Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Wasn't I supposed to be walking? Indeed. And walking I was, up until last Wednesday, when I was laid low with wretched infectiousness. So we interrupt this program of resolutional zeal until bacterial blackguards are beaten thoroughly back by modern antibiotics, and provide you instead with a photo taken some weeks ago in the city. See how these indefatigable birds leave their mark on New York in more ways than one.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Know What Everyone Did Last April

Or thereabouts.

Is it just me, or do others feel there's just a boatload of folks born in January (or soon after?) And it's not the best time of year for celebrating. We never hear things like,

"Awright!! Beach party birthday!!" It's more like, "Aaa..CHOO! Sorry. Bit of a cold. Didn't mean to blow those out before you made a wish..."

Nevertheless, having any birthday is better than the alternative, and some of the finest and funnest folks I know were born in these dark weeks of winter, so here's a happy happy birthday shout-out to all of them, and let the photo above be a reminder to all that some brightly colored fun can be had any time of the year. Plus, there's never a wait to go down the slide.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Circle of Life and All That

And to think I almost left my camera home again...
On our walk yesterday, DH and I were lucky enough to see some real wildlife, a red-tailed hawk that had caught a squirrel.
Here I thought I was the squeamish type: can't watch slasher flicks, clean a chicken, dispose of a dead bird, or even make hamburger patties without feeling slightly ill. Yet it didn't disturb me to watch the hawk eat lunch. (Okay, there's one shot where you can see the squirrel's face, and that is kinda sad. But overall, no.) Raptors gotta eat, and for all we know the squirrel was sick and slow and sufferin' and now he's gone out in a blaze of glory; way better than getting run over by a car. It was great to be able to observe it so closely. (Um, the hawk, not poor Rocky there...)
Oh, and for the non-squeamish amongst you, there's a few more shots on my Flickr page, and a
half-minute video here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ancient Tchotchkes

We took the day off on Friday to attend the New York International Numismatic Convention, held as it has been for years at the magical Waldorf Astoria. For me it's a chance to see and handle some museum-quality terra-cotta antiquities, eyeball some Greek vases costing more than my car, and then blow a double sawbuck on a pretty shard of figured Roman redware pottery (with provenance!)

Objects made of gold or silver, that are rare or especially desirable, are waaay outta my league, naturally, but they're not the only things out there. Bronze is a mighty strong substance, and there are millions of ancient bronze objects and innumerable coins that have survived for a thousand, fifteen hundred years and more. I bought a common bronze coin minted at Siscia in the 4th century under Constans, featuring his portrait and that of two figures of victory, centered and nicely struck, for the price of dessert at the hotel restaurant. Even a Roman bronze ring, unique, hand-decorated, and ten centuries old, can be had for less than the price of a Waldorf brunch.

The bourse floor was very crowded and overheated this year, so after visiting the few dealers of "Stuff I Like and Can Afford" I went down to the lobby to walk around and wait for DH to finish.

That's the famous Waldorf Clock above, whose plaque tells us it was made for display at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rose Center For Earth and Space

No Creationists In Attendance Here

Robert Redford narrates the Hayden Planetarium's new show, Cosmic Collisions, which we saw on Sunday. It's a mind-boggling look at the formation of the Earth and moon, and the role these unimaginably huge impacts had, and continue to have, on the formation of our galaxy and others. On the way out, a man behind me in the crowd remarked to his friend, "Boy, that Robert Redford sure is smart."

After that, we hit the IMAX theater for Dinosaurs Alive! which, while it was a whole lotta fun to watch, reminded me that you really, really have to be dedicated to - no - enthralled with your subject to be a paleontologist, as so much of the work involves tramping around inhospitable terrain and the tedious cleaning of things with tiny brushes.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What's The Moral Of This Story?

"Did you bring your camera?"
DH asks me this as we start off around the park. "I thought you were going to document your walks," he said.
"Pfft!" I replied. "This kind of day makes for a boring photo in this park: it's overcast, slightly humid so things aren't crisp, no evergreens or blue spruce or fresh snow for color contrast, just gray and light brown and, and... look at the ugly sludgy muck of leaves and debris in the pond.
Sure, there's a wasp's nest, but it's too high up and it's gray like everything visual oomph."
On and on I blather like that for the first mile-and-a-half circuit. DH takes off to run the next loop, and I continue walking.

Over the bridge.
Where I see the backhoe.

There's a bright yellow Caterpillar in the water, up to its lugnuts, scooping leaves into the bed of a sky-blue truck, while men in dark green uniforms chainsaw dead branches off trees nearby.
Just...just popping out of the gray-brown-white background of trees.

Oh yeah: the moral is: always bring your camera.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Resolutional Zeal Is Maintained!

But of course, the year is still young. Lots of time left to drop the ball, but! So far, so good:

The day before yesterday, DH and I stopped at the park on the way home from work and
did 1.5 miles around the park. Then yesterday, I did a 3.5-mile-loop around town here, and made an important discovery: my neighborhood is extremely boring. It might be the deflated Christmas balloons and grimy wire-armature penguins and reindeer on every lawn; they are exquisitely dismal on an overcast January morning. But hey, three and a half miles! (I measured it with string on a street map after I got home. Like the pros do.)

Sunday there was no walking, but there was some strolling through the AMNH.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Natural Wonders

Yesterday I did two miles before work, and was rewarded with the sight of the magical tableau above: a young buck just raising his head at the sound of an approaching canine! Who knew these delicate creatures had ventured so far into the suburban landscape? This is the kind of wondrous experience that makes a daily walk in the neighborhood worthwhile.

Today, of course, there was a nasty little cold snap and the "daily walk" was the eight blocks round trip from the parking garage to work. But resolutional zeal will resume tomorrow!

This guy is my inspiration.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


(image courtesy of a movie one could easily see twice, although it has no explosions, nor actors you'd recognize, nor product placement, nor predictable twists. And it's brilliant. Check it out of the library!

The Pagan-Fletcher House, Valley Stream

Happy New Year! While resolutions were still fresh and easy to keep, I went for the first of many many daily 3-mile walks I plan to walk this year. Really! I promise! And if I bring the camera on every walk (like I did today) I'll be able to prove it. This is a restoration of an 1841 house near the park.