Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home remodeling project. Where do things come from?

I am just finishing a home improvement project. We removed the old wallpaper from the upstairs hall. Then we painted and put in wainscoting. I noticed a web site on the railing and mop board, which is molded MDF. It is a product from Chile. Check out the Truchoice USA website here. Much of their wood is from radiata and loblolly plantations, for which Chile is famous. It's a nice product to work with. The wainscoting, by the way, was manufactured by Georgia Pacific, I assume in the USA. We are truly in a world market now. 

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas ornaments

Here are the latest fruits of my wife's crafting. Christmas ornaments! They look like something from Fabergee.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aerial Campus

Aerial Campus
Originally uploaded by University of Maine.

My alma mater, three times. The University of Maine on the Stillwater River in Orono, Maine.

Friday, December 17, 2010

BBC - Earth News - Poisoning drives vulture decline in Masai Mara, Kenya

BBC - Earth News - Poisoning drives vulture decline in Masai Mara, Kenya

It looks like these Kenyan vultures are not being poisoned on purpose, but accidentally as poisoned carcasses are left to eliminate predators. But the effect is the same. As the article points out, vultures are critical for the ecosystem.

When I lived in Burkina Faso we used to watch vultures circling the village. They flew incredibly high came down at the right time to feed. They always seemed to know what was going on. On days when the market was running they were especially numerous. It was cheap entertainment on a hot afternoon.

I hope the poisoning does stop so that the vultures can return to a normal number.

Monday, December 13, 2010

American Picker in PA

I'm watching American Picker, with the crew working their way through PA.  They are now at the Hotel Tidioute in Tidioute, PA. Tidioute is at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, near Titusville. It's cool to find the exact place on Google Maps!

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Watchung Reservation

Over Thanksgiving break I was visiting family near Summit New Jersey. After braving the Black Friday mobs for a few hours I took the opportunity to visit Watchung Reservation, a two-thousand acre park managed by Union County. Part of the park is crossed by Interstate 78.

The park has a mixture of hiking trails, horse riding trails, playgrounds, and other resources. In the late afternoon I hiked around Lake Surprise, a man-made narrow lake, about a mile long. Here are pictures of the lake, including the dam:

Follow this link for a tourist map of the park and other sources of information. I also made a map on Flickr of the lake site I visited.

From a natural resources management point of view it was fascinating to see some of the issues in this park. It gets very heavy use as it is completely surrounded by residential and commercial areas. I saw quite a few people enjoying the lake, even though it was a cold, cloudy day. There are a lot of wildlife resources. I saw swans, ducks, and canada geese in the lake. I know the area is full of deer, too.

I noticed that there are three wildlife crossings on Interstate 78 leading into the park. One of the sources I found mentioned the completion of 78 had been held up for a long time by the park until the State of New Jersey built these bridges. Apparently they haven't been successful. It does look odd seeing a forested bridge across the highway. 

I wondered, too how the park could be maintained in these difficult economic times. New Jersey is having more financial difficulties than other states. How can the county government find the resources to maintain the park. I hope they find a way to keep this important resource going.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hands or Hands-Like

My PhotoFriday challenge shot. This black walnut tree looks like a hand with the leaves gone.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chinese passenger jet C919 takes on Boeing and Airbus

I found these interesting pictures of a new Chinese commercial jet. It will be in the same class as the Boeing 737 and the equivalent Airbus. According to the article, most of the planes will be sold to Chinese airlines. I wonder if it will be sold in the US? I have flown on American, European, Dutch, Canadian, and Brazilian aircraft. It will be fun to ad Chinese to the list. The article said that many of the critical components are made by Western companies. I imagine that it won't be long until they are all Chinese made.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Along the Androscoggin River in the 1970's

The Androscoggin River Flows between Lewiston (Eastern Shore) and Auburn (Western Shore) ... 06/1973
I came across this fascinating collection of pictures of the Lewiston/Auburn Maine area going all the way to the source of the Androscoggin river in New Hampshire. The pictures were taken by Charles Steinhacker for the EPA. At this time, 1973, the struggle was on to clean up the river, which had endured almost a century of industrial and municipal waste. The pulp mills deposited all their waste directly into the river. The towns along the shore did the same. The smell of the river was legendary.
At this time the Clean Water Act had just been passed with high hopes. It would take many years, but the river would eventually be restored. I was a student at Lewiston High School at the and remember the time and the issues well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christian America and the Kingdom of God

It's not often that we get authors visiting at Mont Alto. Yesterday I attended the presentation of Richard T. Hughes, the author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God and a large number of other books on religious topics. Hughes is a professor at Messiah College.

