Eaglet Update

Alert…Alert…we interrupt your regularly scheduled posting to bring you and urgent update…wow…posts only 2 days apart which is sorta quick given our current dindunuffin status but we have news.

As you know…our local eagles Harriet and M15 laid 2 eggs back before Christmas of which one hatched and the second never did, but the eaglet that hatched died back in late January or early February as it broke a blood feather overnight somehow and bled out. The humans ‘round these parts figured that they were done for the year and Neil wondered every time he drove by the nest site why there were still people out taking pictures and watching the nest with no eaglets to see and the adult eagles rarely being seen when he went by.

Well…turns out that the eagles got it on again and Harriet laid another 2 eggs in late February…we didn’t know this until on the evening news 2 days ago there was a live report from our local NBC affiliate that Harriet and M15 had a new baby in the nest. We checked the eagle cam (google Fort Myers Eagle Cam or go to
Eagle Cam
 and sho’nuff…there was an itty bitty eaglet there along with another egg with a pip (crack where it is starting to hatch) on it.

We checked back this morning…we wuz up early to be able to reserve a pickup time at Wally World for vittles…and the first eaglet (E15) is now 2 days old with the second egg having a wing outside the shell as of yesterday afternoon just before sunset. I dunno whether that’s a good sign or not…sun hasn’t come up yet and the camera doesn’t have night vision…we’ll have to wait and see what happens…mebbe by the time Ima done with this missive there will be enough light for a live report.

Hmmmmm…oh yeah, Wally World pickup. Given the crowds in the store we figgered we would give the pickup thing a try. Essentially you go their website and select your home store…then search and add stuff to your cart. Searching for say black beans gives you a list of choices so you can pick the brand you like (we generally get Bush’s or Goya) and add the items to your cart. There’s some minor issues with the site…for instance searching for pork chops gives you assorted ham options and no other search term will get your basic pork chops as an option…but whatever. Once you get your cart full you can reserve a pickup time…the options are restricted to today and tomorrow with new slots being released “every morning” whatever that means…and when we filled our cart yesterday evening there were no slots available. Since we are up by about 0600 anyway most days albeit usually we’re still dozing in our recliners, praying, twittering, or doing various other highly important web browsing for whatever…we went online and lo and behold there were slots available for pretty much anytime Friday. We selected 1000-1100, added a couple more items to our cart that we figured out after we wuz done yesterday, and checked out. Got an email with our order listed and we’ll get another one tomorrow when it’s ready. Once we receive that you check in with their Grocery App and show up to pick up your stuff. 

There are options to either allow substitutions or not…this allows the shopper to give you a different brand or whatever if a particular item is out of stock. You can either allow the substitutions globally when you order or disallow them for particular items. You’ll always pay the price for what you ordered even if a substitute is more expensive, they apparently tell you at pickup what they substituted, and you can reject any you don’t want. Sounds good…but the proof is in the puddin’ as they say…we’ll have to see how things turn out tomorrow and I will let y’all know.

After our pickup…we’ll update our grocery list on our phones…and then run by the Winn Dixie to get anything that Wally was out of as well as run into the likker store and get some more hootch…with no outside social activities we just have Happy Hour at Connor O’Laubenthals Pub here on Long Pond Road.

Speaking of grocery lists…if ya’ll are still using that ole pencil and paper thingy to keep track of it…ya gotta move into the digital age. If you check out the App Store on your platform of choice…there are a multitude of both free and paid apps that will do this for ya…but after trying a whole bunch of the free ones and determining that…well, they suck…Neil figgered out the optimum solution and I will tellya what it is so you don’t have to redo his research. Anylist is what you want…it’s available on both iPhones and Macs as well as SOB (some other brand) and on the web. Anylist is free and lets ya make up any number of different lists…we got Groceries and Home Depot. It lets you sort by department, remembers previous items ya put on there so you can type Bl and it will offer black beans, and includes a basic list of items so’s you can type in sumtin’ ya never bought before…Brussel Sprouts for instance and I can pretty much guarantee that has never appeared on our list…and by the time ya get Bruss typed in it offers ‘em up.

Now obviously the Anylist folks gotta make some scratch somehow…so’s what they do is this. If’n ya just want to use it say on your phone…then it costs ya nothin’, nada, zilch, zippo, absolutely no cash outa your pocket into theirs. However…if ya pay em the outrageous sum of like 7 bucks a year with one of dem “in app purchases”…then it will synchronize to however many things ya want. We got it syncing to both our iPads, both our iPhones, both our ‘puters, and the web so anything we pickup has our current grocery list on it and we can add sometin’ to it from pretty much anyplace…and poof, Shazam it practically instantaneously shows up on the other places. We tend to separate sometimes in da store to minimize wasted time and walkin’ round and if Connie is over in say the laundry aisle and pics up bleach or whatevers…she double taps it on her phone and it either gets a red line through it or disappears if you have “unchecked items only visible” selected on her iPhone…and if Neil is over in say da produce are gettin’ limes for cocktails at Happy Hour den bleach or whatevers disappears off’n his list too. Pretty darn slick if’n ya ask me…but Neil tells me it ain’t magic, just the miracles of digital devices with cloud synchronization in da internet age.

Connie’s been keeping up her dead people research…also known as genealogy on ancestry.com and she keeps finding out all dis cool stuff ‘bout our ancestors. For instance…Neil is a direct descendent of Emperor Charlemagne…ya know, da dude that ruled most of Western Europe back in the late 700s and early 800s. Figgering 20odd years per generation…dat makes him something like Neil’s 60th great granddaddy. He’s also descended from the bastard son of some French nobleman back in the 1600s or 1700s. And then there’s Humphrey Bogart…although not a direct descendant there…she didn’t figger out the ‘xact relationship there but it’s something like the 18th cousin 6 times removed…or sumtin’ like that. I understand the cousin thing but the whole times removed, which has something to do with how many generations apart the cousin thing happens…well, that just don’t make a lick o’ sense to me…but then Ima bear and we don’t have ‘nuff brain cells to keep track of stuff like that. On her side…well, she’s unhappy that she ain’t found anybody famous yet…but she did find a couple of first cousins that got married…back that ain’t even legal nowadays but it ‘parently wuz back in the 1600s or whatever in Sweden. She also found out that her sainted mother was not 100% Swedish as she always thought but only 98.64% or sumtin’ like that cuz there was this lone Frenchman who moved to Sweden and seduced one of female ancestors.

