I’ve been meaning to set up forums but the technical aspects seemed problematic to a cyberphobe such as myself. But problems with trying to embed photos in the comments gave me the push to start up the forums. Currently the biggest problem is that the edit button for the posts doesn’t work right. So take your time and check twice before publishing posts because otherwise the work around is deleting the post and starting over. I’ve posted some instructions I found on a bbpress site on embedding photos. Hopefully they’re helpful but think of this right now as a work in progress. Your patience is appreciated by management during this difficult transition.
About 10 minutes down the road from me is a field that is surrounded by corn fields, dairy farms and suburban neighborhoods. This sizable tract of land is covered by a patchwork of hayfields, grain patches, high grass and brush, small stands of trees, puddles and even a streamlet. The owner stocks this area with game birds. It provides hunters with access to pheasant, quail and partridge. Where I live there is an abundance of turkey and duck that move respectively through wood and pond at will. With respect to other bird life, the air is full of hawks and even bald eagle. At night, a particularly annoying Barred Owl often serenades me and Camera Girl at about 1:45 a.m. from a perch seemingly right outside my bedroom window. Only state firearm ordinances and my inherent laziness has saved this avian jerk from reaping the large caliber comeuppance he so richly deserves. During the day the bird song is much more melodious. Finches, robins, sparrows, titmice, jays, catbirds, cardinals and orioles abound. And for viewing interest there are the fascinating hummingbirds. Basically we’re flush with feathered friends.
So why would I be looking to add to their numbers? The answer is ticks. Connecticut is the Lyme disease capitol of the Universe. Apparently scenic Lyme Connecticut was so inviting that even the lowly spirochete responsible for this malady heard how great it is there and decided to immigrate. Having been blessed once with the honor of sharing my bloodstream with these delightful one celled creatures I have made it a high priority to pass on a second such honor. To this end I have devoted a certain amount of thought to lowering the local tick population. One thing the long-time inhabitants of the area told me was that chickens eat ticks. That pecking action they’re so famous for allows them to systematically ingest enormous numbers of small creatures including ticks. This seemed to me a great idea. Chickens! I mean, I like chicken. Fried, baked, souped, casseroled. I even like them before they are hatched. Why not bring them in and let them solve my problem. I did some research.
- They need a house. Well, okay, why not. I’ll buy them a house.
- They need to be fed and watered. Hmmm, that’s a lot of doing stuff.
- They get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning. On Saturday? What the hell is wrong with them. They sounded a lot like that jerk the Barred Owl.
- Their house has to be cleaned a lot. Okay, that’s enough.
The cure was worse than the disease.
I returned to my research and looked into what else eats ticks. Other birds eat ticks. Yeah, well we’re flush with birds already and they’re not getting the job done. It turns out that some birds are better at it than others. And even if chickens were too much trouble there are birds sort of like chickens that also eat a lot of ticks. I went through the options and the one with the least maintenance was quail. They’re smaller than pheasants and guinea fowl and peacocks and with just a little help from me they might successfully acclimate to my property and be fruitful and multiply. This all sounded really good. Next step get quail. I went out next day intending to stop by the local quail store and pick up a couple of dozen before heading to the town apothecary and pick up my monthly assortment of leeches. One solid month of following up leads and I found a friendly regional quail guy. Negotiations were negotiated and basically, I acceded to all terms. Which unfortunately meant that the quails would arrive on a day that I was at work (Friday). No need for panic. Camera Girl would carry out the transaction and the quails would become part of Orion’s Cold Fire Enterprises with all the rights and responsibilities that entails (eat ticks). When the appointed hour arrived, I sat at work waiting with bated breath to get the victory message. “Houston, the Eagle has landed.”
The actual call went slightly differently. When Camera Girl called up I could tell there had been a hitch. Quail come packed in a plastic box that basically keeps them in a standing room only enclosure. Apparently packing them cheek to jowl keeps them from getting too stirred up. But it also means they are anxious to spread out. When Camera Girl opened the box door the quail flew out in much the way shaken soda escapes from a bottle, rapidly and straight up. After the mass of panicked birds departed into the stratosphere and she had stopped blinking in amazement Camera Girl noticed that one bird had remained. This was the silver lining that was presented to me at the end of the story. Being a glass half empty kind of guy, I speculated that it probably broke a wing during the melee. But, being a fair and even-tempered individual, I thanked her for her help in the event told her I’d be following this lone bird’s future career with great interest. At that point I wrote off the whole thing as a good learning experience, namely that I’d learned that all birds are jerks.
On Saturday morning during our weekly inspection tour of the south forty, Camera Girl was excited to point out that there were now at least two quail skulking around the perimeter of the property. I should explain that part of the preparations for “Operation Shoot a Bunch of Money into the Sky” was the purchase of what is called a quail field base which consists of a device that provides food and water to quails in your field along with a battery powered electronic quail call that summons the quail to the base. Even though we only knew of one quail remaining in the immediate neighborhood of the base I activated the quail call. Every thirty minutes during daylight hours, this call produces a really goofy sounding bird noise which is supposed to lead the quails home to the base.
Well I guess it works. At least one and possibly several quails are now roaming around my fields and the surrounding woods. As the kids would say I’m mightily chuffed. So, Saturday as I was taking close up shots of caterpillars and plants I was able to get close enough to one quail ambling around in the brush to take his photo that I’ve attached above. The jury is of course still out but it’s entirely possible that maybe not all birds are jerks.
Scene 1 (White House – Oval Office)
President Trump (PT) – Bannon, Bannon, where the hell are you Steve?
Steve Bannon (SB) – For pity’s sake Mr. President, I was in the bathroom.
PT – What’s the problem Steve? Plumbing going bad? You should be careful about that. It could be contagious. Don’t need that around here.