The subject of the talk was how the religious right has misrepresented the true meaning of the Gospel in their effort to make the USA turn back to God and proclaim itself a Christian nation. Hughes showed that although the nation was founded with a strong Judeo-Christian influence, the founding fathers never intended to establish a state religion. They knew too well the problems that had caused in Europe. Instead, they wanted a secular society where all religions would be respected.

Hughes touched on periods where fundamentalist leaders had tried to convince the country to accept their point of view. In the second Great Awakening in the first part of the nineteenth century their message included the plea for social justice that brought about many social reforms and led to the emancipation movement. In the fundamentalist movement in the early twentieth century they ignored social justice entirely. And in the fundamentalist movement that began after the 1960's they reject all claims of social justice that are found in the Bible.

According to Hughes, these lies are causing great harm to our country and leading to the political polarization that we have today. I thought his argument made a lot of sense. The fact that he is a strong Christian himself makes his argument even stronger. He is fighting from within, so to speak. I am eager to read the whole book. I was glad to get an autographed copy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bridge on a Sunday

I made this picture on a Sunday morning with the sun in the tree's crown. I liked the effect.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

George Washington

While on a business trip last week I picked up the new George Washington biography by Ron Chernow. I had previously read his biography of John D. Rockefeller. I really enjoyed it! I have gotten as far as the end of the French and Indian War. The account of Washington as a young man has been very revealing. I didn’t realize that Washington was so ambitious. He never hesitated to grab the advantage. I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

John Lennon, numerology, and 10/10/10

This past Saturday was the seventieth anniversary of the birth of John Lennon. I heard a really fascinating interview on Weekend Edition Saturday with David Sheff, the journalist who interviewed John and Yoko for Playboy weeks before he was murdered. (I think I read that interview when it first came out.) Anyway, Sheff was a young man of 24 who had pursued the Lennons for months before they agreed to the interviewed. It seemed that his birthday was the ninth, the same as John's. This numerical connection convinced her the interview was a good idea.
Today is 10/10/2010, which is supposed to be a lucky day, and auspicious day according to numerology. I heard a numerologist interviewed on the BBC this morning. She described several other important connections in other cultures, where 10 is lucky. 
It's weird that people persist in looking for patterns of meaning in numbers. Yet, there is an infinite number of patterns in the numbers, any one of which could mean something, maybe the meaning of the universe.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Passage

I just finished The Passage, by Justin Cronin. I heard of the book while listening to the author being interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation. I was on my way to Walmart, which fortunately had one last copy of the book.

I really enjoyed the story. I enjoyed that the monsters, the vampires, were not totally evil. They were as much to be pitied as feared. Although the story is classified as horror and science fiction, it has very strong, well developed characters. Peter is the perfect reluctant hero. As the miracle girl Amy has enough mystery, yet she is real enough to be believable.

Some reviewers felt the book was too long. But I really enjoyed the length. The author took the time to develop the characters and the situation. It took time to show the life on the colony and then how it came unraveled.

The end was really exciting, not what I expected at all. It really made me think. It will be worth it to read this again in a few months to catch some of the clues I may have missed the first time.

My only disappointment is that the next volume won't be published until 2012.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

New Toy

I just learned about Shuttercal, which is a photo sharing site where you load one photo per day into a calendar. It's an intriguing idea. I still send most of my pictures to Flickr, but as far as I know they don't have a calendar format like this. Here is the lastest picture from the Shuttercal sharing tool.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

landscape timbers and wood products marketing

We have been working on this project to mark the edge of our driveway
with landscapte timbers. Just another course or two to go.

I went to Lowe's to get more timbers and found out they were on sale
at just under two dollars for pressure treated, eight foot timbers.
How can they even make any money selling at these prices? Is it meant
to be a loss leader? Or, is the goal to entice people into the store
and buy other things. Probably, they just have a lot of them to get
rid of. I just don't understand marketing.

These pictures were sent with Picasa, from Google.
Try it out here: http://picasa.google.com/

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BBC News - Woolly mammoth extinction 'not linked to humans'

BBC News - Woolly mammoth extinction 'not linked to humans'

I am of course familiar with the story that the mammoths were destroyed by ice-age hunters, who hunted them to extinction. It turns out that the warmup after the ice ages helped the spread of forests, which reduced the grazing for mammoths.