Well…da sun be up now and I can see the nest on the eagle cam…but alls I can see is Harriet brooding the eaglet and egg…it’s only 60something degrees this AM…so no further report on the progress of hatchin’ for da second egg…Ima gonna have to let ya know ‘bout that next time I reckon.

In today’s Corona news…

Yep…only in the People’s Republic of Californiastan…this numbnuts train engineer yesterday deliberately derailed a train into the hospital ship USNS Mercy as it was docked in LA…ran da train at full speed off the end of the tracks, through some concrete barriers, through some chains (like that’s gonna stop a train, what wuz they thinkin’), crost a parking lot and slides to a stop 250 yards from the ship. He…Eduraro Moreno age 44…ran from the scene but wuz ‘rrested and taken to the big hoosegow fer questionin’…where it said that he dun did it all bys hisself cuz he wuz suspicious of the ship’s intentions and was sure it wuz a gummint takeover. He missed the ship but did spill a passle of diesel fuel all over da docks and into the harbor…but den dat water in the LA harbor ain’t very clean anyways. Send him off to da big house…or better yet just string the sum’bitch from the nearest light pole.

Wackaloons…the PRC is full of em.

One of our travel blogger buddies…Gary…well, he put up a post yesterday ‘bout 11 rarely visited National Parks in North America that ya could visit during the lockdown…but then with the lockdown nuttin is open and all of em require some various combination of boat, train, plane, ATV, and dogsled to get to…so Ima thinking that he didn’t quite think that idea through ‘fore he wrote ‘bout it. Dey would be good for social distancing once ya got there though…a couple of them had massive numbers of visitors in 2019 like 175.

Over in Texas way…there were these 70 Gen Z college student idiot morons who…after the lockdowns started ya know…chartered demselves a plane and flew down to Cabo for Spring Break ‘afore flying home. Yup…ya guessed it…28 of dem dumbasses now got da virus…but heck, dey ain’t skairt of nuttin’ since brain dead teenagers are immune to death ya know (and yes, I know they’re actually over the age of 21 and technically not teenagers anymore…but typically the brain dead teenager mental mindset extends to at least 25, mebbe even 30 in some cases).

Best Korea…ya know, da one ruled by Rocketman Kim…they report they dun got no corona…nope, none atall.

Speakin’ of dumbasses…Representative Jim Banks of Indiana has demanded that the State Department investigate the disappearance in China of 3 Chinese citizen “journalists” who were investigatin’ the origins and numbers of cases of the corona in Wuhan. Now mind ya…these are Chinese citizens and while they may (or may not but probably have) been disappeared by the Chinese gummint…they’re in China for crikey’s sake and we in the US ain’t got any jurisdiction over there so just what in the heck does dis idiot think we can do about it. Sure…if dey wuz disappeared dat would be a bad thing under our laws…but dem Chines jus’ don’t give a frick ‘bout our laws since we ain’t in charge of them.

Ms. Pelosi…well, she dun got herself a wundermous idea…at least she thinks so. As you may or may not know depending on how close you follow the tax laws and whether you are a resident of NY, CT, or CA…the tax law passed in 2017 limited the amount one can deduct form your federal 1040 for state and local taxes to $10,000…at the time those states screamed that the law was discriminating against them because their taxes were so high and the majority in the Congress said that your taxes are so high because you have so many bloated programs and the rest of the US should not subsidize your foolishness in tax policy. Anyway…that’s the law. So her…just ask her…brilliant idea is that this limit should be retroactively lifted to put “more money in worker’s pockets”. Unfortunately…there are more holes in this idea than a cheese grater…in the first place, it would only help those rich bastards that the Democrats love to hate on even through they already got theirs…in the second place it would only help blue far left leaning states who are the ones with the dumb tax policies…and in the third place if she thinks that this is anything but a partisan demand for liberal/socialist policies then she has gone even more senile than most Republicans think she already is. Even Business Insider…which is typically left of center but not wacko left of center…has said her idea won’t help those that actually need help but will benefit the rich…ya know, the people Democrats hate. She and Mr. Schumer are already demanding another stimulus bill to be passed and once again will try and pile all their partisan demands into it. Nothing wrong with partisan demands being placed into bills in normal times…both sides do it whenever and wherever they can…but these ain’t normal times and if you’re working on a virus stimulus bill then you pretty much lose all credibility if you try to pile a whole bunch of partisan demands that the other side doesn’t want and that have nothing to do with the virus into it…like funding for PBS, requirements for mandatory diversity on corporate boards, and more solar panel factories.

So the administration…they’ve got this new plan for regime change in Venezuela. In case you haven’t kept up with this…the Communist socialist dictator in charge Maduro keeps winning the elections…which his opposition says is because they keep rigging the elections. So …Guaidó…who is the head of the legislature and the head of the opposition…well, he appointed himself the real President of Venezuela back in 2019 under the legislature’s view of article 233 of their constitution. Based on my reading of that article…well, it depends on whether you’re on Maduro’s side or Guidaó’s side because the article says “when the president-elect is absolutely absent before taking office, a new election shall take place (…) And while the president is elected and takes office, the interim president shall be the president of the National Assembly”.

After Guaidó declared himself President, their Supreme Court declare Maduro President and the legislature null and void…both sides appealed to the UN which amazingly enough was deadlocked and did nothing…and countries around the world started taking sides. Those with democratic or non dictatorship governments say Guaidó…those with strongman governments say Maduro and there we sit with both sides down there taking pot shots at each other, the economy in a shambles, and the pro Guaidó countries implementing pretty severe economic sanctions which made the problems worse.

Then along comes corona…so the administration has proposed a new plan…but naturally this plan favors the side we like…funny how that happens. Under the plan…both Maduro and Guaidó will step down and an 5 person governing council will be formed. Four of these people will be appointed by the legislature (which is dominated by the opposition and Mr. Guaidó) and the 5th, who will be the head of the council will be appointed by the first 4. The council will rule the country until a new election for both the legislature and President is held…in such an election Mr. Guaidó may run but Mr. Maduro may not run…and the election must be monitored by “independent election monitors” who will be presumably appointed by either the US or countries who like the US are on Mr. Guaidó’s side.

