The Watering Hole: March 31, Wherever you look

These days I don’t know where to turn to look for good news. I look here and here and there, nothing good. But’s one:

A national survey has recorded an encouraging rise in small bird populations in the UK.

In January, over 600,000 people took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The results, published this week, show a promising increase in garden bird populations since last year. (read all)

This is our daily open thread. Just fly in and make yourself at home.

130 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: March 31, Wherever you look

  1. Why do brutal dictators always publicly question why their oppressed people hate them so much? Do they think the world doesn’t know how they treat their people? “What? I thought everybody enjoyed having their genitals electrocuted. You mean it’s just me?”

  2. Why do brutal dictators always publicly question why their oppressed people hate them so much?

    Good morning Wayne, how are you…

    The thing I always like about these dictators is that when they do ask that question is appears that they are genuinely surprised when people say “nope, loving you, not so much”! It’s like, “ok, ok I get the joke, seriously now tell me how much you love me????”

  3. I remain convinced that the UK has far more songbirds (and more varieties) than we do here, at least in Oregon. Perhaps this is also true on the Continent, I dunno. Even in a big city like Glasgow I woke to a huge chorus of melodic songs. I liked it.

  4. Hi, Krissy. I’m trying to hang in there. My brother’s memorial service is today. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of relatives I haven’t seen in years (decades, in some cases), and meet some people I never met before. My sister will be making sure my Dad gets through this while I will be keeping an eye on my Mom. As I’ve said before, my brother wasn’t in the best of health (he had a lot of those things that lurk under the surface), but he had no obvious signs of problems (like a bad cold or chest pains.) And while something like this was probably inevitable, its suddenness is what is so hard to absorb. Still, I am glad that he died in his own room in his family’s home, as opposed to in his car, homeless and on the street, which is where he was before he came to live with me.

  5. Ebb. I just singed my eyebrows when you lit that thing! 😉

    Wayne. Be gentle with yourself today. I’ll be thinking of you.

  6. I’ll also be thinking of you and your family today Wayne. Funerals suck, at least our family ones do, I hope the service for your brother is comforting.

    Some incidents from our family funerals:
    Estranged family member and wife show up the morning of, with no clothes to wear. I offer clothes but don’t have what wife wants to wear. They want money for shopping.
    MIL refuses to ride in car with husband’s ex and us. I make other arrangements for MIL, she complains at being excluded from “family” car.
    Multiple relatives refuse to receive communion due to diversity of friends in attendence.
    Redneck cousin’s children amuse themselves by shaking sodas and spraying them all over one of our bedrooms while cousin is drunk on front porch.

  7. Wayne I know this is painful for all of you, even though he was at home as you point out, the suddenness I would think would be the most difficult part to handle.

    What seems to me to be the most joyous part of all this is that you and your brother got to connect again before he passed…………..very few people, I think, get a second chance or a do over in life and it is especially gratifying that two brothers got one

    I will be holding you in my thoughts today as you walk this path…..

  8. A lone male Black Phoebe evidently has a choice spot for nesting – unfortunately no female seems to be heeding his call. (maybe it isn’t as fine a spot as he thinks – sigh)

    Latest round in the Tweet 16: Black-capped Chickadee: 1,533 ~ House Wren: 484.

    Round 1 Game 8: American Robin vs Downy Woodpecker
    (it’s a difficult choice) =;>

  9. Brunch With Bernie is on today instead of tomorrow. If you miss it live, try Colorado Progressive Talk AM 760 in three hours, or today’s show is usually available on the Ustream player at Thom, shortly after the conclusion of the live show.

  10. Zooey, that’s Heidi the cross-eyed oppossum (she’s a celebrity here in Germany). Reminds me of our other Heidi, which we successfully married off to a singer and shipped to the US.

  11. Outstanding I echo Z’s sentiment at your family funeral.

    Most of my relatives are atheists or agnostics – so the funerals aren’t formal. Heck they’re held in the backyard – remembering, laughing and crying all at the same time! Helps with the grieving. (‘ashes’ get sprinkled wherever the favorite spots were: Mom – ocean; 1 brother was a train enthusiast so look for him near the tracks. One – owned twenty acres so Kev’s everywhere on that acreage scattered by the wind).

