Friday, January 29, 2010

Dark-eyed Junco

Usually fairly common around here, I finally saw one at the feeder. They're more common on the ground, but this one was happily dining with the titmice on the squirrel-proof. Glad to see him -- maybe he'll bring a few friends next time!

Photo unavailable at the moment -- look him up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New wrinkle -- cancer

I've been fighting liver disease for over thirty years, and have recently developed some tumors which have made me ineligible for a transplant. I am now receiving a treatment called embolization, a low-dose, targeted type of chemotherapy which has been remarkably bearable, but may be doing little more than keeping me around a little longer. It's okay. I'm ready for whatever happens, and I've been learning things about my life, my friendships, etc. which have been invaluable. Death is not the worst thing that could happen (unless I go before I can learn how to flycast). It's a short bucket list. I've done almost everything I have wanted to do. And I intend to keep this blog up until I'm no longer able.

This is not meant to depress you. It's just in the interest of full disclosure that I have decided to present it to you. Of course I wish you all well!

Much love to all my readers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nearby owl

Great-horned Owl high in a tree, not fifty yards from here. I'll never get a look at him, since it's dark out, but what a thrilling sound --

"Who Who Hoohoo! Who Who Hoohoo"!

This place ain't so bad...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Is Money Slavery?

A friend of mine sent me an email containing an article in which the author posits that in the capitalist system we are all slaves, and assumes the conclusion that money itself is indeed slavery. What follows is my reply, with a few of my thoughts on the matter. Please forgive the tinges of saltiness, which are atypical for this blog.

This is all well known, and we accept it out of habit and laziness. The only way to make it in capitalism is self-employment/entrepreneurship and ass-breaking hard work. Everyone is a slave to some degree. Even those who have already made it are slaves to their own way of life.

As the writer says, the only way the system will become unseated is through the loss of confidence in our sense of place. When the shit hits the fan with the environment, everyone will become an entrepreneur simply to survive, or they will lose out completely. When we realize our unbreakable connection with the world and our need for a resurrection of civilization, there will be an opening to make things right for all time. If that doesn’t happen, get ready for another 4000 years of hell. Personally, I always hope for the best — and expect the worst.

Unfortunately there isn’t enough activist energy available to fix everything that needs fixing. I try to point out to people (even the “rich”) the necessity of having a sense of place, feeling one’s feet on the earth, and living the Golden Rule. Those simple things seem like our only hope other than waiting for a disaster; however most people react to the suggestion with quizzical disdain, a sense of foreignness. Quixotically, I keep hoping...


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer changes, 2009

Once again, sorry for leaving you hanging. I know, it's been a long time. That's how it goes sometimes.

I have moved out of the cabin in the woods. It was getting too risky to live there and too expensive to keep up. For starters, the squirrels had taken over in the attic and were starting to chew through the walls and the wiring. There was no insulation in the attic to begin with, and when it got cold in the New England winter all the heat I was able to manufacture with a couple of inefficient space heaters and a wood stove went right out the roof. The siding was rotting in places on the outside, again leaving the place exposed to the elements. And the roof leaked in a couple of spots. To top it off, I had two trees fall toward the house as a result of lightning strikes, taking out the electrical wiring from the pole and causing destructive shorts in some of the outlets. In a nutshell, it was time to go.

Due to a chronic illness I was able to get a clean, well-maintained apartment in an apartment complex for elderly and disabled people. It's been a godsend; life is now easily livable again. It is no smaller than my cabin, two clean rooms with kitchen and bath. The sunlight is only fair, although it's better than in my woodsy abode. I'm not as close to nature as I might like, although there are plenty of birds around. I have a feeder which has been attracting scores of tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees, white- and red-breasted nuthatches and American goldfinches. I also have a regular downy woodpecker, and an occasional red-bellied woodpecker. Between them they consume a ton of black oil sunflower seeds, but they are an endless source of pleasure during the day. I do miss my deer, and my wild turkeys, but this town is full of natural features, and I'm sure I'll see my share of true wildlife. And the Audubon sanctuary is a scant two miles from here. I could do a lot worse.

So that's my current update. In the coming posts there may be some more personal stuff than has been posted before. Let me know how you like the changes, and the blog in general.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Just a little something for y'all (if I may be so bold):

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) -- Darlene Love's annual appearance on the Letterman Show. This one is from 2006. Enjoy, and have a great holiday season!

Thank you CBS and Worldwide Pants for the use of your video, and for this great annual holiday tradition.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama Appoints Science and Technology Team

In contrast to the Bush administration's apparent campaign to limit scientific inquiry (please see the previous post), President-elect Obama has appointed a first-rate team of scientists to take up the challenges of the 21st century. Here is his video address from December 20, 2008:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back to Reality

The Bush Administration has succeeded in undermining the value of scientific inquiry in our understanding of how the world works. In the last eight years, the importance of science has taken a back seat to ideology and dogma in our relationship to the planet, a practice that has caused us to despoil the Earth through pollution and waste of natural resources (including not only fossil fuels, but wetlands, natural, unspoiled areas of our national parks and forests, etc.). We have dropped the ball on medical research, as well as our understanding of global climate change. At practically every turn, science has been ignored, in favor of a firm, incurious view of how things work. It now falls on President-elect Obama to undo this ignorant approach, and to restore the spirit of inquiry into our understanding of life, and the way we function as a civilization.

