Archive - 2005

December 23rd

Thai Orchid

While in Fargo finishing Christmas shopping (doing the whole works at once is closer to the truth), Lance and I went to the Thai Orchid, a new restaurant on First Avenue North in Moorhead.

The restaurant is in an old Hardee's which has been redone in a very tasteful way. Comfortable booths. Good lighting. Plenty of space, yet cozy.

Syre elevator

December 22nd

Dazed chickadee

Now that the chickadees and the nuthatches have discovered the bird feeder, there is a thump against the window about once per hour during the daylight. Some thumps are not direct hits, but others seem pretty violent. The finches didn't hit the window, but they haven't been around this morning. Apparently, the chickadees and nuthatches drove them off.

Flu, continued

Have gotten a couple of more phone calls with information about the family which died of the flu near here. Apparently, it was either five or seven people who died. The son came home from World War I to find half of them dead, and the other half nearly so.

After they all died, the son found all kinds of money in the mattresses (the old man didn't trust banks) and went out and bought himself a Model T. He married a local girl. They moved to Moorhead where he was the janitor at Concordia College for decades.

December 21st

Poor Saddam

Today, Saddam Hussein is claiming that Americans beat he while he was in their custody. This was in response to the claim by witnesses that his henchmen tortured villagers by pouring molten plastic on their skin and ripping it off.

Of course, I have absolutely no sympathy for Saddam. Part of me hopes he's had his toenails ripped off.

December 20th

Chickadees and nuthatches

For the first three weeks I have been feeding the birds, my only customers were the goldfinches. They are cute little things with a preference for thistle seed.

This morning, I heard banging on the window. The finches never hit the window, so I assumed something new had arrived. Turns out both chickadees and nuthatches found the sunflower seeds this morning--and the nuthatches aren't real bright about the window thing.

Snooping

President Bush has been staunchly defending his wiretapping "program," which involved illegal tapping of the phones of American citizens by the NSA, a secret spy agency which is supposed to limit its snooping to outside the borders of the country.

The real puzzle here is why Bush chose to ignore the normal procedure set up by Congress--which is hardly restrictive. You can wiretap and then get a warrant retroactively up to 72 hours later and still be within the law. But Bush chose to ignore that stipulation and go it on his own, once again saying "trust me."

December 19th

A shot in the cold

Decided to turn on every light in the house, bundle up, and go outside with a tripod and try to capture the house at sunset. This time of year can be beautiful if one catches it at the right time of day, and in the right light.

A dissident

A former Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, now living in England, cannot believe that there is even a debate whether or not to torture in a civilized democracy. In this article, he gives the best arguments yet why torture should not be allowed.

Correction

When I stopped by the Fertile Hilton to visit Aunt Olla on Friday, another old-timer flagged me down. He had a comment about my column on the flu.

Turns out he knew the neighbor family who died of the flu. My numbers were a little high. He said there could have been others nearby who died, too, so he wasn't sure. But the one survivor was the one who had gone away to fight the war. He came home to find his family gone. He married a cousin of the man in the nursing home and moved away for good.