Archive - Jan 2006


This year is the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The year will be filled with Mozart concerts, tributes, radio shows, and so on. Most music writers are weighing in with tributes, but one critic will have no part of the love-fest. Although I am not so sour on Mozart, I do enjoy this line:

Of voles and moles

Weblog reader Jerrianne from Alaska writes that the little brown furball shown below is actually a redback vole, while the pink snouted thing is probably a mole. Research on the web confirms that she is correct. Type in "redback vole" on google images and all kinds of those little furballs show up. And the only thing with a pink snout is a mole.

January 30th


I love trains, but even more, I love train whistles. They are an echo from the past. I am against city ordinances, such as the one recently proposed in Fargo, that would ban trains from sounding their whistles in town.

When I was in the dorm at UND, I could hear the trains banging together and apart in the train yard just across campus. I also could hear the whistles, but I was convinced at the time and still am that the whistles sound different, and better, in Fargo.


After a particularly busy day at the bird feeder, things got quiet mid-afternoon. The dozens of finches and redpoles, the two nuthatches, the blue jay, the handful of chickadees and the woodpeckers all left. I stood by the window waiting for their return when I noticed (and heard through the microphone) this little fur ball.

January 29th


I took this picture when my speedometer was on 57 mph, and this kid was passing me. I suppose taking pictures while driving is as bad as using a cell phone.

January 28th


Happy 65th birthday today to Uncle Rolly, pictured here with Aunt Jean. Rolly is retired from the rat race of corporate America but has now started a timber business in southern Indiana which keeps him busy doing just what he likes, working with wood in all its stages.

New visitors

Yesterday, redpoles showed up at the feeder for the first time.

The finches are more numerous, but generally it seems as though the redpoles are given equal access to the feeders. When the woodpecker shows up, however, everybody else leaves.

A heartening example of inter-species harmony at the bird feeder.

January 27th

Good article

This article in the Washington Post Magazine comes via my mother, who read about it at the website of James Lileks, who writes a blog called the "Daily Bleat." Lileks is a wonderful writer, so when he says a piece is "Pulitzerian," I believe it. But, as he said, you have to stick with this one. It probably takes half an hour to read, and it is worth it.


Whenever I imagined having a telephoto lens, I thought about how I would use it to make sense of the windbreaks in the Red River Valley. Today was my first chance. The results were mixed. I was frustrated by how restricted the view through the telephoto was, but that is inevitable.

January Color

As a kid, I remember squinting at the Christmas tree so it blurred and looked even more ethereal. This evening over at Mom and Dad's, I was sitting on the couch aiming the telephoto out onto their deck where there still are three potted spruce trees lit with Christmas lights. The telephoto did the squinting for me.