Checking in at the monuments

frame within the frameI saw a Bald Eagle soaring over the Tidal Basin. Maybe it’s going to be okay, after all.

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Time heals

A message of hope from Vi Hart.

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Squee

What a great idea: there’s a growing movement (partly imported from Japan) of sport fishing to maximize the number of species caught, rather than the size of the individuals. Anglers go after shiners and darters rather than bass and trout.

Micro-fishing, you’re using the smallest-size hook you can find at your local tackle stores, so your fly fishing hooks and things like that,” [Michael] Moore says. “And instead of casting, like you would with regular fishing, it feels really weird, but you’re usually just dangling the bait in front of fish that you can see.”

Some successful fishers have a species list that numbers in the 400s. There aren’t a lot of birders that have a list that long.

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Dogberry’s wisdom

Whoever touches pitch will be defiled,
and whoever associates with a proud man will become like him.
Do not lift a weight beyond your strength,
nor associate with a man mightier and richer than you.
How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle?
The pot will strike against it, and will itself be broken.
A rich man does wrong, and he even adds reproaches;
a poor man suffers wrong, and he must add apologies.
A rich man will exploit you if you can be of use to him,
but if you are in need he will forsake you.
If you own something, he will live with you;
he will drain your resources and he will not care.
When he needs you he will deceive you,
he will smile at you and give you hope.
He will speak to you kindly and say, “What do you need?”
He will shame you with his foods,
until he has drained you two or three times;
and finally he will deride you.
Should he see you afterwards, he will forsake you,
and shake his head at you.

Sirach 13:1-7
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Something new

Kaveh Waddell sketches Adlam: a script not yet 30 years old, invented for speakers of Fulani, a language spoken by 40 million West Africans.

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Best practices

Gustave Axelson reminds us of the shade coffee-and-birds connection. His visit to a farm owned by Veronica Sanchez and her family is particularly heartening.

Why?, I ask Sanchez. Why do all this, preserving and planting trees and messing with plastic bottle traps, and forgo the money in the here-and-now that her neighbor is getting?

“We use good practices and we have a peace of mind knowing we are producing something of organic quality,” if not certified organic, she said.

“If we apply poisons to the coffee, we also poison the animals from the land and sky, such as insects and birds, and in turn we pollute the water.” And that affects everything from her family to the people who drink her coffee, she said.

Por eso son malas prácticas,” she said. These are malpractices.

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On the BBT

Biscayne National Park has partnered with the Tropical Audubon Society to promote a fun way to get new birders birding, especially kids. Birders can earn achievement certificates for identifying as many birds as they can within the confines of the park.

Listing rules follow the ABA Code of Ethics. To maximize the number of species seen, budding naturalists are encouraged to visit multiple locations on the Biscayne Birding Trail.

Here’s hoping other organizations across the country can put together similar programs.

American Birding Association Birder’s Guide to Conservation and Community

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The view from Maine

Richard Russo (Empire Falls), in conversation with Renée Montagne, offers an interesting take on recent political developments:

… we’ve been hearing a lot of talk about jobs. But I would draw a distinction between jobs and work. I don’t have a job, but I have tons and tons of work. That work sustains me. I’m doing something that gives my life meaning, it connects me to other people.

I think when you lose a job, you have less money and you get scared. But when you lose work, which has happened to many of Donald Trump’s supporters – or they fear is going to happen to them – you lose your dignity. Maybe you’re nobody. Maybe you don’t matter.

I think that Trump supporters have really been worried about their sense of not belonging anymore. If I blame Trump supporters for anything, it’s that if they’ve been feeling undervalued, denigrated, ignored, that’s not a new feeling. It’s just new to them, you know? Black people in America have felt that way for a long time. So have Latinos.

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Kiss

Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss is an ambitious, but unsuccessful attempt to bring the horrors of violence in today’s Syria into the American living room. A supposedly found text, a fluffy four-handed love triangle, is first interpreted as melodramatic soap opera, and then with cartoonish, expressionist violence.

Good theater takes real, specific events and reimagines them so that universals can be revealed. In this work, Calderón’s imagination fails him.

The play is presented not in Woolly’s auditorium but in its Smith/Melton Rehearsal Hall, with seats wedged in on risers. Viewers nostalgic for Woolly’s funky former space on Church Street will feel at home here.

  • Kiss, by Guillermo Calderón, directed by Yury Urnov, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington
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At the park: 89

mid-autumn colorA lazy midday stroll to the tower and back through the woods. Despite the season, a rather birdy day, perhaps due to the crazy warm temperatures. A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) cruised by. Most notably, I watched an altercation between a Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) and a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker (M. erythrocephalus).

today's mysteryToday’s mystery flowering plant is this lance-leaved low shrub (about 2 ft.), with slight wings along the stem, growing near the boardwalk and nearly in the water.

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Faulkner decoded: 2

… the spring weather, the spring which an American poet, a fine one, a woman and so she knows, called girls’ weather and boys’ luck.

—William Faulkner, The Town, chap. 20

Not too hard to track this one down, as it’s been decoded by other writers. It’s from Ryder (1928), by Djuna Barnes, from the “Rape and Repining!” chapter:

It is Spring again, O Little One, the Waters melt, and the Earth divides, and the Leaves put forth, and the Heart sings dilly, dilly, dilly! It is Girls’ Weather, and Boys’ Luck!

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Principle above sap

That’s how it was. It was like we had had something in Jefferson for eighteen years and whether it has been right or whether it had been wrong to begin with didn’t matter anymore now because it was ours, we had lived with it and now it didn’t even show a scar, like the nail driven into the tree years ago that violated and outraged and anguished that tree. Except that the tree hasn’t got much choice either: either to put principle above sap and refuse the outrage and next year’s sap both, or accept the outrage and the sap for the privilege of going on being a tree as long as it can, until in time the nail disappears. It dont go away; it just stops being so glaring in sight, barked over; there is a lump, a bump of course, but after a while the other trees forgive that and everything else accepts that tree and that bump too until one day the saw or the axe goes into it and hits that old nail.

—William Faulkner, The Town, chap. 19
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Failed replication

Another TED Talk’s too-good-to-be-true research comes into question. What a surprise.

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Chemistry

Julia Franz visits the 8,000 acre Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.

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Come from Away

Come from Away is a celebration of the profound act of kindness performed by the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, when 38 aircraft were diverted to its airport on 11 September 2001. For nearly a week, this community of fewer than 10,000 souls opened its homes and shelters to the stranded passengers from those flights.

The ensemble-driven musical tells, by composites, some of the many tales that these travelers have to tell; it doesn’t shy away from stories of loss (the penultimate number “Something’s Missing”) or of irrational fears (an Egyptian sojourner is eyed nervously), but it is fundamentally a play about sharing and hope. Generally fast-paced (the transition into a brief scene set in the maelstrom of an air traffic control tower on that horrid day is electric), there are brief moments when everything comes to dead stop for comedy—as you would, for instance, when a moose ambles in front of your bus. A revolve is used to good effect, giving the characters of Nick and Diane a way to stroll along the cliffs of the Dover Fault (“Stop the World”) while the cast scurries about placing chairs for them to step to. Most importantly, it’s a show that calls for an ensemble of mostly character actors, notably Astrid Van Wieren’s welcoming schoolmaster Beulah, Joel Hatch’s suite of local mayors, and Geno Carr’s slightly befuddled local constable.

The music is traditional Maritimes folk music with a strong rock and roll bottom—if not particularly challenging, it’s certainly rousing. It stirs the emotions.

  • Come from Away, book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, directed by Christopher Ashley, Ford’s Theatre, Washington
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