    Thoughts are with Wayne, Jane and Wayne’s Mom!

    • ebb, the curiousest funeral was attended by my husband once. The demised had his ashes put into shotgun shells and shot from the shooting range. He had said that used to be the place where he was happiest. 🙄

  12. Sounds far more life affirming than my experiences Ebb. I did scatter my atheist mother and stepdad around my pond, even carried stepdad (a tractor repairman) down there on the tractor.

  13. Thank you, Everyone. Thank you very much.

    Outstanding, I am glad that many of those things are unlikely at this gathering. From what I have been told, there will be no clergy of any kind, as my brother wasn’t religious at all (and our family isn’t generally), no speeches, no public speaking. Just family and friends gathered to remember Eddie. And, having had the most recent contact with him, I imagine many people will want to speak with my mother and me.

    On a personal note, this will be a growing moment for me. This is the closest blood relative I’ve had die, and it was the first time I ever had to be the one to confirm what everyone feared – that someone wasn’t moving for a reason. I am grateful for my wife’s brother, Bob, who works at a cemetery and is quite familiar with how arrangements have to be made. (Bob is also married to my older sister. Yes, it’s legal.) Still, this is another stage in my personal growth as I get older (I’m 50 and the youngest of my sibling(s).) I’ll get through it.

    And thank you all for your support. It is very much appreciated. And my brother’s online community of fellow Farmville Neighbors have also been very supportive, and I thank them, too.

    I’ll see you all later.

      • I have to say I was sickened by what the pastor said at my Mom’s service. She went on and on about some biblical story about getting what was due her in heaven — as in riches.

        That was totally opposite to what my Mom was all about on this Earth. She was the most generous person I ever knew, and apparently her pastor thought that after death she would declare, “I want mine!” I was sitting there just horrified, and my churchy sister was sitting next to me nodding her head.

        I wasn’t asked my opinion about the service, since my dad handed the whole thing over to my churchy sister, but I would have put the brakes on that one. It certainly won’t happen again when my Dad dies.

  14. Wayne, best to you and your family. I’m sure everyone here knows all too well the pain of losing someone. The blessing is that the pain ameliorates after a spell and is replaced by memories, by those fond memories of events from earlier times. And too, we who are saddened by the moment can take immediate comfort in knowing that the deceased will never have to endure another pain of any kind, that all suffering is concluded.


  15. My final instruction is that whatever’s left of me be taken to a place deep in the forest, deep in wolf country. The pack needs the food, and I’ve long wondered what it would be like to wind up with last remnant traveling through the night on the wings of howls from the pack. Better than flying coach, for sure!

  16. I’ve been to a few funerals in the last few years where the minister used the service as an opportunity to try to “save” the people attending and have made clear to my own family that I find that extremely inappropriate.
    Frugal, becoming wolf food is extremely frugal of you. I understand. I want to rot and become soil nutrients.

    • My final instructions to my men are that I be cremated and scattered in the surf on the Oregon coast. No service. If people want to have a get-together, then it has to be a party with an open bar — my treat. 🙂

  17. Frugal – you and my Mom.
    She wanted just to be rolled off the Golden Gate Bridge so the fish would be fed – as they had fed her (she loved sea food).
    Your family, my friend, would certainly have a bit of an easier time – presumably no tourists in the middle of the forest!

    (as it was: she is still on her around the world cruise – we’d gone out three miles beyond the Bridge to send her on that final voyage)

  18. My alternate instruction is to be cremated, carried to a mountain meadow in E. Arizona (wolf country) called Butterfly Cienega, to be spread around in late spring. That way, parts of me might well end up becoming, by mid summer, parcel to wildflowers in full bloom. Food for deer, for elk; food for thought. Then, perhaps a pack of Mexican Grays will take down one of the deer of which I am now part, and then later that night there’s that howl again!

