Monday, September 29, 2008

A commencement address (Kenyon College, 2005) by David Foster Wallace ran in the Wall Street Journal recently. His point, I think: a decent education should help you think about what's really important and save you from the annoyances and angers living in the 21st century heaps on us.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Visiting the Lib Today:

Fanny Pack Man
Conspiracy Theory Guy #1
Gertie Girl
That Lady Who Colors in Her Bible
Beginning Antiques Dealer (wait - that makes her BAD, and that doesn't suit her!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something in the way she said, "but I don't know how to work a copy machine" makes me think she's not at Duke, despite what her sweatshirt proclaims.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Panic or Not to Panic?

I learned the thrilling news about a sixth Hitchhikers' book this morning from Leigh on Facebook and did a quick search.

Here's the story from the Guardian, the BBC, and the L.A. Times!

Predictably, not everyone is thrilled. Via not martha, who agrees with the sentiment, here's a plan to just ignore it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birding in Richmond and Essex Counties

double-crested cormorant
great-blue heron
canada goose
black vulture
sharp-shinned hawk
red-shouldered hawk
bald eagle
rock dove
mourning dove
belted kingfisher
downy woodpecker
hairy woodpecker
pileated woodpecer
eastern phoebe
red-eyed vireo
blue jay
american crow
carolina chickadee
tufted titmouse
carolina wren
eastern bluebird
brown thrasher
european starling
norhern parula warbler (I think)
yellow-rumped warbler
black-and-white warbler
common yellowthroat
northern cardinal
chipping sparrow
house finch

Inspired by the lists posted to the local Audubon Club listserv -- lists beginning to swell with fall migrants -- we hatched a plan to go birdwatching with the folks today. And sure enough, at a favorite spot of theirs we got a couple of trees-full of warblers. But the only ones we could agree on were the "easy" ones, above. Along with the one I (and no one else) feel certain was a northern parula, there was an all-over yellow one (2 or 3 of those on Peterson's notorious "confusing fall warblers" page) and "something orange."

(Copyright rules may be doing their job: I can't find, quickly, that page scanned online, but I can tell you that there's a Flickr pool called confusing fall warblers, that the edition of Peterson's field guide scanned by Google Books lacks that plate, that the online Britannica's entry on Peterson is kinda dull, and that the Roger Tory Peterson Institute has a site brimming with information, including this on collecting early editions of the field guide.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This one spotted on Phil's car, at work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The NYTimes officially declares that we have too many Web 2.0 opportunities:
Unlike a few years ago, he said, to get someone to use a Web service now you have to get them to replace something else in their life.
(Link to article.)

Well, I am relieved. I thought it was just me. Also: am I the only one annoyed by the lack of interoperability? Why can't Facebook go grab my entries from LibraryThing or Flickr? (Can they and I just haven't figured it out??)

(via Bibliodiva's Facebook...)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Um. I think I just helped a guy with a booger in his mustache.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


National Fish and Wildlife Service publication on bird migration. Cool stuff! 

Oh - look at that tag popping up. I forgot to say that we put the bird feeder up over Labor Day weekend. The squirrels found it first, then the mourning doves and sparrows.

Also migrating: monarch butterflies. Not The Monarch.
(via lii

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Seen Around Town

This mantis was on the rail of the bridge at James River Park's 42nd Street entrance last Sunday.

We spotted this green mantis sunning itself on a rock in the James near Belle Isle today.

This giant caterpillar (about 3 or 4 inches long), and 2 others like it, seemed to be trapped in a rising pool next to some of the structures from the old industries on the Belle Isle. I coaxed it and another one up a stick and put each on a drier spot. When we passed back by, the apparently dead one and this one were gone; I spotted the second that I rescued deep in the leaves on the log where I'd put it. Was floating in the water a feeding strategy, not a sad result of a formerly dry area flooding? (If it doesn't creep you out, click on the picture to make it bigger and you'll see pill bugs and centipedes and other insects that were creeping and swimming about.)

We were glad for the insect life because the birding was a bit dull. Except for the white-eyed vireo.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Breaking News: Summer is Not Yet Over

Having helped 3 people, in under an hour, find titles off their summer reading lists, co-worker and I decide not to take down the Summer Reading List displays quite yet.

One young man was accompanied by an annoyed-looking mom; the other two kids were solo.

Faded flag, scoreboard only partially operable.

Stupid, Stupid T-D

I sure hope the paper edition of the Capital City Right-Wing Rag has better coverage than this online gloss of yesterday's game. I remembered home runs by Perry and Timmons and that the last out was a pop fly; I don't need to read that. I did not make a mental note of the former RBraves honored at the beginning of the game, nor did I try too hard to get a picture of the -- dignitaries? former players? holding the Goodbye banner at the end. That's what photojournalists do: I don't need to point my little camera at the backstop net. Listing the former players and dignitaries is what some journalist should have been doing. Instead we get a random listing of quotations, posing as an article (though I admit that's a strong opening sentence). And I'm not even mentioning that the slideshow link isn't working.

I should have scored the game so I could write down the former players and other details. There were a couple of tough-to-score plays, though, like when the Tides' secondbaseman held onto the ball in some staring contest with the Braves' runner, while the Brave who had tagged third decided to keep running and score. So that made me glad I did not have a scorecard in hand! Given that the Tides lead our division (standings here) and we finished at the bottom of it, I wondered if Tidewater (er, Norfolk) would throw the game. . . .

I remember Ralph Garr and Javy Lopez from the pre-game line up, but that's it. I will admit crossing my fingers that Chipper Jones would be there; though I am not surpised that he wasn't. I guess he had to work. Luckily, it looks like the International League (or, MLB if I understand the byline) sent someone competent to write this nice piece.

It was a great day for a ballgame, sunny and clear, and we got a win. The US flag is too faded to fly for another season, and my folks reported that the Braves (the RMA? who makes the call about the electric bill?) had given up using the extra screens on the scoreboard -- the ones with the line up. I feel certain we will secure a A or AA team to play in a renovated Diamond, but I can't see us ever again cheering players on their last stop before become big-league players. And that frustration at being demoted, as much as the ending of 43* seasons, made me teary.

Beautiful day for a game.

One out to go.

One in a series of "maybe this will be the last RBraves pitch" shots. I gave up after taking about 5. This pitch may well be the walk. . . . The last out was a pop fly: a white dot in the brown mitt of a white-uniformed man against that plain green wall, in the late afternoon sun of Septemeber.

*43 vs. 42 years: unlike a person born in 1966, the RBraves get to count 1966 as year/season one

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sundown on the Richmond Braves

A forty-two year Atlanta-Richmond relationship ended with today's game (a 9-3 win over the Tides) at the Diamond. The big Braves are taking their Triple-A team south. We can't even claim to be a minor league town anymore.