Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birds at My Feeder

Apparently (according to some of my children anyway) I'm becoming an old man - this because I like to look at the birds that gather at my feeder outside the kitchen window. But I think it's pretty cool to see the number and variety of birds that rely on the food there. I've had a black-capped chickadee feed out of my hand a couple of times too. We've seen juncos, finches and sparrows but the most striking of course are the pair of cardinals. They look beautiful in the trees just outside our back door, especially with some of the thick snow we've had in the past week or so. Some days it gets quite busy back there with up to a dozen or more birds on the feeder, the ground or in the tree. I've had to work at keeping the squirrels out of it - they actually will walk along the clothes line so I've put a plastic bucket on it. Squirrels will also take the lid off of the feeder so I've taken to wiring it shut - extra work each time I fill it but that seems to be working. And I don't mind because I love my birds! (and trying my best to not sound like a grumpy old man)
I've been considering reading Doctor Zhivago for a few months, since reading a review of a new translation at Then I noticed last week that they're showing the classic movie of this on Feb. 16th on the big screen at Galaxy so I went to the library to get a copy. Now I'm under the gun to read this 522 page book in 10 days. And it is tough slogging. I think this will be the last Russian book I ever read. The writing is just so dense, descriptions sometimes are quite overdone (including some pretty odd similes), the characters tend do too much long philosophizing, and some sentences just don't make sense no matter how long you read them over. Plus, everyone has 3 names (and often a nickname) so it can get really tricky keeping track. I often have to go back into previous chapters to figure out who has been introduced before and I've found some notes online that I read after each chapter to make sure I'm understanding the main plot and some of the literary nuances. But so far I can't really say I'm enjoying it.
Been sampling some of the recommendations from CT's Best Music of 2010 and so far have been less than impressed. I've appreciated 5 of the 12 releases they mention but the other stuff just doesn't grab me. Seems to be focussed too much on old-timey gospel songs it seems to me. Tried Aaron Neville's "I Know I've Been Changed" and Mavis Staples' "You Are Not Alone" but can't get into them. Give me Mike Roe's or The 77's take on classic gospel tunes anytime over these. And what's with promoting an album that includes the line 'your wicked daughters are doomed to hell' (on Staples' song "The Downward Road")? - Yuck!

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