arrived at my mom’s place in west virginia yesterday. tom showed us the nest of the great crested flycatchers in the wooden birdhouse box on a tree just off the side portch. four little babies tweeting and a mother darting in and out of the trees in search of tasty insects for them.
when we came home from dinner, we saw one little guy leaning out of the hole and were there to see him flutter and fall to the ground about fifteen feet below the birdhouse. then we noticed a second one down there.
after going back and forth on what to do and poking about on the internets (are they nestlings or fledglings? they have some feathers, but really just barely? should we put them back in the nest, leave them, or make another nest closer to the ground? etc) we followed the advice of one bird site and made a mini-nest out of a margarine tub and we nailed it to the tree about five feet off the ground. we put the two little nest/fledgelings in there and they tweeted for a little while and then went to sleep.
we wondered if we’d done the right thing, and this morning we found out the answer: definitely not. the two little birds in the margarine tub? gone. the two remaining babies in the birdhouse? gone. the nesting materials? everywhere. apparently a crow or an owl or something else found them in the night. now the home is nothing but an empty hole.
was it because the margarine tub was white and obvious? did this then alert the predator to the birdhouse above? would the owl have found them on the ground under the tree? did they tweet to alert the predator? in the immortal words of mike lafontaine, wha’ happened?
should we have put the birds back in the birdhouse? left them on the ground? the internet did not have solid answers and so we failed. we doomed four infant birdies to their distruction and we doomed a mama and a papa great crested flycatcher to tweet a sadder tweet today. you can hear it in their song, which is softer this morning. it’s a lament. a wail. a damning call to shame.
According to aides of Iowa Governor Chet Culver, John McCain ignored requests that he not visit the state during its flood recovery effort. McCain ignored that request and went anyway. The reason was that a trip by a President or presidential candidate requires a major diversion of resources among first responders. State and local law enforcement is involved, local hospitals are put on standby, it is a major undertaking to support a visitor under Secret Service protection.
Last week Obama canceled a campaign trip to Iowa to avoid just this problem. It should be noted the Gov. Culver endorsed Obama long before the Democratic primary was over. Partisan politics aside it wasn’t a good move on McCain’s part.
TORNADO WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL 949 PM CDT THU JUN 12 2008
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE QUAD CITIES HAS ISSUED A
* TORNADO WARNING FOR… SOUTHEASTERN CLINTON COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL IOWA… SCOTT COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL IOWA… CENTRAL ROCK ISLAND COUNTY IN NORTHWEST ILLINOIS… SOUTHWESTERN WHITESIDE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST ILLINOIS…
* UNTIL 1030 PM CDT.
Sirens keep going off. The tv beeps. The radio beeps. Warning warning. Get in the flippin’ basement ya knobs. Warning warning. Then we go in the basement and huddle. Then we breathe a sigh of relief as they describe the cell’s movement east and out of here (it’s almost like sports broadcasting). Then we go upstairs and wait for the next siren.
It is raining like the devil just ass-raped Mrs. Clause and Jesus himself is weeping at the YouTube clip. How can it rain horizontally in every direction. The windows patter as if rain is flying into each of them parallel to the ground. The basement is a concrete swamp and the overflowing gutters can’t keep up, jammed as they are with the fallen seeds of maple trees.
It is bad here but worse nearby. In Cedar Rapids, about an hour and a half away, the Cedar River has breached and has completely sunk Mays Island, which is where the government usually is. In Iowa City, about 45 minutes away, the Iowa River has breached and created similar mayhem. In the far west of the state, boy scout camps are being destroyed by funnels and the Missouri is flooding. The Mississippi is fine here, but the Rock River has been flooding for weeks. This wet winter became a wet spring and is now a wet summer.
Dude, I did not move to Kansas. This is some bullshit.
We had our “whole house inspection” this morning. It took about 3 hours and the inspector went over everything with us. A few little things here and there, but overall, things look pretty good for an 88 year old home. Electricity is good. New furnace is good. AC is good. Water heater good. Roof good. Stucco good. Structure good. All appliances work. There are a few little things, but nothing that should hold up the deal.