Olivia Judson has an excellent opinion piece in the online edition of the New York Times that explains this eloquently. Here is an excerpt:

"The distortion and suppression of science is dangerous, and not just because it means that public money gets wasted on programs, like abstinence-only sex 'education' schemes, that do not work. It is dangerous because it is an assault on science itself, a method of thought and inquiry on which our modern civilization is based and which has been hugely successful as a way of acquiring knowledge that lets us transform our lives and the world around us. In many respects science has been the dominant force — for good and ill — that has transformed human lives over the past two centuries."

Read the full post here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My goodness, I just noticed how long it's been since I've posted anything to this blog. I guess, like most people, I've been so caught up in the political campaigns that the blog has sort of taken a back seat to the TV news. To all those who faithfully look in here from time to time, my sincere apologies. Though I never shied away from including the political implications of some of these topics, I never intended it to become a political blog, per se. Hence the dearth of new posts during this highly-charged political season.

Now that it's over, there seems to be new found hope in a new president who has a stated commitment to environmental preservation and remediation. Barack Obama hasn't taken office as yet, but we are very hopeful that he will live up to his promise to see that he leaves the planet greener than he found it. We should all match his commitment with our own, and work together to see that the planet remains healthy for future generations.

A brief wildlife observation: I have let a vine grow over one of my window screens in my living room. It has become a haven for migrating birds passing through and stopping in our woods for a rest. Palm Warblers are common, as well as Carolina Wrens and other tiny winged creatures, and I press my nose practically up against the inside glass to observe them at close range. What a treat!

Carolina Wren

See you next time; not so long, I promise. Peace.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Small Farms Best for Environment: Organic Group

MODENA, Italy - Small-scale, not industrial farming, is the answer to food shortages and climate change, organic farmers argued this week.

Meeting at the Organic World Congress this week, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM -- -- criticized a recent U.N. food summit for touting chemical fertilizers and genetically modified (GM) crops rather than organic solutions to tackle world hunger.

The World Bank says an extra 100 million people worldwide could go hungry as a result of the sharp rise in the price of food staples in the last year.

At the U.N. food summit in Rome this month, the World Bank pledged $1.2 billion in grants to help with the food crisis.

"The $1.2 billion the World Bank says will solve the food crisis in Africa is a $1.2 billion subsidy to the chemical industry," said Vandana Shiva, an Indian physics professor and environmental activist speaking at the forum in Modena.

"Countries are made dependent on chemical fertilizers when their prices have tripled in the last year due to rising oil prices," she said. "I say to governments: spend a quarter of that on organic farming and you've solved your problems."

©Reuters and The Organic Consumers Association, 7/2/2008

Full story at the website of the Organic Consumers Association
Link to the original Reuters article

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New blog!

I've moved the bulk of discussion of aternative vehicles and methods of transportation to a separate blog: Eco-friendly Transportation. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

ENN: Government red tape stymies new solar energy development

Leaders in the U.S. solar energy industry blasted the U.S. government on Monday for a freeze on applications for new solar projects on public land in six Western states.

The Bureau of Land Management announced the freeze a month ago, saying it would conduct an extensive study looking at the environmental, social and economic impacts of solar energy development.

During the 22-month study, the agency will not consider any new proposals for solar energy developments on public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico or Utah.

Fred Morse, senior advisor for U.S. operations at Abengoa Solar, a Spanish company with a solar plant in development in Arizona, said the moratorium could hurt many companies in the burgeoning U.S. industry.

Read the full article here:

Text © 2008 Environmental News Network

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Germany and France ban pesticide linked to bees' disappearance; urge U.S. do the same

Germany has banned the use of clothianidin, a pesticide linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), mentioned on this blog in earlier posts and widely reported in the press. Likewise, France has banned imidacloprid, which is linked to disorientation in honeybees, which may explain the occurrence of abandoned hives in instances of CCD.

Geneticists in both Germany and France are urging the U.S. to issue a ban on these pesticides, and the EPA is considering the issue. Read the full story at

Monday, June 23, 2008

One more on electric cars

Project Better Place has an interesting top-down model for getting people into electric vehicles, from the manufacture of cars, to a distributed network of charging stations and a subscription-based method for vehicle ownership. The company's website is worth a look, to see some creative thinking in action.

Okay, I'm getting a little too mired down in talk about alternatively fueled vehicles. This will be my last post on the subject for awhile, unless there is some dramatic breakthrough in the technology or the industy. Enjoy your vacation.

Zero carbon gasoline from yeast?

New energy options from the Environmental Defense Fund.