation really only refers to a milk shake.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Year of the Beard


I took these pictures the day before my 30th birthday. I was driving through the Sacramento Valley with Toby (Placer High, class of ’84). The man in the photo gave us a talk about cockfighting and how it is illegal so he does not fight his (I think I detected a wink when he said it). Then he talked about how there are humane ways to fight chickens. He said someone has come up with little chicken boxing gloves with electronic sensors for keeping score.

Monday, May 01, 2006

White-throated Sparrow

For those of you keeping track, the White-throated sparrows (this one is named Robert McDonald) are back in Milwaukee. I did not hear any last week. When I left the house this morning I could hear them singing from every direction. In Canada, birdwatchers describe the song "Oh Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada" while American birdwatchers describe it as "Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody," or "Oh Sweet Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan."