Fleece Face

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

It’s a standard disclaimer in the financial-management business, but I didn’t know until just now that it’s a Rule.

SEC Rule 156 requires mutual funds to tell investors
not to base their expectations of future results
on past performance before they invest. – Forbes

Of course, the Rule applies to many things beyond investments: cooking (especially if one is, ahem, inclined to the casual with respect to recipe adherence), birdwatching, and any artistic endeavour.

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Flesh Flies

Ah, the common flesh fly.

I’d never noticed one before this morning, so whaddya mean “common”?

Worldwide, there are 800 valid species (arranged for convenience into a mere 150 subgenera).

OK, common it is. I’m not sure I want the answer to this next one, but whaddya mean “flesh”?

The larvae feed on rotting carrion or decaying meat.

Kids these days. What are you gonna do?

This always happens. I am minding my own business, photographing yellow jackets in the sunshine as one random example, and something I’ve never seen/noticed before jumps into the frame.

This often leads to amazement: 800 species!

This sometimes leads to ickiness: eating rotting carrion! Mind you, I guess if we’re not to be knee-deep in rotting carrion, something has to eat it. Better a fly’s larvae than me.

And it occasionally leads to opportunities for immature humour: The species are hard to distinguish (one from the 799 others) and the process usually requires examination of the male’s genitalia. Under an, ahem, microscope.

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Come Again, Another Day

Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day.

I don’t think we had enough rainy days in Alberta for this nursery rhyme to be a staple of my yute, exactly, but it comes from somewhere a long way back. I might have had more use for an incantation to banish or at least admonish snow.

Snow, snow, what the hey?
Go away, it’s May today.

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All Different

They are young and they are middle-aged and they are old.

They walk unaided and with canes; they ride in baby strollers and in wheelchairs.

They are famous and they are not.

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Gradually and then Suddenly

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

― Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises”

The death this week of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor happened the same way: gradually, then suddenly.

I’m not a great royals watcher but it would have been hard to miss the ever-so-gradual diminution of her vitality over the last several years: the reduced public schedule and transfer of some duties to then-Prince Charles and other family members, the events missed altogether due to “mobility problems”, and the change in her own standards of participation at the events she did attend (taking the Trooping the Colours salute from the palace balcony instead of joining the parade in a carriage – or on horseback!). But then she would pop up on a surprise visit to open a hospice, seemingly the same as ever.

And yet, not quite the same. When I saw the photo of her with Liz Truss, Britain’s new Prime Minister, I noticed the big bruise on her hand — a bruise much like the one my father sported for the last several years of his life — but what really caught my attention was her weight, or lack of it. “She’s keenin’ in,” I thought — an expression learned from said father’s Scottish cousins and that refers to the involuntary weight loss that so often accompanies one’s last few months of life, even when all else seems well.

Two days later, she was dead. Gradually, and then suddenly.

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Mind the Gap. Or Not.

So, it’s been what, a year? Since I last posted a photo of a yellow-jacket wasp on my Pinky Winky Hydrangea, I mean.

Oh. Two years. Clearly, it’s time for more, because they’re amazing.

Without any apparent difficulty they crawl over the irregular surface of the hydrangea florets more adeptly than I crawl around my completely flat exercise surface.

Without benefit of pitons or ropes or climbing shoes — or hands, even — they scale vertical surfaces.

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#justbreathe

I feel my shoulders drop when I type that hashtag to accompany my retweet of any calm, peaceful, downright tranquil photo on Twitter, a medium known more for inducing rage than tranquility.

Puffins, sunsets, sunrises, paths through valleys, paths through hills, flat-calm ponds, deserted-beach overlooks, striking skies. You get the idea. In an undeniably crazy world, there are still oodles of ways to retrieve peace, at least at the personal level.

In that spirit, today I offer my neighbour’s coneflowers. I think that’s what they are. Hey, I didn’t plant them, I just enjoy them. And so can you.

Just. Breathe.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Photos of Flora | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Not One Thing

“There’s not one thing that doesn’t point to it not being him,’
Stanko told The Associated Press.

Fate: That’s the only way to explain what led me to click on the headline for this story, but it became clear soon enough. Or, more accurately, completely unclear.

There’s not one thing
that doesn’t point to
it not being him.

Maybe breaking it down will help. Divide and conquer, that’s what we say, yes? All right, then. This is me, going in.

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Posted in Language and Communication, Laughing Frequently | Tagged | 14 Comments

Seeing is Something

Whaddya mean, it’s almost too dark to play?

The golf course looks fine to me: not in high-noon sunlight to be sure, but perfectly clear. Yet the TV announcers are talking about the possibility of having to end the day’s play before the last players have completed their round. Something about them not being able to see where their golf balls land, or to see that perfectly obvious flag marking the hole on the green. What the heck?

Why does that flower look so washed out?

The flower in question looks fine when I pull the camera away from my face, but the view through the aptly named viewfinder is overwhelmed by light. Colours are faded; shadows are muted; contrast is lost.  What the heck?

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Landscapes, Thinking Broadly | Tagged | 8 Comments