    The downside of that scenario is that a hunter might get the deer instead of the pack, and about an hour after a venison and been dinner around the campfire that night there would be no howl, only a burst of intestinal cowboy gas.

    The latter scenario assumes a world with no justice, of course. Worrisome, based on life’s experiences.

  19. Outstanding, in your own field I’d imagine you’d want to feed the soil?

    Out here we have ‘green’ cemeteries: no embalming; preferably no boxes; cotton shrouds if one wants to ‘cover up’.

    Forever Fernwood (yes that’s the name).

  20. Pivoting from funerals to something much more fun….

    David Frum, I believe, has seen through Obama’s spin:

    “[T]he U.S. mission is aimed at the overthrow of Qaddafi. The U.S. is engaged in sophisticated propaganda operations urging Qaddafi’s troops to turn on him. And it’s reported that the U.S. is negotiating with Qaddafi about a secure exit from Libya.

    In fact, the U.S. mission is as deeply concerned with European energy security as with the humanitarian crisis. Critics correctly point out that the US has managed to ignore many other humanitarian crises – and is in fact ignoring one right now in the Ivory Coast. This particular crisis is occurring in a country from which NATO ally Italy buys more than one-fifth of all its net oil imports and in which Britain has a very large investment. We are not going to war for oil. But we very rarely go to war without oil.”

  21. Nice segue badmoodman.

    I’d read about a leafleting campaign on-going in Libya.
    Found this article re: leafleting through the wars. It really doesn’t seem to be very useful – since we are still in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    This little gem spoke to me:

    In earlier years of the war in Afghanistan, the coalition dropped leaflets with pictures of burning World Trade Center towers accompanied by the words, “The coalition forces have come to Afghanistan to arrest those who were responsible for the terrorist attacks in the United States.” It had a message to militants on the flip side: “Members of Taliban and al-Qaida! We know where you are hiding.”

    apparently we know and will just allow you to stay there.

  22. From the ‘You gotta be shittin’ me” Department:,-on-subcommittee-for-Africa,-doesnt-know-Libya-is-in-Africa

    Today Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), as a member of the House Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, will be holding a hearing on “Libya: Defining U.S. National Security Interests.”

    And earlier this week, while getting in a few digs at President Obama, Marino told the Scranton Times-Tribune:

    “Where does it stop?” he said. “Do we go into Africa next? I don’t want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world.”

    Instead of attending the hearing, perhaps Marino should go to a remedial geography class.

  23. Isn’t that just the crown jewel, frugal? A person given an important position who doesn’t even know geography!


    Did you see, at Kos: only about 100 showed up for the big TeaPottier rally in DC?
    FauxSnooze blamed ‘the weather’ for the small turn out.

    Here’s Jed Lewison’s (for Daily Kos) thoughts on the turnout:

    Yeah, the weather really killed the rally. Just like the only reason the rallies were so big in Wisconsin was its gorgeous mid-winter weather (complete with sunny blue skies and palm trees!).
    Or here’s another thought: maybe the tea party fizzle has something to do with the fact that the tea party isn’t popular anymore.

  24. I don’t want to decompose naturally. Just cremate me in the fire and be done with it.

    Then I want some of my ashes spread on a fallen evergreen in some rainforest so I can become part of the nanny log for the next generation of trees. Perfect end (beginning?) for someone who believes in the “nanny state.”
    Spread some other ashes in a great river that leads to the ocean.
    Spread some other ashes to the wind.

    Earth, wind, fire, water… yeah, I like that.

  25. LL, advice from a former Arizonan in re having your ashes spread in “a great river that leads to the ocean”: Avoid, at all costs, the Agua Fria, the Verde, the Salt, the Gila, the Hassayampa, and the Colorado rivers! Their aim is fine and it’s all downhill to the Sea of Cortez and all, but your chances of reaching anywhere other than either a metro tap or a field of lettuce or cotton border on, maybe even define, NIL!

  26. Now that I think about it Liberty, wasn’t John Glenn a Republican???? Guess the moon’s out!!!

    John Glenn never set foot on the moon.

