Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Beautiful crisp weather, eh? All the animals are moving with the seasonal changes, making sightings easier to make. I got to watch a flock of wild turkey's move across the hillside below the house just now. I lost precious seconds hunting down the monster binocs I keep in the living room for just such opportunities. The glass wall of the house lets us see lots of things out there, but it also lets those things see us. As I was moving to get the binocs, the birds saw me and ambled off in a slow but determined waddle. I was too far away to pose a threat but they like their privacy so off they went to someplace neither of us could watch the other.

Two days ago I was walking up the new road and nearly knocked over by one as twenty or so turkeys scattered out of the food plot when the dogs showed up, uninvited. These are very big birds when they are coming right at you. They have a tiny brain, though, and don't sem to be able to flee from two things at the same time. Worried about the dogs, they took off at high speed. Did you know that a turkey is the fastest acceleratng beast on this planet? My wildlife book claims they can go from zero to 50 in less than a second. I don't know how fast they were going but they seemed a bit helter skelter to escape the dogs and took off in all directions. I was still below the field so they couldn't see me and ignored me until the last second, when they veered off. I had already ducked and missed the closest part of the encounter as I covered my head awaiting the impact. Nothing happened and I survived, luckily. A fifteen to twenty pound projectile with six foot wings coming right at you at high speed is a sight to behold. I wish I had stood my ground a little longer, but I chickened out.

I am hoping for a cold winter. We have lots of firewood to burn, and cold winters drive more eagles south to our gorge for the winter. They get very social at times, sitting on the cliffs chattering away if the weather is ugly. Foggy days shut down their airport too, and they sit in the high trees screeching to each other about the lousy flight conditions. Eagle talk is joyous to the soul if not pleasant to the ears. Sounds more like one of those Monte Python routines with the old ladies cackling about a "penguin on the telly" than the majestic symbol of America. We have one juvenile that is getting his color this fall. He/she should be in fine form by late winter and ready to start dating. I'll keep you posted.

Natural History magazine has a fascinating article on the sex lives of scales insects that should send convulsions through the local creationism cult. It is the highest indightment of our schools that critical thinking is so neglected and even opposed here. I have seen it called "evil"...yep, in an email sent to me about evolution. The indonesian fossil of a small humanoid has got the creationists cackling right now. I'll try to round up a few samples of how they fit it in to biblical "truth" and report back.

Wow! From right here in East Tennesse, we have a thinking person in the Press. Well. the alternative Press anyway. This guy writes for the Metro Pulse and has a great idea for a compromise on the "gay marriage" thing:

In keeping with the spirit of the political season, I am now willing to compromise on one of my dastardly liberal positions. Certain elements of our society are seeking to insure the sanctity of (their view of) marriage by writing a constitutional amendment that describes marrige as a legal union between one man and one woman. Their purpose is to deny gays (and general contrarions I suppose) the ability to marry someone they love who happens to be of the same gender as they.

Ok. I'm willing to support their constitutionally defined version of marrige if (ok, big IF) and only if they will agree to one little change that I have in mind. In actuality, the change I would make to the amendment would further strengthen the sanctity of marriage. The only possible downside is that it requires one to have faith in their verbalized convictions. That isn't going to be a problem for you good Christians out there is it? No? Good.

Now go read the whole thing and laugh out loud:

From our "Recount" Department, this little doozy that may reverse a Congressional election in Indiana:

Last week, Rock Island, Ill.-based election equipment vendor Fidlar Election Co. acknowledged that some of its vote-scanning machines counted straight Democratic ticket votes as Libertarian votes.


"...this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable."...Colin Powell at the U.N. concerning the biological weapons of Saddam Hussein, which turn out to be nonexistant.

I'll just let you go here for yourself. Some folks still think Colin is one of the good guys, but personally, I don't know. If he really had the right stuff he would have resigned before the election. We'll see:


Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" thus building a wall of eternal separation between Church & State. Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect

Benjamin Franklin

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