7/16/2017 Richmond Shoreline

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:43 pm
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
Two hours at the shoreline in mid-July? Still pretty damned boring. Shorebird migration is supposed to be happening by now, but you wouldn't know it where I was. Could have have been the hour (noon is late for land birds) or the tide (bracketing low tide is bad planning, but see below), but while I saw a hundred or so willets moving about there were only small numbers of the other large shorebirds, a few dowitchers, and no smaller peeps. When the most surprising bird is a black-crowned night heron it is not an exciting day. Still, the large waders were out in force; aside from the night-heron there were a number of snowy egrets, two or maybe three great blue herons, and a great egret. Other fun sightings were as many as three black oystercatchers inside Richmond Harbor and six brown pelicans surface feeding just off shore. Pretty damned boring: )

Also saw a spectacular anise swallowtail.

Despite the lack of thrilling birds I can't regret getting out, only that it took me til noon Sunday to manage it, and so I went out at a crappy time because it was then or never. I know that if I don't get out by sunrise I'm probably not going anywhere that day because I've missed the crowd-free window. But it's looking like if I don't get out Friday I'm doomed to inactivity all weekend. Absolutely have to get myself out Friday morning.

7/12/2017 Volmer Peak & Seaview Trail

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:27 pm
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
I went out with DW for a few hours this morning. A beautiful day, getting hot in the later morning but most of Seaview Trail is covered by a breeze from off-shore that makes it comfortable. July and August are quiet as far as unusual migrants and the only birds still singing are year-round residents such as wrens, towhees, and juncos. At least we made the twelve-bird minimum: )

Most of our sightings were families, nestlings heard and fledglings seen everywhere, especially juncos and nuthatches. Also a surprising number of juvenile spotted towhees, which always confuse me.
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Yesterday, what was a dull and muggy July was enlivened for many of us by the news of David Brook's sandwich gaffe spreading across the internet as the twinkling points of fire spread from Eddystone to Berwick bounds.

Brook decided to write an Opinion for the NYT under the headline How We Are Ruining America . Surprisingly, this didn't mention fracking, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, electing Donald Trump, disbelieving in evolution and vaccination or deciding to take meetings with dodgy Russian lawyers promoted by even dodgier "music PR" people from Bury*. It didn't even touch on the US workplace culture as depicted in AAM, which goes more Hieronymous Bosch daily .

No: Brook has apparently just woken up and noticed:

Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.

No shit, Sherlock. "Middle Classes Have Sharp Elbows And A Propensity For Drawing Up The Ladder Behind Them: News At Eleven."

Anyway, it appears that Brook was flabbergasted to realise this (why did he think Emily Post's works were bestsellers from the 1920s onwards, and that Judith Martin took on her mantle as "Miss Manners"?) and penned an opinion piece, which included this immortal paragraph:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

The phrase "Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop" has a rare beauty. It's like "I flicked my thong at him in a small, subtle, flirtatious gesture."

Fascinatingly, Brook had no hesitation in attributing his friend's horror to her class-based unease at the concept of Italian words applied to food, rather than her flabbergasted horror that somewhere, even in NYC, had the cheek to charge that for a tomato sandwich. Nor does it occur to him to do a quick translation for the benefit of his friend, along the lines of "That one's salami, that one's salami with slightly bigger bits of fat in it, that one's tomato, and that one's the house special." "Which is?" "Salami with tomato."

Anyway, Twitter reacted as one might expected, and various other upper middle class New Yorkers leapt athletically (it's all that yoga and Pilates) to his defence. Among them, my own particular favourite was Megan McArdle who came out with the classic

Holy assumptions about your audience, Batman!

Anyway, class in America. It's all about the Italian ham, apparently.

*Anyone wanting to know anything about Rob Goldstone, ask the M.E.N., apparently.

ETA And talking about the M.E.N, I was led serendipitously to this oldie but goodie Shock of Salford's 'bus pass matador' after £500k cannabis farm is discovered in the loft of his woodland mansion . I particularly liked the summary at the bottom of the article (which was mainly about the need for a "root and branch" approach to cannabis farming):
Frank has been flourishing his cape in the ring for around 50 years and is set to compete in Mijas and Seville in the coming weeks, despite turning 70 in 2012.

He retired with a dodgy knee at the age of 65 and has undergone a quadruple heart bypass operation, but made an unlikely return in 2009.

As well as fighting under the name of El Ingles - The Englishman - Frank was a winger with Sale rugby union club for eight years.
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Brought to you by the revelation that (in their eagerness to prove that "Corbynistas"are the devil incarnate)

(1) the LibDems are falling back on Reds Under the Beds

Shinydan Howell‏ @shinydan 5h5 hours ago

It's suspected that British PM ('64-'70, '74-'76) Harold Wilson was a Soviet asset. link


(2)the Tories, of course, are going "Hur, hur, if Anne-Marie Morris had only been in Labour and said the "K" word instead of the "N" word she'd have been in the Shadow Cabinet by now" (except that the one I saw spelled the relevant alternative slur out in full.)