When you think about the old story, there are questions. Native Americans never hunted out the buffaloes or any other game animal they hunted. Why should their ancestors have done that?

As a forester, I always think of any increase in forest area as something to be desired. But it doesn't seem to be if you are a woolly mammoth!

heirloom tomatoes

This summer we planted some new variety of tomatoes, that we didn't
know much about. One was cherokee red, pictured here.
When ripe, they are dusky red. At first I wasn't sure they were ripe, but they definitely were, They are very tasty tomatoes that I would definitely grow again.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I usually walk in Norlo Park every day, sometimes twice, with the dog. These willows get only minimal trimming. I think they just trim the low-hanging branches. Yet, they always look like they are sculpted. These trees are doing great near by the edge of the stream.

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Photo Friday Challenge: Crooked

These are redwoods in the Arcata Community Forest Park in California. Old redwood forests tend to have a lot of leaning and fallen trees.
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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Northanger Abbey

I just finished reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I found it lighter in tone than her other novels. It seemed like she really had a lot of fun with the characters and the plot. I enjoyed the parts, early in the story, where Catherine discusses the value of novels and novel-reading with some of the other characters. She is surprised that men can like novels, just like women, as Henry Tilney does.

I really enjoyed how Catherine works herself up to a frightful state by imaging things in the bedroom where she is staying in Northanger Abbey. Out of thin air she builds up a suspicion that General Tilney murdered his wife, even though nothing like that happened. But in the end, Catharine shows her good sense and sense of humor.

It was shameful how the General sent her away when he realized that Catherine wasn't a rich heiress. The story made me really feel the injustice of having to return home in a public carriage.

There's really a lot of satire in the novel. Mrs. Allen is just an empty airhead, concerned only with fashion. John Thorpe, in addition to being a boring, self-absorbed braggart, was also the source of the General's misunderstanding. He richly deserved to never find a wife!

All in all, this is a great story. I would like to read the text this time. Although audio version was full text, I bet it would be better still to read it.

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law Decision

I have been watching reports of the preliminary injunction barring many parts of the Arizona anti illegal immigrant law. I think the judge ruled correctly. All parts of immigration enforcement has to be a federal responsibility, although the states can assist if asked.

The controversy reminded me of some of the experiences I had living in Burkina Faso and Senegal in the 1980's Both of their legal systems come from French law, through the prism of African culture. Police have the right to stop and ask you any questions. I remember the road blocks. I was always a little nervous. It's as if you had to prove that you had a right to be where you were. Now, we were never hassled and had just a few uncomfortable experiences, especially after the coups in Burkina.

In the US, on the other hand, we are free to do as we wish. The police can't stop you unless they have a suspicion you are doing something illegal. And even then, they have strict limits as to what they can ask. It would be a shame to lose that freedom, the feeling of liberty. If we all have to prove that we have a right to be here, instead of the police having to prove they have a reason to stop us, then we will have lost a great deal.

Friday, July 23, 2010

On the Radio

I usually just listen to NPR stations at home, at work and in the car. But on an eleven hour car trip (PA to ME both ways) I needed some variety. I found that commercial radio is definitely not what it used to be.

Top 40 radio only plays a limited number of songs. The songs are really juvenile-sounding. The beat, the nursery rhyme lyrics (style not substance) and the overdubbing make it sound like something for very simple, but perverted children.

Sports talk seems totally irrelevant. On a Boston station they were arguing over the details and negotiating strategy of quarterback's contract. Really arcane stuff.

I even listed to some talk radio for a while. Does anyone think Glenn Beck is really serious about his rantings? It's really about him selling his books, plays, speaking events and anything else he can come up with. I avoided Rush at all costs. 

I'm beginning to think I should either get satellite or a huge stack of CD's for my next trip!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Viewing an Eagle

This young eagle was sitting in a pine tree by Lake Cochnawagon, in Monmouth Maine. He made a tremendous amount of racket. I didn't know that eagles were so vocal. I waited half an hour in the water, but he didn't fly away or move around.

