Happy New Year on Music Night

The year 2010 has been a difficult one here in the US and 2011 is shaping up to be even more so. Rather than dwell on the pain, I’d like to dedicate the final Music Night of 2010 to the triumph of the human spirit — and for me, nothing else speaks to that spirit like music. When composers like Bach and performers like Yo-Yo Ma get in the room together, I can experience a few fleeting moments of hope.



Whooping cranes eat blue crabs almost exclusively as they winter over at the Aransas NWR on the Gulf of Mexico. The tide was going out as we came along and this pair was busy feeding.

There were about 14 cranes in view as the boat worked up along the edge of the refuge, two more can be seen in the background. About 290 birds exist in the wild, up from 15 total in existence in the world back in the late 60’s.

It was unusually cold this morning, and only 11 people on the boat. The captain is an avid birder and a happy progressive. His deckhand hadn’t shown up, so being a former sailor I volunteered. I was able to assist a top heavy birder up from the deck after his apparatus took him down when the boat made a sudden maneuver to avoid ramming a grebe.

The Watering Hole: December 30 – Land Sales

In 1626, the Manhattoes, a tribe of the Wappinger confederacy, in turn a subset of the Lenape Nation, that occupied New Jersey, Manhattan Island and the banks of Hudson River and shore of Long Island Sound, sold Manhattan to a group of immigrants. The proceeds from the sale came to 60 gilders in beads and trinkets. With inflation, that would amount to about $31,000 today.

After a number of land transfers, that land became part of The United States which has a whole new set of tribes. One member of the Democratic tribe has ceremoniously transfered that land back to members of Indian tribes who managed to survive the dynamics of history.

The Teabag tribe of the United States has raised issues on this matter. Conspiracies have been revealed that this ceremonial transfer represents a land grab precipitated by someone who has a secret relationship as a secret member of the Indian Nations. Revelations in Congress and the press cite this as only the beginning of the ceding of national territory to native tribes.

The natives are saying “A deal is a deal! You bought it, you keep it!”

Their concern is that, if they give in, they may have to take back Florida.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

And a Happy New Year to all!

Watering Hole, Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A little something to get you moving on Hump Day (sorry, no camels!). And a tip of the hat to Little Green Footballs, which often offers up great work from Vimeo. Vimeo is a “worldwide community” of people working in video, in a myriad of forms and content. I consider it one of the coolest places on the Inner Tubes. This particular video benefits from full-screen viewing and with the sound cranked up. Wakey wakey!

This, as always, is our OPEN THREAD. Which means it’s open to discussion, ideas, rants, trivia and the occasional video.

Watering Hole: December 27, 2010 – Mummers

Every New Year’s day, the Mummers strut down South Broad Street in Philadelphia as part of ringing in the New Year.  You may wonder what are Mummers and where did they get their start?

To define them simply, Mummers are costumed entertainers welcoming in the New
Year. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and
Greece, England, Germany, and France.  Historically, Mummery has influenced
customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. Every nation had its
festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of
fanciful costumes.  All of these cultures passed along their traditions from
generation to generation, and eventually these traditions were brought to
America by immigrants.

More about the Philadelphia Mummers here.

This is our Open Thread and my last Monday post for awhile.  I will still be peeking in on everyone   🙂   Enjoy the Mummers and Speak Up!