Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wanted: Raptor to Watch One Human and 3 Cats

It's a hermit weekend to stay away from people and rest up. I've had a generic jail cold all week. I was sick five months out of the first year I worked in the jail, but like the rest of us that work there you just keep going to work. They say to expect it until your body builds up some resistance to the stuff that lives in an old jail housing 800 prisoners. It's not like inmates can stay home and keep from spreading crud around to others. So you just try to keep your immunity up to fight it off. I've learned the number one resistance fighter is get enough sleep. Stop trying to fight mother nature.

Patty and I came across this sign walking up to the Raptor Center in Sitka, Alaska. Sometimes, I could use my own raptor.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's Bobby Burns Birthday

My friend, Jan North, reminded me today that today is Robert Burns birthday. Jan and I walked 150 high altitude miles in Bhutan a year ago and we will be walking 95 miles of the West Highland Way in Scotland this summer. Indeed it will be a stroll compared to Bhutan. In Bobbie's honor she sent me this poem and bio from Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac.

A Red, Red Rose

Oh my luve is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
Oh my luve is like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare the weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

Roberts Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, in 1759. He was the son of a poor farmer, and he spent the first half of his life engaged in the back-breaking work of farming. He always carried a book with him, and he read while he drove his wagon slowly along the road. He got into trouble with a girl named Jean Armour when he got her pregnant. He had left another woman after she became pregnant, but he loved Armour and didn't want her to suffer the indignities of being an unwed mother. He lost the farm, married Jean Armour, and wound up in Edinburgh. He wrote conversational poems about Scottish life. His book Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was very successful when it came out in 1786.

Robert Burns is the National Poet of Scotland. And today is a Scottish national holiday in his honor and celebrated all over the world by admirers of Robert Burns and by loyal Scots. There are formal suppers organized by Robert Burns societies, at which the host gives a welcoming speech and then everyone together says the Selkirk Grace, which Burns made famous:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Then soup is served - maybe potato soup, cock-a-leekie soup, or a Scotch broth - and then, with great ado, the haggis is brought out. All the guests recite:

Fair full your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

Then the haggis is cut open and served, along with rutabagas or mashed potatoes. After the meal, there are a number of toasts: one to the monarch or leader of the country, one to Robert Burns, and then a "toast to the lassies," to which a woman gives a reply. There may be other toasts, and of course, there is whiskey involved. The evening ends with everyone singing "Auld Lang Syne."

Garrison left Clarinda out of the story, but we know about our Clarinda.

How many hearts can one man break?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Apples do fall far from the tree sometimes.

funny pictures of cats with captions

I just want to say how proud I am of my daughter Kelly. In the wake of having her dream of getting her BSN at USC dashed by her negligent, self-absorbed sperm donor, she has pulled herself together and made some very mature decisions. Way to go, Kel! In your case, the apple did fall far from the tree...

(That was a private joke, BTW.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


You've got to say that just a certain way, du-u-u-de, string out the "u" like the guy on this video.

My friend, Pat, thinks I should "do something a little different on your next 'out door adventure'" and suggested this new challenge.

I've done my share of risky things, climbed a few mountains, dived a few wrecks, but looking at this video I think I'll be happy walking across England or wandering the streets of Charleston.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Charleston Walking

Ever wonder where that phrase "dead man walking" came from? Remember in the death penalty movie, Dead Man Walking, how the prison guard escorting Sean Penn to execution calls out "dead man walking, dead man walking here"?

Every day at the jail I hear a deputy - they're called deputies in jail, guards in prison - call out down the hall "walking!" when they escort inmates around the jail, and I have a flashback to the movie and the morbid Thomas Hardy poem the phrase may have come from. Or even just now writing out my title "Charleston Walking".

In a less gloomy vein, Patty, Kelly and I were walking Charleston during our Christmas visit, and what a wonderful town to get some walking exercise. No wonder Joan never runs out of material.
Beautiful old houses...

Ornate wrought iron gates...

...and fences.

Spanish moss libraries...

Architectural alleys...

Of course, I couldn't resist those doors.

On the way we passed Joan's "little" house -- no means little by California standards, and here in California a twenty year old house is considered "old" -- and lamented not having the foresight to call ahead for a "drop in". Next time, Joan.

Hope for all of us...

This morning while eating my breakfast, I've enjoyed Joan's pic of a newborn in our nursery, cracked up over Thor getting into the masking tape, and been sad that Koji had another seizure.

But what's really got me going is an article over at the Short Sharp Science blog. Check out this young person's invention that keeps food cold. Wow! And she's only 21. If she keeps this up, there is indeed hope for all of us.

Think I'll go slay a couple of dragons myself...after I get my shower, that is.