Birds of La Crosse River Marsh

A week ago, we took our first Limo ride of the season on the La Crosse River Trail, which crosses a few miles of marsh as it leaves town. I packed the “good” camera, just in case…

On our way out, we saw blue herons, egrets, and Canada geese… the usual suspects. As we stopped at our favorite bench, a sandhill crane passed closely overhead.

Once I got the camera out, they all hunkered down…

A heron and an egret stay low and far away, out of reach of our long lens.

A sandhill crane alongside the bike trail suspiciously watches human activity a quarter mile away.

After we got on our bike for the trip home, we were greeted by geese with a group of newly hatched young. The cranes and the egrets came closer.

Then on the city marsh, we saw this:

A flock of pelicans forages for food on the La Crosse Marsh.

Thankfully, after a day of watching the “usual suspects” keep their distance, the unusual visitors came close to say “Hello.”

A DNC Perk

It appears that having been a delegate to the DNC got me on the White House (at least Obama’s White House) Holiday Card List. It was a Really Cool surprise to find this in the mailbox this morning:

Hi Mom!

I grew up reading MAD magazine, and a common element of portrayals of crowd shots on TV was someone holding a sign that said, “Hi Mom!” I started thinking about this after coming home from the Democratic National Convention, around the time the emails and text messages started coming in that started with, “I saw Obbie on…”

The first such message came from RoZ’s brother on the Sunday evening after the convention. He had seen me in a report on a Showtime political show, and offered the following image:

onShowtime

I remembered the camera coming by as I sat along the aisle during roll call Tuesday night, which was confirmed in the brief video clip he sent along to show the context… a clip where my mug was visible for about a quarter-second.

So while my brother-in-law was ribbing me about my “fifteen minutes of fame”, it wasn’t even fifteen frames, and most people didn’t even notice.

I found some other stuff while looking around for a video that I still haven’t found. On the first night, I was in the second row up from the main floor and watched as a CBS News crew set up to interview someone in the first row, directly in front of me. While the crew was live, I remembered this advice from George Carlin:

This is something you can do for practical…humor. Do this on television; if you can get into a kind of a side of a television story…, the kind of thing where you’re not the center of attention ’cause they’ll edit you out if you do this as the center speaker. You must be on the sideline. And what you do is you don’t say this, but you move your lips to it. And what you move your lips to is- “I hope all you stupid ******* lip readers are looking in!”

So I tried that. I also mouthed the words, “Hi, Rozie.” As the crew was setting up, I sent her a text that read, “go to CBS,” and a few minutes later a text came back that read, “I just saw you, love.” I never did find any video of the interview that took place right in front of me that night, but while looking for it I found this:

noTPP_night1

This was found in the online version of USA Today (embedded in an article about the hell we raised at Ron Kind’s appearance before the Wisconsin delegation breakfast on Wednesday). While the guy to my left was going ape-shit every time a speaker mentioned Hillary’s name, every camera in the building seemed to converge upon him.

The next day, a friend emailed us a smartphone-picture of a page from the dead-tree version of the New York Times containing the same picture (Page B4 on Wed, 7/27). On Monday of this week, we received the actual paper in the mail, so I upgraded the picture a bit:

NYT_20160727_B4_combo

Unfortunately, the caption said the picture was taken outside. A correction was requested, and one was issued about a week after the story ran.

A picture caption on June 27 with the Economic Scene column, about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, misidentified the location of the photograph showing delegates to the Democratic National Convention protesting the agreement. It was taken on the floor of the convention hall, the Wells Fargo Center — not outside the building.

Did they really say “June 27” when the image was published on July 27? The Old Grey Lady is slipping.

Relaxing at home one evening last week, we watched one of Bill Maher’s shows from convention week, and during the “New Rules” segment we saw this:

onBillMaher

It looks like I was trying really hard to make it clear that I was not with this guy.

Just to complete the collection of what I’ve found so far is this one that I came across yesterday (Tuesday):

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I was there for four days, but nearly all the pictures I find of myself in the media were taken within seconds of each other. And the only reason I show up at all is because I was sitting next to a camera magnet.