Beans, however, was not interested in eagles!
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Monday, July 05, 2010

Carolina Chocolate Drops on Fresh Air

I just heard a rebroadcast of the Carolina Chocolate Drops interview on NPR's Fresh Air. I heard the first airing a few months ago, but now that I have listened to Genuine Negro Jig several times I can appreciate the interview even more. I was very impressed by the musicality of the band. They have really studied their material and why they liked it. Terri Gross asked them about how as African-Americans they liked this old time music, which has in part racist-tinged origins. They answered well and showed how they are driven by the music. They are also at home in many genres. At one point Terri Gross asked Rhiannon to show her operatic singing skills and she did a great job. Now I would like to get some of their older albums, too.

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Saturday, July 03, 2010

General Petraeus takes command of the Afghanistan war

General Petraeus takes command of the Afghanistan war

General Petraeus arrived in Kabul today to take over the Afghanistan war effort. Afghans say he faces a limited window to rein in corruption, make the Karzai government more accountable, and create momentum toward peace.

Newly appointed U.S. and NATO forces commander, U.S. General David Petraeus, speaks with Commander of ISAF Joint Command Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez during their arrival in Kabul Friday.
DEU Army Michal Miszta, IJC Public Affairs/Handout/Reuters
By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / July 2, 2010
Kabul, Afghanistan
With the US-led Afghanistan war in its most precarious position since it began nearly nine years ago, Gen. David Petraeus arrived in Kabul today to implement a strategy similar to the one he successfully pioneered in Iraq.
It includes not only removing the Taliban from the villages they have occupied for years, but also overseeing reconstruction, helping create a more accountable government, and building up the Afghan military and police.
The capital of Kabul is an oasis of relative security. But the situation in the south of the country – the Pashtun heartland that gave birth to the Taliban in the early 1990s – is deteriorating, say average Afghans, aid workers, and some diplomats. June was the deadliest month ever for foreign troops here.
“Compared to eight years back, or even three years back, we are really much, much worse off than at any point,” says Danish Karokhel, who runs Pajhwok Afghan News, which has reporters in every city. “The Taliban are on most of the important roads leading to Kabul. The government just looks so weak to people.”
Poppy farmer Dal Mohammed is not a Taliban supporter – far from it, he says. After all, it was partly the Taliban’s fault that he recently had to flee his village in southern Afghanistan with his two wives and seven children for this refugee camp on Kabul’s outskirts.
But it was the joint US-Afghan military response to a Taliban attack that destroyed his home in Helmand Province and drove him here.
Standing amid the temporary brick-and-mud homes, he says the situation in Helmand is the worst it’s been since the war began. As fellow refugees nod, he says peace should be made quickly with the Taliban.
The Afghan government? “We have no trust in them at all.”

Challenges: Corruption, instability, and government accountability

As Gen. David Petraeus takes command of the Afghanistan war, the call is coming in loud and clear: Do something different and do it fast. The common refrain centers on several challenges: Rein in corruption, make the Karzai government more accountable, and create enough momentum toward peace that Afghans will put their weight behind the US-led fight.
To do this, Petraeus will need to resolve tensions between the US military and civilian leaders and President Hamid Karzai. While the US has poured more than $280 billion into Afghanistan to rout Islamist militants, Karzai’s government has been reaching out to the Taliban – a move some say is based on the calculation that the US lacks the ability or political will to stay until the insurgency has been vanquished.
“How can we fight the Taliban when Karzai is making overtures of peace and is thinking about asking them to join the government?” asks Rahman Oghli, a member of parliament (MP) who worries that citizens may be led to believe that turning against the Islamist movement is more trouble than it’s worth. “Our Army would be thinking to themselves, ‘Why should I fight when it’s going to end that way?’ ”
Petraeus is revered by many for having created that crucial momentum in Iraq, successfully recruiting Sunni insurgents to help turn the tide against Al Qaeda.

What Afghan lawmakers want Petraeus to do

Politicians from Marjah and Kandahar, both targeted for key US offensives, charge that two pillars of the counterinsurgency strategy – to protect civilians and establish the rule of law – have largely failed.
Walid Jan Sabir, an MP from Marjah district in Helmand, says the area is at best marginally safer since the US-led offensive in February.
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Today's stories of General Petraeus making his first appearance at a July 4th celebration for the American embassy personnel in Kabul Afghanistan reminded me of the years I spent in Africa. As Peace Corps volunteers we went to several celebrations in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. Somewhere I have slides of a celebration in Dakar, Senegal where they even had a color guard from the embassy Marine guards.

We always felt our American-ness more strongly in an overseas post. All the things that may divide us at home are not important in another country. There is definitely a special pride being a U.S. citizen, regardless of politics or anything else.

