T. Rex

trump-rexHad little hands, too.

It’s a dark day for the Republic. Although we’ve been heading towards this kakistocracy/kleptocracy for a long time now, watching the Trumpian tipping point is no pleasant thing.

But this is no time for despair. “The future,” as Joe Strummer used to say, “is unwritten.” This is the crisis, this is the time, this is the fight.

Let’s start with an easy one: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” Teddy Roosevelt, 1918.

Raptor Week IV

img_1475Sometimes the bird gets away from you. Many times, actually. S’ok. Sometimes you see the Snow Leopard, sometimes you don’t.

Over the harbor. It came towards us, but no closer in resolution. What do you think it is?
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While you are pondering, consider: here’s a list of Trump-supporting companies, either carriers of that mafia family’s junk or funders of his malignancy. The rot is deep. And we’re all implicated. Last week there was some noise about the reactionary Linda Bean, spawn of the LL Bean family. She’s on the company’s board, so she profits from every purchase at the company. She then funds Trump and other far right projects, including, for decades now, the war on women. I heard a lot of surprise on Twitter about people just tuning into her. Welcome to the club: I haven’t purchased anything from LL Bean since the early 1990s, so boycotts are nothing new to me. And don’t get me started on Nestle.

Less consumption is a critical component of anyone living ecologically. Obviously, however, we need a certain minimum of food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond that, though, the rest is pretty much all discretionary. We really must be more political with our money.

For instance, are you still paying for a cable-subscription? That means, whether or not you watch it, you’re paying for Fox News. Not much on every bill, but every little bit has helped them. I’ve never owned a television. Life’s too short. But it feels longer and sweeter knowing I’ve not fostered the poison of Fox, now poised to be the official propaganda channel of Trumpism.

Not that there aren’t plenty of other corporate tentacles around my throat. It is nearly impossible to make your escape. But we can do what we can to battle this beast.

Capitalism, which profits from poisoning our bodies, the bodies of every other life form, and the air, water, and soil, has, unsurprisingly, always been fine with authoritarianism. Always driving towards oligopoly and/or monopoly, either with state assistance or not, corporations don’t give a fig for us, or citizenship, or democracy. They say “More, more, more!” Be it petroleum, sugar, fat, oxycontin, or all the pollution off-loaded into our environment. We must say “no, no, no!” any and every way you can.

Raptor Week III

Falco sparveriusThis big antenna a long block away from my apartment is a regular perch for a male American Kestrel. (This is what it looks like without much optical enhancement, btw.) He’ll park on either the taller or the shorter portion (the shorter is bent back towards us), sometimes on the cross-bars. Sometimes just for a minute or two, sometimes a little longer. What is he hunting in the winter? And what kind of antenna is this (there are three more I know of in the ‘hood.)Falco sparveriusAnother time, another borough. I noticed something atop a watertower on West 18th Street in Manhattan. Luckily, I had my camera at hand. This is also a male — note the blue wing. He has caught a small bird. (Curse these overcast days, not to mention my less-than-long lens.)

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You can’t ever read Orwell on politics and language too much. Or his “Notes on Nationalism.”

Raptor Week II

Buteo jamaicensisRed-tailed Hawk. Buteo jamaicensis: “of Jamaica,” where the original specimen was taken. The most common road-side and soaring hawk of North America. To recap, the common name is particularly unhelpful when you get a yearling like this one. The brick-red tail feathers don’t appear until after the first year of life, if they’re the one out of three who make it that long. But for the junior varsity team, those stripes on the tail, and the tail’s shortness compared to the bulk of the body, and that whitish mottling on the feathers, are all good signs you’ve got a RTH.img_1036Here’s an adult’s tail-end for comparison.

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A bracing morning read: Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau.

Remember, we are the majority! We are Unstoppable Together.

Raptor Week I

Accipiter cooperiiCooper’s Hawk. Accipiter cooperii. William C. Cooper’s hawk. The species was named in his honor by Charles Lucien Bonaparte. Cooper was a conchologist and founder of what became the New York Academy of Sciences. Bonaparte was a Bonaparte, a nephew of the Emperor, and an ornithologist who explored the U.S. in the 1820s. You can’t name a life-form after yourself… you can’t name them at all, really, but it’s a convenient fiction.
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Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Here’s his “Letter from A Birmingham Jail.” In it King defends the non-violent strategy of resistance to segregation and racism in response to some white clergy who complained that he was breaking the law.

A Week of Raptors

raptorHow about some raptors? Let’s start with this mosaic in the 81st St. subway station, one of a large series illustrating some of the breadth of the American Museum of Natural History. (You can actually enter the museum from underground there.) It’s very much worth a MetroCard swipe to explore both platforms, which are stacked one above the other. The lower level, downtown-bound, is full of life-size dinosaur fossil-reproductions. I love trailing my fingers across those old ribs. But I digress.

That’s a Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) above, isn’t it? I’ve never seen one in the wild. In the U.S., they’re found only in the open marshes of central Florida, and in rather small numbers. As their name suggests, they’re snail eaters. An invasive snail, larger than their usual prey, may be adding to their difficulties.
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If history is any judge… a case for optimism in the storm by Corey Robin.

Calyces

Diospyros virginianaThe calyx of the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is this beautiful cross shape. Diospyros virginianaA few stay on the tree as the fruits come down, but most fall with the fruit. Diospyros virginianaThere’s still some fruit on the trees. Most of it, though, is on the ground, and some of that is well beyond eating stage. We need more possums!

(My intelligence community tells me that the “Date Plum” Asian persimmon (D. lotus) at NYBG holds onto its calyces, giving the tree a tiny-star-studded look.)


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