Archive - 2005

December 12th

Capital punishment

The Governator of California has to decide today whether to grant clemency to death row inmate Tookie Williams, who is due to die at midnight tonight.

If I had such power, I would grant blanket clemency to every death row inmate just to make sure that nobody innocent died on my watch. You can't reverse an execution. Innocent people have been convicted of crimes in the past, and will continue to be so convicted in the future.

December 10th

Pryor and McCarthy

The comedian Richard Pryor and the politician/philosopher Eugene McCarthy both died today. The news broke when I happened to be watching CNN. Oddly, they had a live interview with Pryor's grief-stricken widow who had tried to give her husband, who was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis, CPR before the paramedics arrived.

I couldn't listen to the entire interview. I thought it was unbecoming of CNN to put her on live and ask, "so, what happened?" only a couple of hours after her husband died. But, that's journalism.

Christmas lights

I have never so much as put up a single Christmas decoration in a house of mine in my life--until today. A couple of days ago, I saw some nice lights at Target for only $5.99 for 25 feet. I bought four strands. They are larger, frosted bulbs, very pretty.

Brought them home. Started putting them up. The end of the strand of lights dropped down onto the stairway. One bulb burst sending glass all over. I put in a new bulb, stolen from one of the other strings. The whole strand, which I stapled in place on the wood railing of the loft, still refuses to light.

108 Cottonwood

Weblog reader Adele sends a couple of stunning photos of my favorite cottonwood, and hers, on Minnesota Highway 108 north of Rothsay.

I think one could fill a gallery with photos of this tree throughout the various seasons. It is the very picture of elegance, strength, solitude, dignity--and exuberance. Adele, you live closer to the tree than I, so I am afraid the seasonal cycle will be yours to capture.

December 8th

Winter meetings

That's where trades happen in baseball--when the general managers get together at some hotel in a warm climate and talk shop. It is called the Hot Stove League, the winter meetings, as well as the tradition of baseball fans sitting around the hot stove at the general store in the winter discussing what their team should do to improve itself.

On the swamp

Spent part of the morning walking around the perimeter of the swamp in front of the house. It is so much larger than it seems from the shore. There is a lot of open water, and I am convinced it is frozen enough to support the skid steer loader. We'll see if I dare try it.

Here is a rotten stump on the ice of the swamp. I took a lot of photos today with the bright sunshine, but most of them were disappointing.

December 7th

Lake Park Lutheran

Tonight I performed at the Christmas party at Lake Park Lutheran Church. My Uncle Bob was pastor there for 17 years before passed away from cancer eight years ago. He was much-loved, both by his family and his congregation, so I wasn't surprised to see a good crowd--which included many faces familiar to me from that time.

Given Bob's popularity, I could have probably read out of the phone book for 40 minutes and nobody would have noticed. As it was, I told some stories about Bob--about the times I brought Grandpa and Grandma down to Lake Park to hear him preach.

Forced photos

This weblog gets dreary without photos. Trouble is, it is just plain dreary outside. It is difficult to find any photo opportunities which would brighten things up in here.

So, I gravitated towards the artificial colors in the junkyard in the woods.

Here is an old seeder which hasn't been used for a few years.

December 6th


A few days ago while sitting in the crow's nest, I noticed a large weasel-like animal bouncing around the swamp. It came right up near the house. I got a good look at it with the binoculars. Turns out it is a fisher. Neighbor Gary has trapped several, so I learned from him that they are in the area.

Fishers don't fish. They specialize in eating the belly out of porcupines. They are nasty and clever, like wolverines. Despite being about twenty pounds maximum, they can take down a deer.

Out on the swamp again

It was last year about this time that I put the skid steer through the ice on the swamp. Since that time, we got a new Caterpillar skid steer with rubber tracks. Today I went out on the ice again, although I stayed very near the edge. There's just too much beautiful firewood out there on the edge of the swamp to resist.

I didn't go through, but I came up with a new problem unique to the Cat.