SB – No Mr. President, everything is fine. How can I help you?
PT – That loser from the internet that was making fun of me with the schmoopy stuff.
SB – Oh, ahhhh, Photog from Orion’s Cold Fire?
PT – Yeah, that’s the loser. Boy that’s a dumb name. Anyway, I want him back here today. I want to know what the internet weirdos think about me.
SB – Well sir, he is a private citizen, and you did tell him to get lost last time.
PT – Blah, blah. He wants a story for his stupid blog. Just send a Humvee to his house and tell him to get his butt downs here pronto.
SB – Yes Mr. President. Can we at least send him first class?
PT – Hell no. Put him in a fighter jet and get him here within the hour. They have two seats right?
SB – I guess they do. I’ll get right on it.
Scene 2 (White House West Wing, two hours later)
PT – Well Photog, what took you so long?
Photog (PH) – Good to see you too Mr. President!
PT – Yeah, yeah, I love you too. Look I need information. Around here everyone is either scared of me or hates my guts. I need to know what the regular people are saying.
PH – Well the regular people think you’re the greatest troll who ever lived. We get the biggest kick out of all the stuff you say to the press, NATO and Schumer and we loved what you did to Comey.
PT – Well what about the fact that we haven’t repealed Obamacare or built the wall or cut taxes.
PH – Well they are getting annoyed about the wall but we figured the Obamacare thing and the tax cuts would be stalled because of the losers in the House and Senate.
PT – Well the wall thing is turning out to be a bigger problem than I thought. The Congress is full of spineless jellyfish. But I’m glad to hear they aren’t blaming me yet for the other two things.
PH – Mr. President, jellyfish are invertebrates. By definition they have no spine.
PT – Oh for pity’s sake. Isn’t there anyway for you to avoid being thrown out of here?
PH – Sorry, sorry. Anyway, if you want my advice, the thing for you to do is think of executive actions that help regular people and hurt the leftists. Go after the sanctuary cities, Antifa and states giving benefits to illegal aliens.
PT – We are already doing that stuff but the courts have been interfering.
PH – Then bring it to the Supreme Court.
PT – That’s a tricky thing. Kennedy is unreliable. He may vote with the other side. I have info that he will retire this summer so I’m holding off.
PH – Well don’t wait too long. Americans want results. Fire all those traitors in the FBI and NSA who keep leaking to the press. Oh, and bail on the Paris Accord. Climate Change is one of the biggest pain points you can hit your enemies with. Cancelling those things takes money out of their pockets and puts it back in ours.
PT – Well I said I’d make a decision this week.
PH – Do yourself a favor make the right one.
PT – Maybe you’re right.
PH – I’m always right. Never left.
PT – Alright, that’s enough. Get the hell out and take Acela back home. Riding on that piece of crap will teach you some humility. And if you see that loser Biden there tell him I found his peep hole in the bathroom and had it spackled over, the perv.
Back when George W was still president I discovered Real Clear Politics (RCP) as a site that included at least a few of the not so-left-leaning news sources and polls during elections. It became one of the easiest links to finding conservative information and opinion. I guess, it still is. At least I still visit it for news. But, my God, what a mess. Listen to these headlines:
The Landmines that Could Kill Trump’s Tax Cuts
WH Struggles to Get Out from Under Russia Controversy
Are the Brits Bonkers to Brexit?
Walking Away from the ACA Not an Option for GOP
Nunes Was Supposed to Probe Collusion, Not Commit It
How Do Men Like Trump Win? Let My Fictional Panel Explain
And even from supposedly friendly sources, the best we get is:
Mistakes, He’s Made A Few Too Many
I mean, honestly, WTF. And if you keep score of the articles written specifically by the staff of RCP you’ll quickly see that they’re no better than the Washington Post or the New York Times. Now, of course, the Post and the Times (and the rest of the Old Guard) are obviously performing the same services for the Democrats as they did back when W was in office. The calculation is that a constant drum beat of gloom, doom and slander will eventually damage President Trump enough to stop his agenda and turn the nation against him. With W it worked. Once the war turned sour he was slowly ground down by the press. Of course, Trump isn’t W. He attacks the press instinctively, successfully and with relish. And his agenda will be for the most part popular with every day Americans. So, I’m willing to let him do his thing for at least a few weeks at a time without panicking at the sight of unfriendly headlines. After all, it’s currently the democrats who seem to be whistling past the graveyard with these headlines. Next week the Senate may already have Gorsuch seated on the Supreme Court. And even the knuckleheads in Congress seem to be trying to get their act together. I’m of the opinion that all the headlines about poll numbers plunging and panicking republicans are pure spin. So, what’s this post about? I’m just complaining. I’m pretty sick and tired of not having a reliable go-to site with the content I want. But with a little fishing around I can generally see news and opinion that I want. Here’s where I go:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/ Yeah, I still go there first (groan).
http://drudgereport.com/ Well, of course, you’ve gotta (and it can be hilarious).
https://amgreatness.com/ This where Publius Decius Mus used to write. I like a lot of the opinion pieces they write. And they don’t have any obvious NeverTrumpers on staff.
And there are other more radical sites but I’ll leave them for another day.
So that is currently where I gather my information. RCP and Drudge are news aggregators so effectively this allows me to cherry pick the best of what’s out there. But that means there is a lot of dross there too. American Greatness only gives opinion. Between these sites I get most of what I want. And of course for all of the rest of the world there is the most important opinion site of all Orion’s Cold Fire (OCF)! I mean, come on, of course it is! But modesty forbids me to elaborate on the obvious. So enjoy April Fool’s Day (naturally, it’s snowing here today) but don’t be fooled by the foolish headlines. All’s right in this best of all possible worlds. I guess?