  27. “He (Glenn) became the fifth person in space and the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the “Mercury Atlas 6″ mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.”

  28. I have been to an number of funerals and by far the best part was the wake afterwords. But a most memorable event happened on the way to my Father in Law’s funeral about 5 years ago: My spouse had already gone ahead to help with the funeral decisions. My non-religious FIL had re-married a religious woman who had “saved” my FIL and they were planning the church service and choosing a casket, etc. My FIL and MIL had already planned their funerals many years before and bought plots, etc.

    I was driving the kids and myself on I-10 from Phoenix to Southern California this wasn’t spring, it was early summer and I don’t know the life-cycle of butterflies, but having made the trip several times before, but we have never experienced before or since on the drive that way. Most of the drive is desert as you might imagine, but there is a little flat farm land meadow area before you get to California that is refreshingly green. Sometimes you can see some orange poppies growing and so I didn’t think much about it at the time as we approached the area until as we drove up, there were thousands upon thousands of small yellow butterflies that seemed to envelope our car. They were everywhere! They had risen up almost all at once and just traveled with us for awhile. I had never seen so many butterflies in one field ever!

    I always like to think of that as my FIL’s way of sending his love from the “other side.” Funny thing for me to believe for someone who left the church long ago. But it was a comfort then, and it makes me smile to remember my FIL that way.

  29. Thanks for the advice, frugal! But hopefully I won’t be living in Arizona at the time of my passing. I don’t want my ashes spread here at all. Like Krissy, I want to rest in a more progressive place. 🙂

  30. I was in attendance at John Glenn’s ticker tape parade in New York City.
    All I remember was being on top of my dad’s shoulders so I could see.

  31. I was late for botany class the day Glenn splashed down; no choice, HAD to watch it. When I walked into class about 20 minutes after the bell, the prof interrupted his instruction and asked, “Did Glenn make it back safely?” Then he talked about orbits for a minute or two before he got back to the botany. That was a big, big day. Not quite moon landing big, but big.

  32. Raven, you had to be a young one in ’62 – what a great thing to have witnessed!

    LL what part of the country were your ‘growing up years’ spent?

  33. If push came to shove, LL, you could try a cienega in the Blue Range south of Alpine. The elk and deer there, also the bears, the wolves, the mountain sheep — all are progressive Democrats who would love to see, more than anything else, the repeal of the second amendment. Not an NRA’er amongst them. 😉

  34. It looks like American Robin vs. Downy Woodpecker is turning into another lopsided contest. Despite the robin’s general popularity, it’s getting trounced by the Downy to the tune of 500 votes…

  35. Just be careful not to venture across the AZ-NM line into Catron Co. (NM).
    They’re all NRA members there.
    Or worse…

  36. I had to go in and renew the license on my truck today at the local DMV office. Big sign at the front door stated that due to budgetary cutbacks the number of clerks available might lead to long wait times. Instead of the usual 6 clerks there were only three. And a bunch of grumbling citizens.

  37. They have to survive somehow, frugal.
    The bartenders and convenience store owners are in on it, cause Elks can drink a lot…

  38. frugal, a good friend of mine is an Elk and he has been suggesting I become one as well. Problem is they are trying to get an Elk hunting season here in Wi so I think I’ll pass. 😉

  39. Ebb…. I spent the majority of my growing up years in the panhandle of Texas. With a short sojourn to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area before returning to the Panhandle.

  40. The happiest elk in the world live in Rocky Mountain National Park. No hunting there. The most vicious elk haters in the world live on the fringe of RMNP and detest the nightly overflow onto THEIR golf courses. Damn grazers. Good thing elk pellets are brown and not white like golf balls, else golfers would leave the 3-iron home and stuff a 30 caliber into the bag instead.

    There have been sharpshooters turned loose in the park to ‘thin the herd’. If it were up to me I’d simply reintroduce wolves and within a few short years all would be in balance. And the sharpshooters would be after me instead.

    Who was it first said humans were the “intelligent” species?

  41. “Who was it first said humans were the “intelligent” species?”
    It wasn’t an animal..

