And a Bargain at That

We paid an admission fee of 8 USD per person, so we tried to get our money’s worth.

We looked all around.

Boat-tailed grackle – female

We looked high AND low; we gazed thoughtfully off into the distance.

Anhingas – male & female

We put on our game faces. After all, we had paid 8 USD per person: We had serious expectations.

Snowy egret & double-crested cormorant

Were our expectations frustrated? They were not.

We saw birds playing chicken.

Brown pelican and osprey

We saw birds striking noble poses.

Great blue heron & osprey

We saw things that would have been Spectacular Photos if only we had been closer.

Great blue heron & osprey

And we saw Spectacular Things that we were happy weren’t any closer.

Alligator noshing on week-old pelican carcass

Alligator near shore with pelican carcass


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Not My First Rodeo

Some experiences need a child for full effect. The adult reality isn’t the same, but I remember being an oh-so-impressed  6-year-old, sitting down to high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Some experiences are best appreciated by a first-timer of whatever age. Flying has staled with repetition, but I remember dressing up for my first flights as a teenager.

Some experiences are impressive precisely because *they* are the first-timer, redefining a genre. They look a little clunky now, but I remember being blown away as an adult by Star Wars and Batman for their special-effects wizardry and magical film editing, respectively.

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Two Kinds of Numbers

Big and little? Odd and even? Real and imaginary? Integer and fraction? Prime and composite?  Irrational (like pi and the square root of 2) and whatever the other ones are?  Sorry, my half-remembered-because-almost-never-used numerical education extends no further than that: I can generate no more dichotomies, true/false or otherwise.

But the sad limits of my numeracy are no matter here. According to Scientific American, the two kinds of numbers are these: interesting and boring. Well, technically, it’s the positive integers that are either interesting or boring, not *all* numbers, but for day-to-day purposes for most of us, it amounts to the same thing.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently | Tagged | 8 Comments

A Simple Rule

The rules are simple:
they lie to us,
we know they’re lying,
they know we know they’re lying,
but they keep lying to us,
and we keep pretending to believe them.

Often attributed to Solzenhitsyn, this quote is, apparently, from Elena Gorokhova ( A Mountain of Crumbs). On North American Daylight Saving Sunday (it has a lovely lilt, no?), what on Earth would make me think of this?

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Mortality, Through the Calendar | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

And Now This

As we make our way from Phoenix to Myrtle Beach, I see things. In what are sometimes fleeting moments, the phone camera doesn’t do justice to all of them. It can’t be the hands *on* that phone camera … At about the same time, I carry on a time-asynchronous email conversation with another editor … about the use … and abuse … of the … ellipsis in a book we had both read. Well, more precisely (per 2, below), the use … and abuse … of ellipsis *marks*…

e•lip•sis (noun)

1a: the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete
1b: a sudden leap from one topic to another
2: marks or a mark (such as … ) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, New Perspectives, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Faces, Photos of Landscapes | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Socks, Pairs and Spares

Cutting carefully through the tensioned plastic tags that hold this stack of socks together in three sub-stacks, I frown, wondering as I often do how they insert these tags without ruining the things being secured. But as the socks fall away, released from their captivity, I frown harder. Why do I have an odd number of white socks? I have an even number of feet.

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Posted in Feeling Clearly, I Have Lots, New Perspectives, Thinking Broadly | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Faces, Transiting and Transitory

Being warned by GPS, and it not yet being time to return to our own country, we returned to our temporary home by a non-freeway route.  And so it came to pass that we were stopped in traffic behind, um, a reindeer, I think. A pretty intent-looking reindeer. Thus was the day was an odd mix of sacred and secular intimations of the birth of Jesus.

But the day was not done with oddness. A drip of something melted-cheese-like on our temporary kitchen table presented the best-formed face EVER. I mean, teeth and all, channelling a Casper-the-Ghost vibe.

Posted in Laughing Frequently, Photos of Faces | Tagged | 8 Comments

Bat that Ball

volleyball, game played by two teams, usually of six players on a side, in which the players use their hands to bat a ball back and forth over a high net, trying to make the ball touch the court within the opponents’ playing area before it can be returned. – Britannica

It sounds kinda genteel doesn’t it? Like badminton out on the English gentry’s lawn: languidly batting a ball back and forth over a high net before stopping for high tea.

To prevent this a player on the opposing team bats the ball up and toward a teammate before it touches the court surface—that teammate may then volley it back across the net or bat it to a third teammate who volleys it across the net. A team is allowed only three touches of the ball before it must be returned over the net.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Sports and Exercise | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Red Rock – Part 3

Decades ago I heard a story about a late 19th-century scientist presenting a lecture on cosmology. After he’d finished, an old woman came up to him and informed him that everything he had said was wrong.

“The world,” she said, “rests on the back of a giant turtle.”

The scientist asked mildly (smugly?) what the turtle rested on.

“You think you’re very clever, young man, but it’s turtles all the way down.”

There are many versions of this story: some cite an infinite stack of turtles, some tortoises, some rocks and mud. Some may have come from Hindu theology. Some are told for humorous effect; some are told to illustrate the conceptual problem of infinite regress.  As the Quote Investigator puts it, “The tale has been evolving for centuries.”

This story came to mind when I stood in Sedona a few weeks ago and saw red rock way above my head, and red rock and dust beneath my feet.

Forget the turtles:
It’s red rock all the way down.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Landscapes | Tagged | 6 Comments