I know there are at least three videos out there where I was directly interviewed on-camera. The first was taken on the second day while I was sitting on the aisle in my green & gold tie-dye, but I have no idea who the crew was with. On the fourth day I was interviewed in the hallway by “Italian TV”, and on the floor by “Norwegian TV”. If anyone happens to have copies of these videos, I’d love to see them, if only to find out whether they translated my comments correctly.

Now that I’m home, seeing myself in the media isn’t that much of a thrill relative to the feeling I get when I watch news reports as DNC events reverberate thru the country. For instance, I keep seeing clips of Michelle Obama or the Khan couple, and as I realize how these events are now part of political history, it blows me away to remember that I was actually there.

Trump: The New Profanity

There’s a carnival clown on our TVs. His surname is the word you get when you merge tush and rump. Since those words are synonymous with each other, the merged word must also be a synonym of tush and rump.

I suggest we use this new word to replace another synonym – a word that some consider vulgar even though it appears in so much of our common lexicon. It would give us a way to say these things in “polite company.”

For instance:

Be careful in the winter or you might “slip and fall on your trump.”

When faced with an annoying and difficult task, you could call it, “a pain in the trump.”

One that is willing to vote for the carnival clown could be said to “have his head up his trump.”

A football coach could encourage a player to hustle by yelling, “Get the lead out of your trump.”

Before the big game, that coach could end his pre-game pep talk with, “Now go out there and kick some trump!”

Hopefully by now you’re thinking up more of these on your own, and laughing your trump off as you do so. Have a good weekend!

BONUS ADDENDUM: Some years ago, a sitting US Senator had his surname turned into a disgusting profanity. It would be easy to build a sentence containing both of these new words, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Our Cat is a Basket Case

A few days ago, I found Gizmo taking a nap in a very odd position, and in a very odd place.

Double Rainbow Over purplearth

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When the sun came out during a rain shower, we knew there had to be a rainbow someplace.

This image is a three-frame composite, looking east from our back yard this afternoon.

We didn’t notice the faint outer rainbow until we looked at the pictures.

After a week of rain, this was a good sign going into the weekend.

The Bridge Gallery

A newspaper we read online occasionally puts out a call for photos on a particular theme.

One such “assignment” was for “The World’s Best Bridges”, and it was enough to motivate me to dig thru our bridge pictures. The assignment description said that they weren’t looking for “iconic” bridges (though we have some of them, too), but for those that “make the business of crossing … an experience unlike any other.” I take that to mean “quirky”, and quirky is what we do. Read on

Twenty Years Ago Today

RoZ and I on our first “date”, October 1, 1993…

Obbie and RoZ take a little boat ride on a lake outside Kansas City, MO on October 1, 1993.

Obbie and RoZ take a little boat ride on a lake outside Kansas City, MO on October 1, 1993.

While living in Philadelphia, I used some vacation time to visit some friends in Kansas City. I stayed with a couple who took me to an event the night before, which was where I met RoZ for the first time.

On our first full day together, the four of us (five actually, as they had a toddler that came along) took a drive into the country, where we found a couple of boats available for paddling around.

We’re still as happy as we were that day, even though we’ve never been in a rowboat since.

New Jewelry for Peregrine Falcons

I work one day a week at the US Bank Building in La Crosse, which has a nesting box for peregrine falcons. There is now a camera in the box, and the image from that camera is on a screen in the building’s lobby…

Two newly hatched peregrine falcons in a nesting box mounted to the top of the US Bank Building in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, are visible on a live display in the bank lobby.

Seeing the new baby falcons reminded us that we had some video of the banding of an earlier hatching of falcons that took place a few years back. This motivated us to edit the video we shot that day, and it’s finally “in the can”…

A Bite Out of the Sun

It’s rare enough to see a partial solar eclipse, but to have it happening during sunset is a photo-opportunity that can’t be passed up…

A partially eclipsed sun peeks below the cloud layer before setting over the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on May 20, 2012

It was cloudy all day today. I made a special trip to Riverside Park in La Crosse not knowing whether I’d ever see the setting sun. It appeared from behind the cloud bank just as I arrived, then sank below the horizon five minutes later, but not before I managed to capture this image.