    Reminds me of the sign:
    “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink”
    You only see this sign in the homes of drinkers…

  42. “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink”

    Oh, I’ll be looking for that sign, tout de suite. Nothing like a drunken fool in ones life, eh?

  43. Given the choice of a rancher or a wolf as a neighbor, I’ll take the wolf any day of the week. Safety first is my motto.

    The last wolf attack on a human that I’m aware of was the time that wolf ate little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma.

    Ranchers, not so sure. And yes, wolves do sometimes eat cows. Only question is, do they eat ENOUGH of the damn things?

  44. Last I checked there has not been a single documented attack on a human by a wolf in North America. I guess we must taste bad or something.

  45. “…said that their livestock range is so vast that ranchers need a program for compensation that does not require a direct verification, he told the committee.”

    Two things came to mind:

    ~ First: We are cattlemen trust us when we report a loss and need monetary compensation.

    ~Second may appear removed from this yet seems relevant: my thought on not trusting women who make a decision to end a pregnancy. The Repugnant ones want the IRS to investigate abortion.

    [I’m still looking to see if these cattlemen are grazing on federal land – why should they be allowed to double dip (free or nearly free land grazing and compensation for annihilating a gorgeous, helpful species)

  46. The first wolf crossed into Oregon in 1999. Wildlife managers confirm 39 domestic animals have been killed by wolves since.

    39 in twelve years? It’s an epidemic of wolf kills! Oh, and the article says coyotes kill 10 times the number killed by wolves.

    I say the ranchers should switch to (and appropriate breed of) sheep and get some good sheep dogs (of the appropriate species).

  47. Reminds me of a story about two wolf brothers. One lived in New Mexico, the other in Texas. There was a severe drought, and the edible populations of deer and elk, even of cattle, decreased drastically. Times were hard.

    Every year, the brothers met on or near the state line. The first meeting in the severe drought was revealing. The Texas wolf was lean, ribs showing, bedraggled. The New Mexico wolf was healthy and glistening. Texas brother asked, “How come y’all look so good? Ain’t it dry where you live?”

    “Oh, yeah, dry as hell. No deer or elk to be seen, no cows, hardly even any rabbits.”

    “How come y’all look so good, then? You don’t look hungry at all and me, I’m like starvin’.”

    “I eat people. They can’t run fast at all so they’re easy to catch, don’t taste all that bad, and there are way too many of them around anyway.”

    “People. Yeah, I’ve seen ’em. Dumb as hell, walk on two legs, right?”

    “Right. And easy to sneak up on. Just be quiet, come up from behind, snarl and leap, and bingo. Suppertime.”

    They parted company, agreed to meet again next year, same time, same spot.

    And so they did. The New Mexico wolf was still hale and hearty, the Texas wolf so bedraggled, so weak he could hardly stand. Skin and bones. New Mexico wolf said, “Man, you look terrible! How come?”

    “Nothin’ to eat,” the Texas wolf muttered.

    “What? I thought you were going to do like I do and eat people? You ain’t got no people in Texas?”

    “Oh, we got people, lots of people. Problem is, I done like you said, and you’re right. Sneak up from behind on a Texan, that’s easy. Snarl and jump, catch ’em, that’s easy too. Problem is, near as I can tell, right the second they see you comin’ at ’em, it scares the shit out of them. And then there ain’t nothin’ left to eat.”

  48. Hey Zooey, you can cross-post ANYTHING I put on my blog, ANYTIME—-even if you want to then tear apart whatever I’ve written because you disagree with my viewpoint or argument or I’ve got my facts wrong, on whatever subject matter it happens to be. 😀

    Sorry, just in and out today this second.

    Hi to all, and um bye to all, see you later, next time for longer.

  49. Good News; Bad News:

    To many Libyan people, the biggest question mark about Gadhafi does not involve his repressive and dictatorial rule, delusional statements or brazen lies. Behind closed doors, for years, they’ve wondered if he is Jewish. Last week the issue came out in the open, as NBC’s Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish.