Now while Mr. Maduro is a communist and socialist who has arguably bankrupted the country and enriched himself and his cronies according to everybody who’s not on Mr. Maduro’s side…but whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter…what matters is should the US and the rest of the world who doesn’t like Mr. Maduro be in charge of regime change in Venezuela…and at least from what I’ve read Mr. Guaidó ain’t really that much of a white knight either but as I said that’s neither here or there

Anyways…in support of this idea, the administration will lift all sanctions on the country as soon as the new governing council is in charge…never mind that most of the sanctions that affect medical or humanitarian relief have already been temporarily waived.

Yeah…sounds like a really fair deal to me. Me…I don’t give a hoot ‘bout Venezuela or their government…it ain’t our country and while they do have a dictator and a lousy economy…so do a number of other places in Asia, Africa, South America and elsewhere and worldwide regime change ain’t covered in the US of A’s job requirements. Yeah…we’re the only superpower left and there’s some validity in saying that we need to be the official world police but until the rest of the world agrees with that idea I’m not sure how strongly we should take that job.

Last week in Texas…at a Sam’s Club of all places…an Asian-American family was attacked and 3 members were wounded including a 2 year old by a 19 year old nutcase who thought they were Chinese and were spreading the virus…it only took authorities 2 weeks after his confession as to why he did it to classify it as a hate crime. And no…before you think it…it wasn’t a white nationalist. Guy’s name is Jose L. Gomez. And no…again…before you think it was an illegal immigrant…no information regarding his citizenship was given so he could either be a natural born citizen with a Spanish name, a legal immigrant, a citizen who was a legal immigrant, or an illegal.

From the “HoAs will be HoAs” department…up in Jacksonville a couple whose husband works for the DoD and the wife is a nurse at the local hospital…she’s been working from home triaging calls and managing patients but because of staff illnesses will soon have to go into the hospital to work. They have a special needs daughter in the house and she might become infected at the hospital…so they moved their RV from storage to their driveway to pre-stage it as an isolation location should that happen. Now most HoA rules prohibit putting an RV in your driveway since they deem it to be a nuisance…and there’s no problem with that…but one would think that HoA management would use their noggins (yeah, like that’s gonna happen)…and talk to the owner. But no…after a couple of days the Magnolia Point HoA…no relation to our Magnolia Landing HoA…without talking to the couple…taped a note to it saying to remove it immediately or else they would get fined $1,000. The owners tried to talk to the HoA president who…according to the article at Newsweek.com…refused to negotiate with her. Newsweek reports that they reached out to the HoA president but she did not respond back in time for publication. Now I’m all for HoA rules…well, actually I’m not because they’re frequently stupid but they are the rules and if you move into a community with an HoA you’re bound by the deed to follow the rules…and really, the owners should probably have reached out to the HoA to get approval ahead of time…but then we’ve reached out to our HoA folks and they are mostly not very responsive at the best of times and even less so now that they’re short staffed and working from home…but once contacted one would think that the HoA just might see their way clear to be reasonable…but that’s about as likely as them using their noggins.

Yeah…dumbasses all the way ‘round the world…but then as Neil is fond of saying…”People are stupid”…he also says that they’re buttholes too…actually he says that first.

Looks like the lockdown will extend through April and May at this point… 

In good news though…hopefully it will become a trend…Shenzhen China has become the first city in the country to ban the sale or consumption of dogs or house cats.

Still no report on the second eagle egg hatching…and while the sun is well up now the camera just shows Harriet brooding on the nest with neither E15 or the egg visible.

Interesting things found on the net.

T-shirts you might need.

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My fave of these…and it’s not even close.

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Cyas.

Posted in Homebody | Leave a comment

Like Sands Through The Hourglass

These are the days of our social isolation…at least that’s what the old soap opera introduction said.

Yes…we’re officially bored. Not so bored that we’re going to go out and be amongst people…not that there’s anyplace to go anyway…but the confirmed cases of the corona in FL are increasing and although we are relatively low so far in Lee County and North Fort Myers specifically it’s only going to get worse.

The President has extended the federal recommendation through April 30…and my guess is that it will be longer than that before things get back to whatever the new normal becomes…at this point I would not be surprised if the college and NFL seasons in the fall don’t take place. I also think the downward trend in the markets will continue…and while that’s not good, at least our monthly expenses are covered by our pensions and Connie’s social security check so we’ll just continue to be the long term investors we have always been and eventually things will turn around.

I continue to be amazed at the levels of TDS…or Trump Derangement Syndrome…that both the media and almost all Democrats are displaying. While I realize that our two parties have different agendas and think different things are important…and under the Obama administration there were some, maybe even many, Republicans that talked trash about the former President…there were also many Republicans that tried to work with the other side and that tried to give the President the respect and deference that the office deserved despite their not being happy about the current occupant.

The media and Democrats have been belittling the President since the day after the election in 2016…and demanding his impeachment since before he was even inaugurated. There have also been countless scare articles with headlines like “Will Trump cancel the 2020 election”…and “Will he have to be removed from the White House by force” and other similar claptrap.

The President says…and rightly so although he should really be a little more Presidential and not complain about such minor things…that everything the media and Democrats are doing is a “hoax”…and they’re looking for something else to impeach him over.

It seems different now…and especially in the current situation which many are likening to a wartime scenario. Back in the day…it was “my country, right or wrong” and while we might have wrangled during the election season once the election was over the losing side accepted it and got on with the business of running the country, making deals with the other side so that both sides got some of what they wanted, and you were allowed to say nice things about the other side. I remember Joe Biden…back in the Dark Ages of the late 90s to early 00s…saying that he admired some Republican senators and even named them. I remember both Republicans and Democrats in the House, Senate, and administrations of both parties trying to mend fences, largely stayed away from demonization of the other side, and trying to keep politics out of things to the maximum extent possible.

