Monday, September 29, 2008

Blown way off course

Hurricane Ike was so huge that it blew this poor Magnificent Frigatebird all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to Ithaca, New York. I didn't chase it down when it was seen on Sunday, Sept. 21, and it was found dead on Monday, Sept. 22. It was brought to the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates where I took this photo before it was converted into a study skin. How very sad.

Where in the World Is Katie?

My daughter Katie (Katherine to everyone who has met her since her first day of kindergarten except the kids who met her for the first time during the brief window of time in fourth grade when she went by Kat) is biking with two friends from San Diego to Savannah. She's been on the road for almost two weeks now. They've been keeping track of roadkill--I don't know what the current numbers are, and they haven't had any way to send me the photos Michael has been taking (in raw format, so they're huge files and the kids have only been able to use internet when they can get to a public library), but it sounds like they've already seen one dead mountain lion and some pretty interesting birds, as well as snakes, toads, and all manner of poor creatures.

I'm going to try to update this map whenever I can, but I'm afraid I'm not as googlemaps savvy as I should be. They're on bikes, but I'm thinking of them as the Roadrunners.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Go, Cubs, Go!

It's been 100 years exactly since my beloved Cubs won the Series. Please please please. Let the Cubs be the first big winners from Illinois this year, and please let them not be the last big winners from Illinois this year.

Farewell, High Island

My dear friend Sam Crowe, who spends half the year in Ithaca and half in Texas, wrote a somber report about what's happening in Texas for our Lab Blog. It's heartbreaking, and there's still a news blockout on what's happened to the thousands of people who didn't evacuate.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Michael Conway Baker

I've been going through a rough patch ever since my sister's health deteriorated last winter, and after her death August 25, I've been as sad as I've ever been in my life. Autumn walks are inherently sad, too, though somehow healing. When a female and her adolescent young Black-throated Green Warbler come down and check out me and Photon as we walk along, as they did this afternoon, it's as soothing and lovely a feeling as there can be. But it's so quiet out there! No more frogs calling, no cardinals, no robins. Wednesday afternoon, a Scarlet Tanager broke into full song for a few minutes, making my heart swell even as I knew it was his farewell appearance.

It's times like this that I pull out my Michael Conway Baker albums, especially his sublime The Greater Vancouver Music album. My daughter finds it too sentimental for her tastes, but she thinks that of Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, too. I've been listening to it tonight, and it's been balm to my soul.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pablo Picasso's "The Old Guitarist"

Saturday was Russ and my anniversary--40 years since our first date! He and Tommy and Joey were still in Chicago from the funeral, so we all headed to Millennium Park for a morning in the city, and to the Chicago Art Institute for a bit. And they had a splendid reprint of Picasso's "The Old Guitarist," one of my favorite paintings since when we were dating, so Russ bought it for me for our anniversary. It looks like this:

I already had a smaller nice poster of that painting, but it doesn't look at all the same--it's duller, with some markings as if paint had flaked off:
So my question is, was the poster made from the painting before a restoration, after which the new print was made? I don't know how to find out. Anyone know?