Then I spent a good two hours on the phone with USAA talking through the mortgage with that department, then homeowners with that department, then life insurance with that department. It’s awesome to do it all with one phone call, but problematic when urination needs to happen. I think we have a decent rate, though we may investigate alternatives just in case.
We’ve done it. The ink is dry. Hands have been shaken. The contract is finalized and we are into the sale pending period. Barring unforseen obstacles (such as might arise in the home inspection tomorrow), we close on July 7!
Castle Greycube sits at 1625 21st St in Rock Island. It’s a small grey stucco “American Foursquare" built in 1920. It’s got a pyramidal hip roof with large eaves and decorative. It’s 1700 square feet, with 3 bedrooms, and 1-1/2 baths. Hardwood floors throughout (oak, pine), wood-burning fireplace, built in bookshelves (not original), nice working basement, large lot, small 1 car garage. You can see the listing here.
The neighborhood is killer: it’s in the Highland Park Historic District, home to some of the most magnificent Rock Island homes from the late 1800s and early 1900s. We have the smallest home in the neighborhood and are surrounded by beautiful homes in all sorts of styles (Queen Anne, colonial revival, craftsman bungalows, prarie style, Georgian revival, etc). Learn more here. Our street is brick and is lined by beautiful trees planted a half-century ago (used to be Elms until the mid-sixties). They’re building a magnet school about a block away in the burned out neogothic Villa de Chantal.
We’ll be about a block from some ballfields and about two blocks from Longview Park, with nearly 40 acres of green space, an outdoor ice skating rink, tennis & volleyball courts, a train-themed water park (!), playground equipment, flower gardens, a greenhouse and conservatory, plenty of picnic tables, and two golden lions.
It was only 4 PM, but it was Friday. In our brains, the bells had already sounded to signal the end of another work week, and so, why not, a majority of the Quad Squad packed a day’s worth of clothes into Emmanuel Lewis (our diminutive but faithful and attractive new automobile) and got on the road.
We arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, three hours later, scarfed down some delicious Nepalese food at Chautara, poured a few Wisconsin-only brews down our gullets (New Glarus, Capitol Brewery), and shambled stuffed towards the club. Oddly placed in the back side of a refurbished old warehouse, in the shadow of the bellowing smokestacks of the Madison Gas & Electric plant, the High Noon Saloon patio looks upon a fenced-in field of steel trellises, wires growing upon them like ivy, with bulbous manmade capacitors and contraptions hanging like deadly fruit.
Inside, the second band was already mid-set. Hey, they sound like The Walkmen, or at least the vocals do, as the singer cops Hamilton Leithauser’s howl. Hey, this isn’t bad, it might even be good! But, I should have known better, for, as my grandmother taught me, you can never trust a guy in a leather vest. As Brighton MA powered through the rest of their completely upstanding and completely professional and mostly forgettable set, they jumped through pop nostalgia hoops, over Brooklyn fences, and past Chicago indie-rock water features like a trained Jack Russell terrier. The scruffy singer waned in and out of his Dylan wail and the rest of the boys bounced around appropriately. In some ways, they were the perfect opener: pleasant enough not to annoy you, plenty of reference points to draw you in, and never in danger of one-upping the headliner.
Note to bands: naming yourself after a place makes googling you difficult, especially if your record is self-titled. If you don’t want me to know about you, however, this is a very good strategy. The only better strategy would be to name yourself something that I can’t bear to type into Google, such as “Barely 18 College Anal Sex Party Gangbang Money Shot Titties!” or “The Jonas Brothers.”
A rather heartbreaking (and brief) story about the abandonment of curatorial responsibility in the Museo Nazionale in Rome, where the Epaphroditus inscription has been left to ruin in a pile in the rain, while an inferior craplica is hung on the wall indoors. Brilliant. This isn’t the first time such shenanigans have taken place in Italy, home to so many of the West’s treasures. I wish this was the first story like this from Italy, but it is isn’t. I know there was a story in the past few months about mildew eating away the collection of some museum in Florence or Milan or some other Italian city that I can’t find right this minute. All I could find was this news piece from 2005 that gets to the same point. And yes, that is my new word: craplica.