Hop on Pop (Open Thread)

We’ve got a family of purple house finches in the yard with three fledglings. The fledglings are still a bit awkward in flight but do well enough; they can land on our feeders and gorge themselves, as they do pretty much all day.

But they still harass their parents for food. Here’s Father Finch being importuned by a baby, which is flapping its wings and screeching to demand that food be stuffed directly into its maw — just a few feet from a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet:

So, Papa feeds the little screecher:

But that just makes the little bird flap harder and screech more loudly:

So he feeds it some more:

It STILL won’t shut up, so Dad says, “Fuck it, I’m out.”

But another hungry chick awaits him on the next branch. Poor Papa Purple.

Open thread!

State Dinner (Open Thread)

Here’s a non-state dinner happening outside my window this morning:

Don’t you hate it when someone takes a picture right when you’re shoving a big piece of food into your mouth? Happens to me all the time. Sorry, birds.

Anyhoo, French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in DC today for the first state visit of the Trump administrophe. There’s a state dinner tomorrow to which no Democrats were invited. Fox News personalities will likely be on hand to manage policy discussions.

Via ABC News, Nicholas Dungan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor at Paris-based institute Sciences Po, said:

“Emmanuel Macron has characteristics that are more classically American than French. He is professional, rigorous and understands the value of work.”

I wonder what the French would make of that characterization? Regardless of how “classically American” those characteristics allegedly are, the orange fart cloud does not possess them. He embodies the polar opposite of them.

So, how will Trump embarrass us during this state visit? Will he do the weird handshake thing again? Leer inappropriately at Brigitte Macron and tell her she looks great “for her age?” Or strike out in a new direction and blaze fresh trails in national humiliation?

In other news, the naked white guy who shot and killed four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee is still on the run. A diner, James Shaw Jr., rushed the shooter and disarmed him, almost certainly preventing further carnage. Unlike in the aftermath of the Texas church massacre, Trump hasn’t tweeted about this hero, probably because Shaw was an unarmed black man, and thus doesn’t fit the narrative.

It turns out the shooter had a history of psychiatric problems and had no business owning a gun of any type, let alone an AR-15. Authorities took his guns when he approached the White House some months ago babbling about meeting with Trump. The authorities gave the guns to the suspect’s father, who returned them to the nutjob son. It probably wasn’t even illegal to do so.

And now four young people are dead for no reason. Damn, this is a fucked up country.

Open thread!

ETA: I have been reliably informed that there WILL be a Democrat at the state dinner: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. No Democrats from Congress though, which is unprecedented in modern presidencies, or so I read.

Back, and to the left…

A depressing thought occurred to me recently. Those of us who experienced the 2016 election as a national and personal trauma could be forever doomed to live with the mysteries and what-ifs associated with it, in the same way my parents’ generation is still haunted by the Kennedy assassination and the horrors that unfolded from that.

Am I being a drama llama to compare the two events — an assassination and a fucked-up election? Possibly. In 1963, a sitting president was murdered — a shockingly violent act. The violence associated with the 2016 election has thus far been indirect and mostly out of sight: people dying of treatable diseases, hurricane victims left to fend for themselves, people brutalized by emboldened rogue cops, folks murdered by re-energized white supremacists, etc.

In the future, the 2016 election’s body count may very well be increased by women who die from back alley abortions, children silently poisoned by polluted water and air, cities drowned by rising seas, a higher suicide rate among LBGTQ youth and victims of a war John Bolton is itching to start. Horrific results are already here, and more definitely await us; only the magnitude is in question.

James Comey’s current halo-polishing tour inspired this depressing line of thought, specifically his struggle to explain his decision to insert himself into the election at critical inflection points, which arguably set the current nightmare into motion.

Among Comey’s rationales was his perceived need to counter Russian bullshit about Loretta Lynch controlling himself and the FBI on Clinton’s behalf. So, Comey was the biggest fly by far caught in the “fake news” web Putin’s operatives spun. We’ll live with the consequences of that, one way or another, for the rest of our days.

Maybe that’s why I’ve felt compelled to watch the bastard’s “aw shucks, I’m just a big ol’ Boy Scout” book tour. It’s horrifying and fascinating to watch him explain why he did what he did — kinda like watching the Zapruder film. You know the outcome is catastrophic. But you watch it anyway, wondering how things might have turned out differently, marveling that so much turned on such insignificant things, like one man’s massive ego.

Eh, fuck it — let’s watch something more pleasant, like these birds on my hanging feeder. They’re house finches, maybe?

That feeder hangs from a tree and is located about four feet from the window where my my workstation is. When we have high winds like we did the other day, I take the feeder down because I’m afraid it will start swinging hard enough to bust through my window — possibly with squirrels attached to it, which would obviously result in chaos.

Anyhoo, open thread?

Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

If you’re wondering why we’ve gone a while without a post, a few of us have posts brewing in the backroom, but, seeing that others are editing posts, we’re reluctant to hit publish for fear of big-footing. Yes, the co-bloggers I’m referring to all happen to be women — why do you ask?

Anyhoo, woodpeckers were in the bottle-brush tree again. There was a pair flitting all over the yard around 9 AM while I was having coffee on the veranda. Here’s one of them:

Here it is hanging out with a mockingbird pal:

This particular bird calls a lot, and when it does, it vibrates like a paint mixer:

Terrible things are happening in the world, but I’m pretending not to know about them for the afternoon. You?

ETA: Okay, the most Balloon Juice thing ever just happened: Anne Laurie and I both published posts at the exact same minute. Then we both took them down. I put mine up again, damn it, and up it stays! :-)

Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread

So much appalling, depressing and embarrassing shit in the news today. I can’t bear to read it, watch it or even think about it. How about a lovely drawing of cedar waxwings — by Balloon Juice lurker global warm — instead?

The drawing is from a photo I shared last week of the waxwings in our bamboo stand. Beautiful job, global warm.

Open thread.

Saturday Morning Open Thread

Above is another look at the cedar waxwings who visited our bamboo earlier this week. I haven’t seen them in a couple of days, so I assume they’ve flown up to Illinois or wherever they live in the summer.

Today is butter lamb sculpting day! (General butter lamb explanation here; last year’s effort here.) I’ll share the results as usual later on.

I need to go to the store and get stuff to make the two Easter feast side dishes I’m in charge of (asparagus and carrots), plus put Easter baskets together for my kiddo and her roomies. I suspect the store will be a nightmare.

What are you up to today?

Thursday Afternoon Open Thread

Saw this beautiful little downy woodpecker in a bamboo stand this morning:

Odds and ends in the news include Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg getting an apology from wingnut jackass Laura Ingraham — after advertisers fled her show. She had ridiculed the kid for failing to get into his first choice college with a 4.2 GPA. These people are irredeemable assholes, but you knew that.

In other news, Trump stopped off in Ohio on his way to Florida. He rambled like a demented fool about random topics, with the familiar self-aggrandizing flourishes and bald-faced lies. Here’s a representative sample:

If you can figure out what the fuck that even means, please share with the class. Open thread!