No more though…

Just looking at today’s news…

  • In “The 360”, there’s an article about why so many Americans do not vote. The headlined quotes all talk about voter suppression by the Republicans like this is a proven, widespread fact; how many Americans can’t get to the polling place and recommend same day registration, mail in voting, and other solutions which increase the ease with which non citizens can vote, and the like. There’s nothing balanced in the article.
  • There’s an article on Yahoo with the headline “Pelosi says Trump’s downplaying of the corona has cost American lives. No respect for the office, no actual facts, just political diatribe.
  • There is an opinion piece by John Oliver…a comedian for goodness sake, not anybody actually knowledgeable about anything…but a comedian with a liberal bent and a large social audience which somehow makes him worth reading…he says that “despite Trump’s claims (again, not the lack of respect) this is not the Hunger Games”.
  • Another article…this one from the BBC…says that Dr. Fauci says “Millions of Americans could be infected and 100,000 to 200,000 will die. While the headline is accurate…he did say that could happen but in the article itself there is reference to these being the outer bounds of the estimates and that the current actions we are taking should reduce the actual numbers. What he tried to do was bound the outer limits of the problem but the headline seeks to inflame panic by quoting the outer limits as his actual prediction
  • Hours after the President signed the $2 trillion corona relief bill…the governor of NY was already complaining that it didn’t do enough for his state…the ink wasn’t even dry on it when he and Pelosi demanded another even larger bill. Republicans who think that we should wait a bit and see how this 50% increase in federal spending this year works before saddling up generations to come with an even larger debt burden.
  • Speaking of the relief bill…Republicans and the President are being condemned in the media and by Democrats because it “bails out huge corporations at the expense of the working people”. However…loans to business to allow them to…you know, remain in business and not go bankrupt…well, who do those morons think produces the vast majority of jobs in both the US and the world in general. While we can and should take care of workers…and the bill does some of that…making sure that they have jobs to eventually return to and trying to blunt the effect on the economy as much as possible seems like a good idea to me.
  • And just to show I’m an equal opportunity stupidity basher…several churches out in the fly over states refused to halt services saying God would protect them…and then a bunch of folks tested positive. Yes…God will help you if you ask him…but sometimes you have to accept the help he sends you…LIKE A RECOMMENDATION TO CANCEL SERVICES TO KEEP INFECTED PEOPLE AWAY FROM CROWDS OF NON INFECTED PEOPLE THEY CAN INFECT.

I’m really getting tired of this bullshit…I have to tellya. I’m tired of reading articles about how the President “botched the response to the corona” when some of the policies that led to our so far less than perfect federal response were laid down during previous administrations.

Personally…I think the President should consider strongly a national lockdown to prevent travel and whatever else is needed to flatten the curve that the medical community talks about…but if he did, the same folks that are blaming him for incompetence and failure to do anything would be screaming from the rooftops that he had appointed himself President For Life.e

OK, enough of that…what are we really doing.

Not much.

We did get the second half of the broken hutch/china cabinet picked up by UPS today for return to Amazon so we’ll get that $1033 back and Connie picked out another one she likes almost as much from Rooms to Go online that we’ll see about ordering.

We have enough TP to last at least another 10 weeks or so…hopefully the supply chain will get back in gear and it will be available on store shelves by then. If not…we saved a couple hundred sheets of the 2 by 2 foot wrapping paper that some of our boxes in storage had stuff wrapped and cushioned in for emergency supplies.

We got food and booze and there will be enough food in the stores to keep us from starving. Last time we went out…Winn Dixie had pretty much everything we needed although the TP, paper towel, and sanitizer shelves were empty. Walmart has online ordering which according to some of Neil’s blogging buddies works pretty well so you just drive up and pick up your order…maybe we’ll try that. In reality though…we would run out of produce in probably another week and a half but we have plenty of noodles, pasta, rice, and enough so that we could probably go a month or 6 weeks without a grocery run if we had to…but at this point whether that will become necessary is up in then air somewhat. My guess is that the social distancing will help and we should start to see the infection curve turn flat and then down within the next 3-4 weeks.

That’s my story…and Ima sticking to it.

Neil did get a few photos since last time.

This is a Great Egret…identified by the black legs and yellow beak. Very similar to a Great White Heron but a different bird though.

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Some sort of lizard on our tree trunk…this is a male as evidence by the red pouch he expands under his neck.

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Fishing.

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But mostly he just stood there.

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Scratching his itch.

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And his side which revealed his mating plumage a bit.

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This is Lagatha…the smaller of our two gators in the pond out back. About 5 to 6 feet compared to Ragnar’s 7-8…but I’m guessing on both the size as we didn’t go down and measure em and the sex is completely unknown…the only way to tell the sex of a gator is an internal exam of the reproductive tract.

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Interesting things found on the net.

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New word.

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This is an island on the tallest of 3 rocks about 6 miles off the coast of Iceland…notice the lighthouse on top. The lighthouse was built in 1939…well before the invention of the helicopter. Notice also the rock is about 120 feet high, has sheer sides, does not have any paths up the side, and doesn’t appear to have any place a boat can dock. Now ask yourself…(a) how the heck did they get the building materials up to the top since a floating crane would be bashed to pieces on the rock and isn’t tall enough anyway…and then how  do they get supplies and people out to the lighthouse. I have no idea…any more than I have about how the French built the lighthouse off the coast of Brittany in the second picture. The second one is only about 300 yards offshore so perhaps they built a temporary rock structure to provide dockage and crane footings…but the first one is 6 miles offshore and having spent many a week out in the North Atlantic Neil can tellya that it’s rarely calm out there…even on a calm day swells of 8 or 10 feet are pretty normal…and this is Iceland which is in the North Atlantic and based on his experience the seas in the photo are about as calm as it gets. I suppose given the amount of white water between the rocks that it might be shallow enough there for a temporary rock docking/crane area to have been constructed…and Connie thinks that once they got somebody to the top a hoist system could have been used instead of a crane although it would take many more lifts to get the job done. The third photo shows a wider view of the rocks…and according to the an old interview of the project director back in the 30s they carved a road out of the side of the rock.The lighthouse is named Þrídrangaviti…hey, it’s Icelandic so I don’t know what that first letter is and have no idea how to pronounce but I did see it anglicized as Thridrangar so mebbe that’s it…it has it’s own Facebook page…I’ve looked at all the photos there and I don’t see any signs of a road or even a spot where you could have built a road although down the right side in the first photo graph starting just at the helicopter pad there is a kinda/sorta/mebbe flattish are leading down and to the right/rear that could be the road remains, and given the arrangement of the 3 islets in the third photo that’s really the only feasible place to get a ship/barge with building supplies near enough to unload. I would fly out to visit it though…despite my figuring I’ve taken enough chances getting into a helicopter already.