    • Ebb, the difference being that Raven is handy and do repairs and stuff himself.

      But, I just talked to Boyd the Handy Man (that’s what he calls himself), and we’re set. 🙂

  50. Last week the issue came out in the open, as NBC’s Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish.

    And they don’t believe he was born in Libya and they claim he refuses to show his birth certificate.

  51. This is by far the best journalistic analysis of conservative chicanery I’ve ever run across. From the “October Surprise” forward through the current day, the story unfolds and manages to shock even a long-time pessimist such as myself with its effective indictments of Reagan, HWBush, Israel, and numerous other players. What a bunch of bastards those guys were. No wonder the country is in the sewer.

    It’s lengthy, but well worth the time it takes to read.

    A Two-Decade Detour into Empire

    By Robert Parry (A Special Report)
    March 31, 2011

  52. While watching Lawrence O’D today, there was an ad for Their tagline is, “Find God’s Match For You.” Srsly.

    Who knew, God is Dolly Levi.

    • Jeebus, those people will fall for anything, as long as someone puts a “god” tag on it.

      “It’s God’s match for you, so if he beats you up every Friday night, you just better suck it up. Don’t be disappointing God, now.”

  53. Shouldn’t depress you Zooey. It’s well-written, very informative and well-documented. Journalism. There were, to me, a number of surprises that caught my attention and made infinite sense when I tagged them onto what I know, what I had observed.

    The sadness is that the bastards of the right wing got away with it, and still are getting away with it.

  54. The sadness is that the bastards of the right wing got away with it, and still are getting away with it.

    And why wouldn’t this be depressing?

  55. Frugal, I vacillate between being mad, angry, fatalistic and hopeful and confident that there is still time to turn things around.

    What kills me is that the Republican State congresses are systematically undoing every gain that made the middle class great in this country. And yet people are still willing to vote for them. Now, THAT’S depressing.

  56. What’s worse, LL, is they’re doing it at the behest of the corporate oligarchy, that nest of filthy rich bandits that has assumed control of the country. I have to believe it’s all part of the grand plan to eventually do away with the Constitution, with the Middle Class, with public education, with all social assistance programs, to finally install and enforce a new government, one I like to refer to as Fascism Nouveau, or Fascism American Style. The individual is, to them, a work resource that serves no other purpose, useful or otherwise.

    Call it a page out of Mussolini’s book.

    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.

    “The Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [which denies] the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual.”

    “American Style” simply means that the corporate oligarchy took over the state rather than the more traditional other way around. No difference in end result, though, practically speaking.

    Can we still fight it off? Two years ago I thought maybe. Today? Not nearly so optimistic.

  57. Holy mother of gawd. saints preserve us – Eric Cantor is a total LOON. Jeesus between he, Bachmann and the ‘new guys’ in town – we’ll be damn lucky to have a country to run by the end of the year.
    Boner just kind of nonchalantly slid in there to mop up the urine that ran down Cantor’s leg…

  58. Frugal I mirror your pessimism tonight. Hopefully things will look better tomorrow for me. I thought that people might be waking up but without a tax on the super-rich and soon, I don’t have much hope for a peaceful outcome to all of this.

    Don’t go quietly into that good night. Rage, Rage against the dying of the light. (yeah, I know this poem is about death, but it seems to fit.)

    Something you should check out:

  59. LL – its only going to end in a revolution….. this place will make Libya look like a kindergarten playground argument when it does…

    “The class war is on, my side is making war… and we’re winning…”

    – Warren Buffet

  60. Frugal, good and plausible analysis of the Likud-Reagan/Bush deep-sixing of the US national interest in their own self-interest.

  61. Random – It’s All Teal this evening – 4-0 in the 3rd – let’s go Sharks 13 min. to go.

    [Marleau – 35th goal of the season]

  62. TtT – oh, I see – should have used Randoms full name Random Chaos – sorry that was a bit confusing.

    Ice Hockey. Sharks now lead 5-0. The Dallas Stars have only shown up – they aren’t really playing. Geesh Sharks just scored again- 6 – 0.

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