Rant time, friends.
I have just returned from a week's vacation in my beloved home state of Maine, with a few days spent visiting family in Burlington, Vermont and upstate New York. Despite my usual tendencies I wasn't able to do a whole lot of birding (aside from successfully dashing after a Prothonotary Warbler to add to my Maine state list on the first day), and I was jonesing by the time the end of the week rolled around and my girlfriend and I were driving from Burlington to Saratoga Spring, NY.
But we were running late. We had to meet my girlfriend's aunt in Crown Point, NY at 9am, and so there wasn't any time for me to check out Lake Champlain. Because times are important here, let's run things down timeline style.
8:50am We cruise over the Lake Champlain bridge, connecting Vermont to New York. It's a damp, smoky morning and I snap the below photo because the bridge is cool and there's some fog around and because I'm a goddamn artist. This is the version I later put on instagram. Only 10 likes, probably because there are no food or babies in it.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Rant time, friends.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
- Do Birds Pee?
- Do Birds Have Sex?
- Do Birds Sleep?
- Do Birds Fart?
Sunday, August 3, 2014
I've noticed a couple birds in commercials recently. Time to tell you how crappy they all are.
Mountain Dew - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Call
Just a couple of dudes out duck hunting. One guy blows his duck call indiscriminately and gets no response. Frustrating! His hunt-bro has other plans. He breaks out his gas-spewing Dale Call and gives is a rev. Out of nowhere, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car plows into the swamp! It's a clear violation of the Clean Water Act, but don't worry about that, he does a bunch of donuts! It'd be funny if they just shot him.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Major League Soccer All-Star Game is going to be held in Portland, Oregon* this year, and they've just released images of the jerseys the players will be wearing. Portland, OR being Zany Quirky Portland, OR (TM) (c), they stuck a bird on the inside of the shirt, a reference to the Put a Bird On It skit from the tv show Portlandia.
That's all well and good and Portlandians can check the "delightful irreverence" box that's probably required for anything officially done in Portlandia. But something sticks in my craw. The MLS release about the jerseys says that the bird on the jersey is a western meadowlark, the state bird of Oregon. Let's take a closer look.
You've got to be shitting me. That's not a meadowlark. It's blatantly not a meadowlark.
Why even bother? Does it cost more to print the silhouette of a meadowlark instead of that sparrow-type thing? If you want it to be a meadowlark, make it a meadowlark! If you don't care, then don't say it's a meadowlark! Lord. The stupidity of state birds is something I've discussed at length, but apparently my rantings have not changed anything. Screw you, Portland, Oregon, and go Sounders.
*In 1845, two dudes with two very-1845 names, Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove, wanted to name their new settlement on the Pacific coast after their respective hometowns. Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts and Pettygrove was from Portland, Maine, also the beloved hometown of yours truly. They decided that the only way to fairly choose a name was a best-of-three coin flipping contest. Francis, using those strong Maine thumbs, flipped a winner, and proudly proclaimed this new site Portland, of the Oregon Territory! Fast forward to today, and everyone's all "Oh, I am going on vacation to Portland" or "Today, the weather in Portland is..." without clarifying that they're talking about the also-ran city in Oregon and not the original American city in Maine. It's bullshit and I hate it.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Okay. Just thinking about things here for a second.
- Let's take a Blackburnian Warbler. Cornell says that these guys weigh 0.3 - 0.5 ounces. We'll use a heavier, pre-migration weight of 0.5 ounces.
- Then, for fun, let's take one of the most southerly wintering Blackburnians, like maybe these guys who were found at Machu Picchu, Peru. Then, let's find some breeders. How about these guys, found along the piney shores of Moosehead Lake in Greenville, The Great State of Maine.
- Google Maps has a new "measure distance" tool that shows a plausible Machu Picchu-Dominican Republic-Cuba-Florida-Greenville, Maine migration distance as coming in at 4,522 miles.
- Using the field of study known as "math," I can multiple 4,522 x 0.5 to get a miles-per-ounce distance of 9,044. OK.
- The Information Superhighway says that the average human weight across the globe is 137 pounds. There are 16 ounces in a pound. So, using "math," I can calculate that that average earthling weighs 2,192 ounces.
- So, if a human were to travel the same miles-per-ounce distance as a Blackburnian Warbler does during its twice annual migration, we'd have to go 9,044 x 2,192 = 19,824,448 miles. Twenty MILLION miles.
- The moon is 238,000 miles away from us. Venus is 26 million miles away from Earth. On a per-ounce basis, a Blackburnian Human's migration would take us within a stone's throw from frigging VENUS.
- Has anyone ever traveled 20 million miles from Earth, you ask? Why, in fact, yes. In the 1950s, and it was a complete unmitigated disaster. And it was all caught on film. See for yourself:
Monday, July 14, 2014
I love looking at old eBird records to see weird records or historical distribution patterns. I've uncovered some really unusual old checklists during the course of some recent research. I've taken screenshots of the most interesting ones, click to embiggen.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
New piece up today at Slate.com, the best goddamn website on this Spaceship Earth.