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Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | 2 Comments

Home Alone

Yeah…we’re here home alone socially distancing ourselves and I gotta tell ya it ain’t a whole passle o’ fun…nope, not at all.

The good news is that the weather is nice and warm, we got plenty of food and booze, Amazon is still delivering, and we still have more boxes to unpack. The bad news is that we’re getting kinda bored with doing nuttin’ and depressed with the news.

We ordered a china buffet and hutch for our stemware and good china from Amazon the other day…it was the one Connie liked best and was supposed to be delivered April 21…it was coming all the way from Atlanta ya know. Well…it arrived today…we unpacked the top hutch portion after looking at the damage to the shipping boxes, and discovered about 8 cracks in the wood…looks like it got smashed or fell over or something on the way from Malaysia to here. Neil filled out an Amazon return/refund page, repacked the top into the shipping box, and UPS will be here tomorrow to pick it up. She found another one she likes…although not quite as well…at Rooms To Go so we’ll order that one instead.

So…let’s see what the headlines have today…sorry it’s mostly political and/or virus related but apparently if you get elected as a congress critter or if you’re either in the media or a talking head you’re required to have a lobotomy and completely ignore any actual facts in order to support your political position or assign blame for the whole corona and the associated economic issues thing.

I rewrote this from what I originally said…as you know we’re not strong supporters of the President but (a) we did think he was better than the alternative, (b) he’s not doing as bad as his opponents say or as great as his supporters say, and (c) he did win. He might not be the best spoken President we’ve ever had…but then again that depends on which side of the political spectrum you’re on.

The President has sort of been back and forth on how serious he is taking this…at least according to the media…but to a large extent he is doing what one expects the President to do…trying to maintain calm, ensure the people that we’ll get through it, and letting to a large extent the medical establishment do their thing.

His latest suggestion…that we end the social distancing thing and get back to business by Easter…well, we can’t really do it that soon but he is correct when he says that we can’t make the cure worse than the disease and refers to the numbers of folks that die each year by flu, auto accidents, and several other causes of deaths as compared to the numbers of corona related deaths. Yeah…I know it’s not quite the same since auto accidents aren’t contagious but as a nation it is a fact that we so far have had limited numbers of deaths compared to other causes and the impact on the economy and markets due to everything being closed is significant. Will the economy eventually recover. Sure…but it will take awhile. Will some people die from the corona…sure they will but we simply don’t know how many that will be and we have no idea how many folks have been infected and recovered.

The President is getting blamed for the limited number of tests being done…and in reality that blame is not deserved. There have been fewer tests in the US than South Korea for instance…but that is a result of the CDC and FDA decisions on how to test for this virus. Those organizations are led by what Connie calls Ivory Tower Elitists who are believe that good enough is not actually good enough when better is available. So…instead of developing a simpler, faster, easier to conduct for this virus they developed a very precise DNA analysis test that simply takes longer and can only be performed by a limited number of laboratories due to the limited number of clean rooms and sophisticated instruments that are required. There isn’t anything wrong with that approach on the surface…but in this case maybe better is the enemy of good enough when good enough is much quicker. All that is water under the bridge though…and the decision on what test to develop did not come from the White House…it came from the doctors that run the CDC and FDA.

In any event…wide testing would not really help as much as the media hype would have you believe. One could easily have a negative result even if one had been infected yesterday as the test would not be accurate that quickly…or one could be negative and then get infected on the way home when one went into Starbucks. What a wider number of tests would likely show is that the virus has been more widespread than the number of cases currently being reported…but would show great numbers of people who have antibodies but who had either minor or minimal symptoms…or perhaps no symptoms at all as has been the case in some “positive” results. What these numbers would do is decrease the “death rate” from the virus as that number is determined by dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases…and if you make the denominator smaller the percentage goes down.

I think that what the President is trying to do is get us to not over react to the issue. Yes…it is contagious and…Yes, it is serious. However…it is also not the zombie apocalypse and we’re not all going to die.

Should we get everything back to normal by Easter…surely not and I can’t help but wonder if he is trying to just move us forward and tell us we’ll get through this but doing it in his normal blustery way.

Nope though…according to the media…it’s all his fault and I saw a NY Times article this morning with some scary looking charts. These charts show that if we have social distancing for 2 weeks and then stop the total number of infections will be 128 million…with an appropriate scale to make the peak tall and skinny looking. Then the side by side chart shows what will happen with 2 months of social distancing…only 14 million total infections. It looks scary…but there are no actual facts behind these charts. The Times “created this interactive model with epidemiologists”…but given the Times unfailing opposition to the President and blaming him for everything since his election…it’s not hard to believe that they picked “experts” who agree with them.

Their charts aren’t wrong…they’re just one possible outcome based on a particular set of assumptions made by an unknown set of experts that just might possibly be designed to get the conclusion the Times wants and produce those scary graphs. It is also possible that they are 100% correct…but given the political divisions in the US in the 2020s and the hatred for the President that liberals and most of the media have I don’t believe the Times has a pure and honest motivation here.

Our friends in the media…on both sides…are likewise stupid.  Each of them is slanting their coverage…including their facts…to support their political leanings.

Congress…they’re not any better. The Senate wrote a recovery bill…and since the House Democrats wrote the last one the Senate Republicans wrote this one. Nothing wrong with that in my view…but to hear the Democrats talk this is an abomination of the first magnitude. However…most of what the Senate wrote was actually related to the virus crisis…and the Senate Democrats had some valid objections…for instance they wanted the loans to business to have limitations to prevent using the funds for stock buybacks, bonuses, or other things that benefited the corporation and stockholders at the expense of workers. Mr. McConnell added these during negotiations…which rightfully he said.

Then Ms. Pelosi got irritated…and she came back to town and almost torpedoed the Senate negotiations when she had her caucus write a House Democrat plan…which reads like the progressive wish list. Green New Deal, mandatory same day voter registration, mandatory diversity requirements on corporate boards and executives, money for PBS, money for Planned Parenthood…their list went on and on. As President Bartlett on “The West Wing” used to say…they didn’t want to let a good crisis go to waste but instead wanted to load up this must pass bill with pork and far left demands…and then when the Senate rightfully refused to go along with all of the non virus related expenses it would be the fault of Republicans…at least that is what Democrats and most media would have proclaimed.

