Wild Wild Life

Here are a couple of the wild critters around the new house.

Someday when I get my trail camera I’ll see if those paw prints in the mud were dog or coyote.

Until then, birds!

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

Pileated woodpecker. There is at least one pair of these in the neighborhood. I’ve seen them together a few times while out running. This guy was perforating a tree about 20′ from my desk.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

This little fellow is a blue grosbeak. He’s a regular at the ground under the feeder – picking up what the swarms of sloppy sparrows throw on the ground.

Took me a long time to ID him since all of my books and all of the pics on the web say that a blue grosbeak should be bright blue, like a bluebird. This guy is so dark he looks black without binoculars or a big zoom lens.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

Good old mourning dove, hiding his tail behind a clump of dirt.

That’s what our ‘yard’ looks like. It’s bare Carolina clay, absolutely overflowing with rocks. Not sure what we’re going to do with it yet.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

Lots of hummingbirds – including one that keeps getting stuck in our garage. Luckily, she’ll land on the end of a broom so I can shuttle her outside without much drama.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

Sometimes, they perch in the tree above the feeder and wait to attack any other hummingbirds who come close.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm

Here’s a nice pair of tits. (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!!!)

A big-ass vulture and I had a stare-off last weekend. As I was walking out of the garage, he flew across the driveway and landed in a tree, about 20 feet up. He got bored with me after a couple of minutes and whooshed off to find something stinky to stick his head in.

Shocking. I’m so shocked.

Turns out that the use of so-called “defeat devices” to cheat federal emissions standards isn’t just relegated to four-wheeled vehicles made by Volkswagen. Harley-Davidson today agreed to settle charges it violated the Clean Air Act by paying $15 million, as well as buying back and destroying nearly 340,000 “super tuners” that emit higher amounts of certain air pollutants than what the company certified to EPA.

Cool Story, Brah

A Brazilian police official is telling The Associated Press that American swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing probe.

He said that around 6 a.m. on Sunday, Lochte, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom. It was locked.

A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said.

The official says the guard was armed with a pistol, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.

According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they did pay him an unknown amount of money and then left.

Entitled idiots.

The Star

Ho ho ho! boys and girls!

Here’s a lovely little short story sent in from Mr. A. C. Clarke, late of Minehead, England. It’s called “The Star“, and I hope it helps you remember the reason for the season!

Ho ho ho!

Better Than Winning

Why would a candidate want to continue behaving in a way that fires up a very large and very committed following even if it continually hurts his chances of winning an election? And why would a candidate bring on-board a guy who created a wildly successful TV “news” empire (even if he was ousted over sexual harassment charges)? Why would that candidate also bring on-board one of the heads of a wildly successful web “news” company?

Well, maybe that candidate’s real plan is to lose the election but leave himself with a rather large and very faithful following and the advice of a couple of wildly successful media guys to help him spin that following into a news-faux-tainment gig. Bigger than the typical campaign-to-Fox path. More like what Sarah Palin tried to do with her fans, after her election bid failed. She did the Fox News thing, too. But she also started TV shows about her and her family and even started her own web series where she would give her folksy bullshit wingnuttery to subscribers. She tried to become a media powerhouse. But Palin is a nitwit and doesn’t have the charisma of Trump, nor does she have his bankroll.

Looks like I’m not the only person who sees this.