On the whole, I'm more pissed off with the LibDems, on the grounds that one expects nothing less of the Tories. But telling me my entire family (parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles) were either traitors or dupes really hurts. Especially since "It's suspected that" during the relevant decades one C.Smith MP was abusing kids in childrens' homes like blazes, and probably the key reason no-one stopped him was not so much that he knew where the bodies were buried, but that he knew where his party leader would have buried the body had he employed slightly more competent assassins.

I'd totally forgotten

Jul. 9th, 2017 05:36 pm
mrkinch: albatross soaring (Default)
[personal profile] mrkinch
The other day when I went to actually delete the lj I haven't use in a decade, it came to my attention that I own a community, [livejournal.com profile] tolkien100, and the last post is only two years ago! Amazing! Anyway, going back through my friends's page (which stops at 30? wtf?), there are no posts by personal journals save [livejournal.com profile] fileg. (I unfollowed anyone there that I follow here.) Wow. There were a lot more than that the last time I checked. I posted the announcement/query both to the comm and to my journal, but will anyone see it? Are folks monitoring lj even though they aren't posting? I'm offering the comm to anyone that wants it (after I import it and delete my posts from the original), but who even is there?

I'm giving it a month, then I'll do the thing, including moving that Sean icon over here. Yes!

7/9/2017 Inspiration Trail

Jul. 9th, 2017 10:43 am
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
Got to the parking lot 6:30 ish and it was back to blowing fog, for which I imagine Contra Costa County is extremely grateful. It wasn't too bad east of the ridge, and I walked past the first gate and down almost to the fork in the trail. Unfortunately there were cattle loitering about the junction and I didn't have the energy to deal with them twice, since the trail is not a loop. Quiet on the way north except for quail, with babies and sounding like robins, but by the time I was south of the power lines again the wind and fog had died away and the birds were out. Nearly all the species on today's very short list were active amongst the pines and poison oak along the sunny, sheltered east slope of the ridge. That very short list: )

So a good trail despite not being a loop: no bikes, no dogs, essentially no people, and it had been graded since June 30, so probably didn't need bug stuff. I met three people today, all women, all birders, two of whom I knew (they'd seen an owl and some MacGillivray's warblers, dang it). When I emerged a little after 9 am, the parking lot and beyond was filled with cars and there were people everywhere. I'm so glad to have an alternative trail for weekends. The cattle are bound to move around so I can go further another time.

The view to the north )
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
It was even hotter in the Inspiration Point parking lot at 6 am this morning than it was yesterday.* Then I chalked it up to a temperature inversion, but turns out it's just been bloody hot east of the ridge. A t-shirt would have been quite enough, but fifty years in the East Bay makes it next to impossible for me to go anywhere without a second layer, which I packed away in the first half mile.

I gave myself the goal of checking out the points at which EBMUD's Inspiration Trail/Fire Trail No 3 approaches Nimitz Way for possible access (sadly none) but it was so lovely early that I continued out to the top of EBMUD's Eagle's Nest Trail down to San Pablo Reservoir. The trail is steep to start and I didn't have the energy for that so I turned north along the fire trail for a quarter mile or so just to see. Again, no access to Nimitz Way further north but when I want something new, it's there. I gooped myself up pretty good this morning so I hope I don't regret the occasional long grass. Bird of the day was MacGillivray's warbler, three songs from a bird rather further than usual out the ridge at 1 mile. After those five days in the Sierra I'm quite confident of the ID.:) Summer birds: )

The return wasn't fun, especially once I hit one mile. It was warmer than I like, there were hordes of noisy people, and no birds, not that I could have heard them.

ETA:Sunrise )

*Yesterday I discovered I didn't have my license and chose to go home at once, knowing that I'd only get more anxious about driving and the traffic would be worse. I was still nearly creamed by a fucking truck, coming up Prospect to the narrow bit of Canyon Road, that should have stopped and waited for me to pass. Asshole.

DVD Commentary: Tiber Father Tiber

Jul. 8th, 2017 03:49 pm
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
DVD commentary for [personal profile] eileenlufkin on Tiber, Father Tiber

The title's from Macauley: When Horatius Kept The Bridge . I'm not sure why I chose it, apart from the general air of last-ditch heroism fits the wartime part of the Lopiverse.

The Lopiverse diverges significantly from HP canon, which was not closed at the time of writing. In the Lopiverse Draco and his mother joins the Allies after Narcissa (impliedly) murders Lucius, who has administered the "Death-in-Life" potion to Draco. My consistent head-canon is that Draco and Narcissa continue to be regarded with extreme suspicion by both sides thereafter, and that Draco is subject to considerable bullying during his time serving with the Allies, the effects of which are mitigated by Neville.

This is about someone expressly trying to bring down Draco, but also trying to drive a wedge between him and Neville (as a way of helping bring down Draco). Neville, though, has been a victim of bullying (frequently at Draco's hands, but, as he points out, far from exclusively) and it's given him a nose for when something smells off (notwithstanding his justifiable fury about being let down.)

Read more... )
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