Talk about trying to politicize a must pass bill. I understand that the progressives have a wish list…just like the conservatives have one that includes 2nd amendment rights, protection of the border, and cutting back on illegal immigration…which the other side prefers to call “undocumented” and ignore the fact that they are in fact in violation of the law. I also understand that neither side likes the other side’s wish list…but then I also understand that both sides have some valid concerns on many of those issues. 

Unfortunately…I also understand that neither side is really interested in compromise, doing their job, and moving the country forward. It’s much more important to belittle the other side, spout inflammatory rhetoric about the leadership on the other side…and let’s not forget it’s all the President’s fault.

Shouldn’t the corona virus bill…um…address the corona crisis and not be blatantly politicized to try an end run to get crazy demands passed?

 

On to the election…it is starting to look like Bernie the Socialist…who at least admits that his plan will result in vastly increased taxes on everybody…has peaked out and won’t be the nominee…if he was the President would win reelection in a landslide comparable to Dukakis in 80whatever it was because the folks between center-right and center left…which is at least half of the total voting population I think simply won’t vote for what he wants.

Mr. Biden is now evaluating his choices for VP and has stated he will choose a woman. Immediately the calls went out demanding a “woman of color” be the choice…regardless of competence…the failed Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams appears to be the consensus there despite having no real experience and given Mr. Biden’s age he need a VP who is ready to govern on day 1. Me…I think  that he would get a lot of votes if he chose Condoleezza Rice…she’s a woman of color, is reasonably centrist so would help him pull in center voters…but (a) she’s too smart to accept, (b) she has a good job already, and (c) since she’s a Republican Mr. Biden would be crucified by his party…particularly the far left part…even though her selection would demonstrate a willingness to compromise with the other side. She’s far more qualified than Ms. Abrams is though…and since historically candidates run to the fringes during the primary and back to the middle in the general election…she would be a decent choice IMO. Heck…back in the days of the 1700s there was not a VP on the ticket…just the two Presidential nominees and several losing nominees were asked to serve as VP by the winner…something to think about maybe. But…nah…common sense appears to be mighty uncommon these days.

I saw several articles today claiming that Ms. Warren is the “obvious” choice…but she’s not for the same reasons that Bernie was not the correct choice…way too far left to get elected just like the way too far right candidates failed to get the nomination in 2016.

I don’t know what Mr. Biden will do…I’m not on his list of advisors…but I hope he resists the demands of the far left and stays away from the wacko crowd.

Connie and Neil will have to evaluate his positions as he gets closer to the general…and also the prospects for single party control of the government before deciding what to do. Me…I think it would be dangerous for either side to have both the Presidency and control of both houses in Congress…there’s way too much room for political novices to do things that appear good for their party in the short term but are both bad for the party in the long term (removal of filibusters by the Democrats for judge nominees for example) and bad for the country as well. The US remains a primarily center-right country but the vast center geographic portion of the country is essentially ignored by at one party since CA and NY are the only states that really matter ya know…what they think and say should just go since they clearly know better than those rubes in Iowa what the country needs.

A few shots we got since last week.

This is the worst of the 6 or 7 cracks in the top hutch portion of the “going back to Amazon” china cabinet.If it had just been one or two…even the worst ones would have been pretty easy to fix with a little wood glue but there were just too many. After we thought about it…we figured that whatever other one Amazon shipped us to replace this one would have been in the same container on the same ship and gone through the same shipping issues…and while it would likely have different damage we figured it would be pretty similar overall…hence the return/refund. Rooms To Go will unpack it while they are delivering it and we’ll be able to reject the delivery if it is broken a lot easier.

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Double Crested Cormorants…these are juveniles as evidenced by the white breast an orange throat…adults are pure black and the males have 2 crests that give them their name.

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It was really, really calm one morning so Neil got a couple of reflection shots of our pond from our neighbors back yard. First one is pretty much straight out of the camera and the second one got the HDR treatment to punch up the color, sky, and contrast.

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OK…let’s get on to interesting things found on the net…some virus related and some not.

Where did the man-bun come from?

ManBunBeginnings

Green New Deal capital punishment.

GreenElectrocution

Most dangerous mammal on the planet.

MostDangerousMammal

TomHanks

People are stupid…and it ain’t just Americans…stupidity knows no borders.

PeopleAreStupid

 

This was taken last fall at a climate change protest in Paris where women threw their clothes in the air…stupid photographer I think.

StupidPhotographer

PanicRoom

Quarenteens

QuarantinePoker

CarGuysCovid19

Iowa Bathroom Tissue

QuanantineKnitting

SheSeemsNice

ReadyToStandUp

And my personal fave today.

NewsGlasses

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | Leave a comment

Gettin’ Closer

We’re getting closer to being completely moved in…having made pretty good progress last week…not percentage wise but actual work wise.

After arriving back home a week ago Monday…we spent Tuesday unloading the truck and returned it Wednesday. Thursday we had designs of cleaning the rig but Connie didn’t feel well with a headache so we blew that off and instead mounted our sound bar on the wall over the TV and finished hooking up all our devices, neat nicking up the cables and unpacking pictures…they’re not hung yet but we did get them all unpacked.

Friday we made it over to the rig and spent most of the day doing a deep clean for sale and making sure that we have everything out of it except the stuff that will go with the rig. We also talked to the office at Seminole about shifting to a storage vice living site…Kaitlyn will get back to us this week after she talks to Bryan to get the details.

We continued to get a bunch of headaches over the weekend…then this morning just before we went over to vote we figured out why…somehow the bag of coffee we been drinking since Tuesday after we got back is unleaded…and no caffeine means headaches ya know. Neil solved that by mixing the last 1/3 of a bag with another high test bag so that problem is solved. After we voted…Connie headed out to get nails done…I did this post, Neil dragged in a few boxes to unload the kitchen stuff this afternoon, and he’ll do our ad on rvtrader.com to get the rig and Big Red on the market.

Saturday last we headed out to the Elk Lodge for the St. Paddy’s Day bbq dinner…it was pretty tasty although we came home early with headaches as that was before we discovered the coffee mistake. Sunday we went to Mass…very sparsely attended due to the corona and because the bishop waived the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday for the duration of the crisis.

