Spring Tanka

The rosebud cherries
Are suddenly emphatic
And suddenly gone

In nature’s indifference
I still keep watch on the blooms.


The way a tuliptree bud unfurls with exploratory leaf at the ready….

A big question around here in the epicenter is how long the virus lasts. The report that it was found on one of the plague ships over two weeks later is misleading. That was just particles, not active virus. Bits of RNA or DNA can’t hurt you. But the active virus does stick around on different surfaces for up to a few days. More detail here.

In Trump’s personalist rule, loyalty, the more groveling the better (see also: Mike Pence) trumps expertise. Combining this with the long libertarian goal of strangling government — except when it comes to policing the poor, controlling women’s bodies, and transferring wealth upwards — has cost the federal response dearly.

I self-isolated the political commentary for a week

but now I’m erupting:

I’ve been calling the GOP a death cult for a while now, and lately they’ve only been too happy to show the label isn’t hyperbole. Trump’s fools are swallowing fish-tank cleaners because of his criminal rambling on the TV about chloroquine: a sixty-year-old Phoenix man is now dead and his wife in the ICU, taking up critical hospital space in a pandemic. Meanwhile, bloodsuckers are suggesting that the elderly will happily make way for the young, a la Soylent Green presumably. The Bush-faced Lt. Governor of Texas, a “principled conservative,” has volunteered his generation, yet, curiously, he’s still around two days later…. Such advocates for senicide, suddenly so concerned about the young, are the same ones who oppose doing anything about climate change. The self-styled “pro-life” crowd, ladies and germs….

What these eugenics-fantasists aren’t mentioning is that CV-19 is no respecter of youth. Most victims are older, but people in their twenties and thirties are dying, too. The first under-18 death in the US was recorded the other day. Obesity, type-2 diabetes, and respiratory issues, categories that combined take in about half the U.S. population, are risk factors. And of course the medical profession, the doctors, nurses, techs, working hard on the front lines, are on the GOP’s sacrificial alters to Mammon, too.

Trump’s Satangelical Cult doesn’t care for facts or rationality or reason. Knowing his base of fundamentalistic sociopaths love his cynical lip-servce to their perverted version of Christianity, he’s promising to fill the churches for Easter — as if he knows what Easter is — while public health officials across the country and world shout “no!”

Here’s the AP breaking down this corrupt administrations’s testing “blunders.

Here’s the time line on the failure of this incompetent administration to get industry ramped up to make ventilators.

Raptor Wednesday

Through the new year, sightings of Merlins, or at least a Merlin, were pretty regular here from the #ViewFromTheMoraine. Then, after a single sighting in January, nothing until last Saturday in Green-Wood.
It could be that I just haven’t spotted any. More likely is that more of them are on the move now and passing through.
Merlins are known for perching a long time in the same place. (Born to physical-distance in a pandemic?) While I was there, an Eastern Phoebe landed at the top of this ginkgo tree. The Merlin eyed it. The Phoebe then moved on it, and so did I, but the falcon was still there when I left.

Ed Yong on what we know about this new coronavirus.

Timber! It’s Timberdoodle Season

Saw six on my last excursion out three days ago. As is typical, they saw me first and bolted. Social distance geniuses!
Here’s another. A crappy photo, but giving some suggestion of the gorgeous russet belly.

The View From Here

I hope everybody staying inside as much as possible has something to look at outside.

If I may say so, the view from here is one of the best damn ones in the city, especially considering its price. I recently wrote about hawk-watching from the living room for the Clapper Rail. But there are also more mundane species to be seen every day, mundane in the non-pejorative sense.

Across the street, two-and-a-half story rowhouses with gentle bow-fronts face us. The mouldings on these are runways for Grey Squirrels. The roofs themselves are their highways. They may be nesting underneath the roof deck over there, or inside the curiously plastic filled air-conditioner cage a few houses over. The mammals invariably jump onto a garden tree, leap from that to a street tree, and hit the sidewalk running.

The air-conditioner cage — a metal frame to contain the A/C unit, currently absent — also seems to have House Sparrow nests on both sides. When a squirrel arrives, the sparrows fly off, but they soon return. An abandoned window box also seems to sport a House Sparrow nest underneath or behind it. Squirrels will also perch on that, eating. A few houses over, there’s a window air conditioner that provides some cover for Mourning Doves below, but I see no evidence yet of a nest. Not that Mourning Doves leave much evidence; their stick nests are absolutely minimal.

Our fire-escape, meanwhile, hosts cooing Mourning Doves mostly, but also the occasional Starling, feral pigeon, and House Sparrow will show up. Once we had an escaped POW parakeet. Interestingly, the Kestrels have rarely used this perch, even though the view is excellent. Once, though, the male left some prey there, returning later to take it.


Tucked in.
Deep embedding. That’s a squirrel snout visible in this floor-through.
Two hours later, this Great Blue Heron was still there.


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