Archive - Feb 2006

February 14th

Out of wood

With the thermometer slated to drop dramatically for the next few days, I thought I had better get some wood sawn. The pile I put up last fall has run out.

A couple of days ago, I decided to saw up some big ash logs which have been laying around for a few years. Easy pickins, I thought. Well, they dulled the saw in a hurry. And the resulting firewood has been behaving funny. It burns, but it doesn't form coals. It just disappears. So, when I come in the morning to load more wood, there's nothing to start the fire.

February 13th

Hymn sing

Here is a snippet of the event this weekend which inspired me to write a column on singing together. With my father's first cousin Roy visiting from California, I decided to host a gathering at my house for the rest of the cousins. Here is my brother Joe, bass, Dad, baritone, Aunt Ede, melody, and cousin Roy. Mom, not pictured, was on piano. Cousins Ilene and Marlene, Uncle Orville and Aunt Olla also sang.

February 11th


Broke my usual pledge to avoid popular movies last night and attended Brokeback Mountain. It is a pretty darned good movie, beautifully made, well-acted, thought-provoking, debate-stirring, and so on--but above all, artistic.

The austere ranch scenery, houses, trailer homes, bars and restaurants memorably rendered. If you love the mountain west--and not just the scenery, but the culture--you'll like the movie. If you like beautiful camera work, this movie has two hours of it.

February 10th

Magic words

In this drab time of year, I heard a phrase which darn near made my spine tingle with excitement yesterday: Spring training starts in a week.

Wow, that means spring is on its way. And the most magical thing about spring, with apologies to the gardeners out there, is the beginning of baseball season.

February 9th


Frankly, I find this cartoon snafu darkly funny. The humorless are killing each other over cartoons. There has to be some irony there.

It amazes me that people think there is some right not to be offended. If you don't like what is in a book, don't read it. If you don't like what's on TV, don't watch it. If you don't like a cartoon, don't buy the newspaper which prints it. Vote with your feet. But for goodness sake, don't try to prevent others from seeing the funny stuff.

February 8th


Long-term readers of this weblog might remember last fall when I wrote about what I saw as horrible abuses in a farm exchange worker program. One of the workers was Cassio, who worked for me. When I took Cassio to California to meet with other Brazilian students on the program, I found out how little they had been paid ($300 per month) to work, in many cases, more than sixty hours per week. They lived in squalorous conditions and some were also physically abused.

February 7th

Iran so far away

Here are some of the details of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's view of the world. Apparently, his favorite prophet is going to return to earth after a period of bloody destruction and usher in a millenium of peace.

Feeder frenzy

The peculiar-postured nuthatch rarely sits upright long enough for a photo, but this one was hungry enough to sit still on the feeder peg for a second or two.

February 6th

Spinning wheels

Went for a drive again tonight because I thought the sky looked intriguing and thought for sure that I would eventually find something to put in front of the sky. This was the best I could come up with, about six miles east of here.

Earlier in the day, I tried to saw some firewood. The new Caterpillar with the tracks is in for maintainance, so I used one of the old Mitey Macs, and it was a disaster, as it usually is.

February 5th


Well, Mick Jagger, 62, Keith Richards, 62, Charlie Watts, 64, and Ron Wood, 58, can still outdo any other rock and roll band in a live show. The Rolling Stones provided the first worthwhile half-time Superbowl show I have ever seen. Wholesome, too!

Now I can turn the game off.