Speaking of the corona…we’re well situated. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, food, disinfectant wipes are all on hand…we made a run to Costco and Walmart yesterday to get meat as that was pretty much out so we needed more anyway. Choir practice has been suspended until further notice…and with the latest guidance to avoid groups and not eat out or go to bars we’ll pretty much be homebodies for awhile I guess. Connie is watching carefully and as long as there is no community spread in this area we’ll continue to visit the Elks Lodge for Happy Hour and events…unless they give up and shut down as well and only until there is more in this area. So far…Lee County only has a few cases and all were either folks who traveled to the seriously affected regions or family members or other people who had close contact with them.

I keep seeing more and more panic inciting headlines…this morning there was an article that said 2 million people would die in the US. When you actually read the article…it said that if one assumed the most pessimistic value for all variables and that nobody observed the social distancing recommended that there could be up to that many deaths…but the article in no way suggested that as an actual estimate, just as an upper bound for why we need to be cautious. I’m not saying that this is a non event…it certainly is not…but it’s not as bad as the media would have you believe…and the number of deaths is far below the number of people that die every flu season anyway. Most of what you read on the web is either from people who don’t know what they’re talking about or is designed to get clicks and thereby increase ad revenue for the site. We see death percentages that are likely far higher than the actual number will be because the fatality ratio is the number of deaths divided by the number of cases…and we have no idea what the denominator of that fraction is because so few people have been tested. Despite what you read in the news…it is not the President’s fault that there has been only limited testing so far…the reason for limited testing is that…(Connie could explain this better but she’s not here)…it’s a complicated test that requires a clean room, takes 24-48 hours for the lab to complete the test, and there are very few labs in the country that have the facilities to perform these tests. Testing developed by other countries uses less precise but faster testing techniques which explains the number of tests done in South Korea for example compared to the US…it is not because the President has directed that the tests be hoarded or any of the other horror stories you read on the news. While our response has not been perfect…in reality Public Health is a state issue to handle until the President issues an executive order and takes it over. I’m sure he is hesitant to do that…because his political opponents…yeah, the same ones that are convinced he will refuse to leave office if he loses reelection…will scream that he has appointed himself President for Life if he does that. They’re already accusing him of racism because he called it a Chinese virus…despite the fact that it most definitely originated in China just like SARS and MERS did…China has a culture of open air live markets where animals are displayed live, you pick the one you want, and they slaughter it for you and hand it to you. This particular virus apparently transferred to humans from bats via pangolins (an armadillo like mammal)…both are sold and slaughtered in these markets in unknown but dubious sanitary conditions with no regulation. But apparently…the President is racist for calling a spade a spade and saying the truth. He’s certainly not done everything right…but it’s neither the complete disaster that Bernie and his ilk are spouting or the best-est ever pandemic response that he says it is.

So folks…be smart, wash your hands, don’t go buy up all the toilet paper in sight…and things will be just fine. Some people will get this virus…and even some of them will die…but people die from the flu every winter already and we don’t panic about those illnesses nearly this bad. Corona is not good…but it’s not quite the coronapocalypse either.

A few images we gots this week…

A new visitor…a Tricolor or Louisiana Heron, supposedly common but mainly in Louisiana I guess, they’re a pretty uncommon sight in southern FL.

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You can see the small yellowish breeding plumage at the back of the head…making this a male.

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Ragnar in his usual spot…we also spotted a second smaller gator in the pond as well this week.

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Great Blue Heron…or GBH as we call ‘em.

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The Snowy Egret was over on our side as well one morning…sorry about the soft focus on this one but it was right outside our lanai so Neil had to take the shot through the screen…with breeding plumage on the back of his head.

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Interesting things found on the net.

Ya know…birds are mostly feathers. This one illustrates it…the one on the right is what you see perched on the branch and the left side shows the actual body of this Great Grey Owl.

GreatGreyOwl

Appropriate for corona.

AppreciateWhatYouHave

YungNoMo

 

YardSaleNearYou

 

HaveAnOpinion

CellPhones

Explanation of the cycle of life.

CycleOfLife

CommonSense

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, Medical, RV | Leave a comment

Back home

Another short post to keep everybody up tp date.

We departed Midlothian VA yesterday about 0615 from the hotel…turns out that the Midlothian Super 8 is…about the cheapest option in the area…the closest hotel to the human kids house…actually a pretty decent hotel..and has the most comfortable hotel bed we’ve slept on in quite awhile. It’s a winner.

We stopped by the Golden Arches and got coffee and a couple of breakfast sandwichs and then took Courthouse Road south to VA-288 East to I-95 south. We stopped twice for gas, once for for a pee break, and once where we had a lunch of leftover steak from Fireside Grill where we took the kids Saturday after loading the U-haul, and arrived 640 miles later in Starke FL about 50 miles down US-301 from Jacksonville.

Oh yeah…the loading…we met at the storage unit about 1030 on Saturday and loaded our stuff then Bryan’s stuff into the truck…it was full and we were done about noon. We didn’t have space for the dump run so Bryan called a friend who came over with his pickup and we loaded it with thr trash. Eight bucks for the dump and another 15 to buy Joe and Sarah lunch and our unit was done. We drove over to Meeting Gate Court, unloaded the kid’s stuff, and screwed off until dinner…when we went to the Fireside Grill for dinner.

Anyways…in Starke we stopped and picked up dinner from Pizza Hut, went to the Best Western, checked in, went to our room…and didn’t emerge until 0625 except for a trip to the ice machine for ice for cocktails.

We were early to bed, got up at the aforementioned 0625…well actually the alarm was 0530 but it was later when we got going…for coffee and breakfast at the hotel, and hit the road for the last 260 miles to home. It was an easy run…there was an overturned cement truck around the Tampa area on I-75 with a 17 mile backup… but fortunately it was in the northbound lanes and we were headed sough…so just a 15 minute or so delay due to rubberneckers. Once past that…clear driving and we got to Long Pond Road just before noon. We parked the U-haul in the drive, picked up Big Red, stopped at the Golden Arches for a cheeseburger, and headed 10 miles to the airport to pick up Li’l Red from long term parking.

We got back home, parked Big Red down at the clubhouse, spent an hour partially unloading the truck, and rested.