I can only imagine how the Americans in Afghanistan deal with the stress and danger of the security situation. In Burkina Faso and Senegal we only had to deal with petty street crime. We were free to celebrate and share our pride in our country!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Environmental Cost Of Growing Pot : NPR

The Environmental Cost Of Growing Pot : NPR

I just visited the redwoods in Humboldt and heard a lot about the prevalence of growing marijuana. It is now quasi-legal since it is so easy to get a medical referral. And it is quite popular.

It was interesting to hear about the environmental consequences of public policies towards marijuana. According to the story most marijuana was grown outside with minimal inputs. As policing efforts increased much growing was pushed indoors, which takes a great deal of electricity, up to twenty times more than what a normal home would take.

As production has been pushed to remote areas diesel generators were needed, leading the diesel leak into a stream that the story mentions.

I think the most interesting effect will be what will happen if marijuana is legalized in California. Growers fear a drastic drop in prices that would make it uneconomic to grow indoors. Would the producers then ask for subsidies?

The law of unintended consequences remains in effect. Legalizing marijuana turns it into another farm commodity that works under the principles of agricultural economics. Criminalizing the weed increases prices and might reduce supply leading to even higher prices. The transition is sure to be complicated. Do we really need another drug? An interesting story.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Genetically Altered Salmon Set to Move Closer to Your Table - NYTimes.com

Genetically Altered Salmon Set to Move Closer to Your Table - NYTimes.com

I don't eat salmon that much. It will be interesting to see if people will buy the salmon with the genetically engineered fast growth. According to the article, the meat is identical. The fish don't get bigger than normal salmon, they just achieve their size faster.

If the meat doesn't have a special label it will be accepted by consumers. If if has a special frankenfish label and their is regular fish along side it then no one will buy it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Topographic Map Format Available

While looking for a map on the US Geological Survey site today I found a new format of topographic maps. Previously it was easy to download a scanned topographic map in pdf format. Today I noticed that for some regions there is a new kind of map called a US Topo. It has a true color aerial photo for a base with all the usual topographic map features on top. 

For example, below is a part of the Iron Springs 7.5 minute map showing the Waynesboro Reservoir, which was made in 1995.
Following is the June 2010 version of the same area.
For some maps there is a Digital Maps beta version that doesn't yet have the contour lines. The new maps can be purchased in paper format. Even better is the pdf format. The data in the new maps can be separated in the reader, just like in a GIS. When you install the free TerraGo add-on in Adobe Reader you can make measurements of direction and distance directly on the map. Very Cool! It is all available at http://store.usgs.gov Topographic maps will never be the same again!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mansfield Park

I recently finished Mansfield Park, in audiobook format. At first I thought this would be a Cinderella story, where Fanny overcome the adversity of being a near-orphan living with her wealthier relations. As the story continued it became more and more complicated.

I kept wanting Fanny to become more assertive. Instead I started to see her as a blank slate where her total virtue was used to show the shorctomings of her cousins, aunts, uncle, and all the other characters. It wasn't until the end of the book where she goes to visit her family that she showed some reactions of her own.

I didn't understand why Fanny and Edmund opposed the play so much. Was it just too show that it could lead to temptation? After a while I got tired of hearing about propriety so much. I read somewhere that Jane Austen had participated in amateur theatricals with her family. Did she oppose it or did she just use this situation to make the story?

Also it was obvious that Fanny would end up with Edmund. Didn't they worry then about first cousins marrying? And he never seemed to really understand her in spite of all his kindness.

I loved the characters in this book. Aunt Norris and Lady Bertram are fabulous. Henry and Mary Crawford are also great. I have known people like this and will think of these characters when I meet more. I can see coming back to this story again. I think next time I will read it, although I really liked the audiobook version.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Steller's Jay"

Originally uploaded by Rick Leche.

While visiting a redwood grove in Humboldt State Park last week we noticed this bird swooping down on us as we walked among the trees. Come to find out it is Steller's jay. Here's a good picture I found on Flickr in the bird guide group.
I got a few usable pictures of my own at the park visitor's center.



The park did have warning out to not feed the jays. They adapt easily to being fed and can overpopulate, which make them a danger to other bird species. They are fascinating to watch, though.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Man with Cane and Woman with Umbrella

Right outside Blaine's office at Wichita State University are these two sculptures. The campus has an amazing collection of outdoor sculptures. When I go back for another visit I want to see more of them.

