Fuzzy Chicks (Open Thread)

I dropped the kiddo off at school this morning, like I do most weekdays when it’s not summer. I was driving away, reeling from the teenage-pheromones contact buzz and listening to NPR’s breathless coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, and it occurred to me for the millionth time that we — all of us — are generally able to ignore the specter of death due to a lifelong practice of internal terror management, using whatever ways work best for us.

None get out alive, and the unlucky are separated forever from those they love in an instant by extraordinarily violent means. Sometimes it makes screaming headlines; more often it goes unnoticed by all except those directly affected. But the pain and despair are the same.

I saw this crane family in a median strip on the highway, two fuzzy hatchlings and their parents:

cranes 1

Of course, it all looks fuzzy because I suck as a photographer and was using a camera phone while stopped on the highway and watching for oncoming traffic in my rearview mirror. But trust me — the babies are adorable fuzz balls on stalky legs following sleek, elegant, purposeful parents who stand more than three feet tall:

cranes 3

Did seeing this lovely crane family turn my morbid thoughts to life and spring and hope? Well hell no, actually: For one thing, the damn cranes were on the median strip of a highway with a 45 MPH speed limit, so I worried that they’d be flattened by a school bus or dump truck.

But the cranes were focused on the moment, attentive to the task of finding the next juicy bug, with the adults helping the chicks learn to ruin flowerbeds and putting greens while navigating swampy landscapes with all the attendant hazards. Their kind — and ours — will continue about the business of daily life until the earth chokes to death on emissions, is rendered barren by an asteroid or is incinerated by the sun, whichever comes first. There’s some comfort in that, I suppose.

Please consider this an open thread.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

Non-Boston Open Thread

Here’s a thread for anything but Boston.

Early Morning Open Thread: My New Hero

bill iffrig by john tlumacki globe staff
(By John Tlumacki / Globe Staff)
From the Boston Globe:

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A 78-year-old Washington state man running his third Boston Marathon was near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts and caught in a news photograph that quickly went viral.

Bill Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, told The Herald of Everett that he heard a noise Monday and found himself on the ground.

‘‘It was only 5 feet away from me,’’ he said. ‘‘It was really loud.’’

He said he ended up with a scrape on his knee, and that a race official helped him to his feet.

Iffrig said most of the other runners near the area weren’t as close to the explosion as he was. He walked across the finish line and another half-mile to his hotel. Iffrig said of his proximity to the explosion that it was a ‘‘close one’’ and the experience ‘‘scared’’ him…

I kid you not: Every local Boston channel showed at least one interview with Mr. Iffrig, pleading for a how bad was it? how traumatized are you? do you think you can ever recover from the horror of that life- changing moment? sound bite, and he just would not take the bait. He got knocked down, scraped his knee, it was pretty scary. Then he got up, and a nice young volunteer made sure he could cross the finish line. Of course he finished the [unspoken expletive] race, he’d just run 26 miles and there was no point in quitting within yards of the goal. When one interviewer pushed him, he added that he’d run last year’s Marathon in the record-breaking heat, “and that was pretty bad, but today I was having a good run, right up until that bit at the end.”

Keep cahm n kerry ahn, indeed.

Late Night Open Thread: Return of the Herminator

The Washington Post published this in its Style section, which seems reasonable:

Herman Cain returns to spotlight with American Black Conservatives group
… Herman Cain steps up to microphones at the Willard hotel on Monday after a two-day meeting of a dozen black conservatives that he pulled together. Mr. 9-9-9 has come out of the meetings with a catchy name for his group. They are the ABCs — American Black Conservatives.

After surging to the front of the GOP primary field in 2011 — before flaming out amid a wave of sexual harassment allegations — Cain returned home to Georgia to his radio show, relatively forgotten. Standing before the mikes on Monday he seems to sense another moment in the blazing sun on what happens to be an overcast day in the nation’s capital — a moment not solely for himself but for an entire cadre of “like-minded Americans who happen to be black.”

The former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza acted as something of a godfather to the ABCs, including the famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has reaped his share of controversy of late for his remarks lumping together homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality. The pair were joined by the founder of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, a former Ohio secretary of state, a former U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, a radio personality and a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., who has become a conservative activist…

Cain’s confab was also noticeable for the African American conservatives not in attendance: former congressman J.C. Watts, former Bush secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.). Cain said the dozen people who came were those who were top-of-mind for him.

“There were one or two dozen others I could have asked,” Cain said. “I hope they’re not offended.”

Watts said he was invited and would have attended had it not been for a scheduling conflict. In a phone interview Monday, he said he was distressed about the state of black conservatives, whom he would like to see, along with others in the Republican Party, address a broad range of issues important to the African American community: development of low-income communities, minority health disparities, poverty and investment in historically black universities. Instead, attention has focused on the evocative language and aggressive tactics of black conservatives…

Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that Herman Cain is no more interested in the “state of black conservatives” than Sarah Palin is interested in the state of conservative feminists, or Newt Gingrich in the plight of inner-city children from single-parent homes. Mr. Cain is gearing up his griftwagon for the new!improved! GOP minority outreach, and as a proud Democrat I look forward to watching Reince Priebus, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the other current princelings of the party reach out to join hands with the Herminator… without diving for the hand sanitizer before the video feed switches away.

A Song for Tonight

Remember when Sting wasn’t a pretentious douchebag and the Police really rocked? Zenyetta Mondatta, Synchronicity, Regatta de Blanc, etc. Every song on Synchronicity was good- IS ANYBODY ALIVE IN HERE, IS ANYONE AT ALL IN HERE? NOBODY BUT US IN HERE, NOBODY BUT US! No. And don’t get me started on that damned Mrs. Gradenko. They were great.

When I go to the grocery and see the tabloids, I don’t know who most of the people on the cover are, but the ones I recognize are universally awful people with no talent, whether it be the Kardashian filth or the Jersey Shore cast or that idiot Katy Perry or the Belieber, but I really do feel sad for the kids these days. I’ll take the Cars and Zeppelin and the Police and Van Halen and all of the music from my day over these idiots.

I’ll just leave you with that, because I forgot my metamucil and beta blocker with an 81 mg aspirin and I need to light another candle for my essential oils. Plus I think those god damned kids are on my grass again. Will someone remember to crank the victrola so I can fall asleep to music?