Our friend Jeff is coming over in the AM to help Neil unload the heavy stuff.

Neil made chicken thigh curry for dinner…and we will be in bed early tonight.

Cyas.

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Quick Update on Our Trip

Just a quick update on our trip to Richmond VA. We had an uneventful but bumpy ride to Richmond via Dulles airport in DC on Wednesday. Thursday we sorted out the storage unit in about 3 hours…much quicker than we expected. Friday we picked up our U-Haul truck…what an adventure that was that I will ‘splain later. Tomorrow ( Saturday) Bryanand Jen will help us pack the truck and we will head out at zero dark thirty Sunday AM. We will overnight in GA or near Jacksonville FL and arrive back to Long Pond Road Monday. Our friend Jeff…well, Connie’s friend first truth be known but mine now as well…is coming over Tuesday to help unload and then we will have another bazillion boxes to unpack. Going better than we expected at this point overall. More later…too hard to post much via email.

Cyas.

Posted in Travel | 2 Comments

Makin’ Progress

Yeah…the title says it all. We been makin’ progress on the house but still have some to go…but we’re sort of in a hold pattern until we get the stuff from our storage unit up in VA. As I write this Monday morning…the spare bedroom still looks like a warehouse and the office looks a bit less like one…we’re waiting on our roll top desk to be able to finish the office and waiting on the bed for the spare bedroom until we get all the boxes from VA unpacked.

We’ve had a busy 10 days in the house though…working some every day to get things organized and the master, kitchen, and living room are pretty much done although there will be some minor changes when we get the storage unit stuff. We’ve also headed out to the Elks a couple of times, ate broasted chicken at Steve’s Place one night…and grilled on the lanai a bit.

The past couple of days it’s been a bit cool…lows in the 40s and 50s and highs in the low 70s but starting tomorrow weather will be more normal with low 60s and high 70s to low 80s. On the other hand…we are heading out early Wednesday morning to catch our flight to Richmond via Dulles in the DC area…weather up there for our visit will be lows in the high 30s to mid 40s and highs in the 50s…but it’s not supposed to snow while we are there so that’s good. After arriving on Wednesday…we’ll spend Thursday and Friday sorting out the storage unit to see if there was anything termite damaged besides the table we already know we lost and piling things to be tossed out to one side. Saturday morning…we’ll take Bryan’s stuff over to his house and then load ours…although we may load it all at once and put his near the door if we decide the truck is enough for that…and once his stuff is dropped off we’ll have pizza with our loading crew, say our “until next times to the kids and Alex”. Sunday morning we’ll start the trek home in the U-haul truck…it’s about 900 miles straight down I-95 to Jax then down US-301 to I-75 in Ocala then to home. We’ll take our usual bypass route around the Jax beltway to miss the traffic there and the construction on the short portion of I-10 we would have been on…we’ll overnight somewhere between Savannah and Brunswick GA before continuing on home on Monday. Tuesday morning will be truck unload day…our friend Jeff is going to come over and help with the stuff Connie can’t lift easily…we’ll unload all the boxes into the garage and spare bedroom warehouse and put the heavy stuff (all furniture) in place where it needs to be.

Yesterday after Mass…Connie went out on the lanai to sit in the sun for a few minutes as she was cold and it was warmer outside than in…and just as quickly called for Neil to come out with the camera as we had a visitor in the pond besides Ragnar. Sure enough…he popped out and discovered a male Snowy Egret with his mating plumage about half grown out hunting lunch out there. He snuck out the side door, setup his tripod and grabbed a few…well, 200…photos of the critter. I’ve sorted ‘em down for ya so there are only 14 below. I coulda cut it down a bit more…but Snowy’s are such beautiful birds, especially when it is mating season…so I didn’t do that.

He spotted Ragnar near out side of the pond before he focused in on the Snowy.

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Looking at his rear end and the back of his head…you can see the mating plumage…composed of really wispy light feathers rather than the normal flight feathers like the wings have or the body feathers.

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This one shows why this bird is also known as Golden Slippers…the brightly colored feet are actually the normal feeding mechanism. Slight aside here…how come some long legged wading birds are called herons and some are egrets…and what’s the difference. They are both members of the same biological family but are basically divided into the two based on several characteristics. Egrets are primarily white, have much greater amounts of mating plumage than herons, and the name egret is derived from the French word aigrette which means plumage feathers as these feathers are used for hat decorations. Egrets also fly with their neck extended whereas a heron retracts it. Herons are also generally larger and more colorful. Anyways…back to Snowy feeding mechanism. Most wading birds are what one would call ambush predators. They stand very still in the water and move slowly around by lifting one leg free or almost free of the water when moving it then putting it straight down to the bottom…essentially waiting on their prey to come to them then striking downwards to grab it. Snowy egrets use a completely different mechanism normally. They shuffle their golden feet along the bottom string up prey from the bottom and/or using the brightly colored feet to attract their prey (thinking it is something for the prey to eat). They then strike down and grab the prey. This one however…seemed to have a different mechanism than we’ve seen before…rather than the slow walk it mostly flew 8 or 10 feet to pounce on top of something. It must have done that a dozen times while we watched it.

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From the above shot…it went about 10 feet and landed then almost immediately came back to the original location. You can get a good sense of the 24 inch or so height and 5-6 foot wingspan in both of these shots.

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Ah…gotta scratch that itch…which gives another great show of the breeding plumage.

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A short flight series ending in head underwater grabbing whatever it was he was catching…it was swallowed too quickly to get any idea of what it was.

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Followed almost immediately by another back to the right.

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All in all…a pretty decently spent 20 minutes or so.

On to interesting stuff found on the net.

I thought the detail in this was pretty incredible for a marble sculpture…carved 19 inch bust of the veiled Virgin Mary by Giovanni Strazza in the 1850s. Pretty amazing detail in the folds of the veil and how it slightly obscures the face…and he did all this with a hammer and chisel.

Strazza VeiledVirgin

NotSureWhoThisIs

PeeOnTheFence

MedicineSideEffect

Seniors will appreciate this one.

WhyAmIHere

ItsABeer

OldCarGuySentToNursingHome

And married men will appreciate these two.

UsedAgainstYou

Celibacy

And let’s not leave out the married women.

MenAndBabies

Don’t ferget…Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend.

StonehengeDST

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, Nature | 2 Comments