Here is a link to more information on Fernando Botero's work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Calves by the Park

These calves came by the fence as my dog and I were walking by in the park. They were curious about us, I guess.

Monday, May 17, 2010

With the Old Breed

The HBO series The Pacific ended this past Sunday. The last show started as the Japanese surrendered, right after the Battle of Okinawa. It concentrated on how the soldiers dealt with the peace. Robert Leckie returned home to a job at the local newspaper. He got a job in the local newspaper and got up the courage to date the girl he had been writing too during his time fighting. (But he never mailed the letters.) In a really sad segment, Lena Basilone, John's widow, goes to New Jersey to meet and console his  parents.

A lot of time was taken up with the return and difficulties of E. B. Sledge. He was tormented by nightmares and had a hard time returning to civilian life. In the past week I read his wartime memoir With the Old Breed. I really enjoyed the book, even though the story was extremely brutal at times. The battles of Pelelieu and Okinawa were terribly difficult battles. Sledge describes the horrors in detail that you don't see in many history books. For example he tries to explain how the odor of dead bodies and human waste in the tropical heat got worse day after day as the battle continued. It's a wonder that any of the soldiers could return to normal life after what they had seen and done. I think our leaders should read something like this before deciding whether or not to go to war.

Now I need to get a copy of Robert Leckie's  A Helmet for My Pillow.

Blooming Shrub

This shrub next to our lilacs is in bloom this week. I wonder what it is? I guess I need a shrubbery book.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pacific

I've been watching the HBO series, The Pacific, which follows the WWII battles through the experiences of US Marines. At the same time I found the companion book in my local library. I have just finished the book. The series has just broadcast its seventh of ten episodes.

The book is written by Hugh Ambrose, the son of the late historian Stephen Ambrose. I highly recommend it as an excellent read all by itself, even without seeing the TV series. It adds two new voices: Vernon "Mike" Micheel was a navy pilot who flew bombers at Midway and continued in several subsequent battles; and Austin C. "Shifty" Shofner who served in the Phillipines, was imprisoned, escaped, served as a guerilla leader, and then returned as a combat commander with the Marines. I can see why the TV series left out the officers to concentrate on the infantry soldiers. It would have needed five more episodes, at least. Their story, however, adds tremendously to the book.

The book leaves out Robert "Lucky"Leckie, for the most part. As Ambrose says, he wrote his own book which told his story very well. I did find an old interview of his on Booknotes on C-Span. I will be adding his titles to my reading list.

I did wonder about Eugene Sledge, from Mobile, Al. Throughout the story Ambrose emphasizes his conservatism and love of the old South. I kept wondering how he did in subsequent years, and especially through the Civil Rights struggle in the south. How did he adapt to all the changes in the world he loved? He did eventually become a biology professor in a college. I really want to read his books to see more about his war experience and his life afterwards.

The Pacific really debunks the Greatest Generation idea. These soldiers were no better or worse than other people. They were forced by circumstances to fight and did the best they could. It diminishes what they did to put them on a pedestal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Mystery Bird

I noticed this bird searching for insects on a brush pile. He seemed to be enjoying himself! But what is it?

Mystery solved thanks to Alex Lamoreaux, who writes "That mystery bird is a hermit thrush, they will be heading north soon to their breeding grounds and be replaced with wood thrushes (who breed here)."

I assume the hermit thrush is not a hermit all year long!


Everything you need to know about the Tea Party movement is here in these signs.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Home in the Woods

I found this hemlock in the forest today. The tree is alive, still. Are these woodpecker holes? I'm not sure.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Festival International des Masques et des Arts de D├ędougou

Years ago, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso I came on a village where the people were celebrating this festival (1981). I took a number of pictures that I have been using in presentations over the years. I will have to get them scanned and pointed at some point. I am glad to see that there is a festival there now. for those of you who read French, here is an article in the local newspaper, le faso. Enjoy the video!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sunning after a Long Winter


While taking a morning walk around Mont Alto campus today I came across this groundhog in the soccer field. He was laying stretched out enjoying the sun. I thought he was dead. I let my dog Beans come up to him when up he popped to check us out. I quickly pulled Beans away. The groundhog didn't move much. I guess he was still groggy from his winter sleep! We walked around the field. When we got back he was gone.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cardinal in Flight

Cardinal in Flight
Originally uploaded by P_Linehan.

Male Cardinal

Cardinal in Flight

The cardinals love the bird feeder. This was at the tail end of the blizzard.