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Today’s my mega-commute day, which gets in the way of proper obsessing. And then there’s that whole reality-show-to-determine-the-most-powerful-person-on-earth tonight. But those trivialities aside, I’m looking forward to rewatching Poe Party Ch. 6: Spirits of the Dead about a million times.
It’s so good!
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“Birders” like me are proactive, visiting promising sites to see what may turn up. We are thrilled if we come across species less familiar to us, but we are also capable of spending half an afternoon watching a larks’ nest in a field, observing the parents come and go along a grass tunnel, feeding their young.
That’s how I started—watching the common sparrow. I woke one morning as a boy to find myself paralyzed down my back—very frightening at that or any age. The doctor diagnosed rheumatic fever, and prescribed resting all that summer, in bed. When the weather was good my mum would put a camp bed in the garden and I’d spend the time there. Looking up I watched the sparrows under the eaves of our house, courting, lechering, chattering, bringing in long wisps of straw or grass for their nests, then later feeding their young and teaching them to fly.
A friend down the road lent me a bird book his family had. By today’s standards it would be considered an amateur job, lacking altogether the detailed depiction of plumage with pointers to the diagnostic marks, the precise description of note, song, and habitat. But what the pictures in its pages did do was reveal the mystery that was lying all around me unnoticed, waiting to be discovered. At the end of the garden there would be blue tits hanging under twigs like acrobats, perhaps a song thrush’s nest with blue eggs, and in the woods down the road there would be migrants that had flown from Africa, tiny bundles of fluff, warblers, navigating in ways that are still little understood.
How come the Arctic tern crosses the globe from north to south and back again annually; that adult cuckoos migrate before their offspring, which nevertheless know how to follow them; that after young swifts leave their nest, they may not land again for several years afterwards?
The world is full of marvels, and some of them are closer than you think. I was hooked. I still am.
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Heh. Sigur Rós coming up.
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The ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, which was established in 1132 and subsequently dissolved in 1538 by the order of Henry VIII during the dissolution of the English monasteries. At its height, it was one of the largest and wealthiest abbeys in England.
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#tbt: Hoppípolla — Sigur Rós
Perhaps Sigur Rós’ most commercially successful song, “Hoppípolla” (Icelandic “hopping into puddles”), is an ethereal and happy-feelings song. It was released back in 2005 on their album Takk (Icelandic “thanks”). Its slow, melancholic but soothing sounds flow smoothly, caressing your ears and telling you it’ll all be okay. Like most of Sigur Rós’ songs, this one will pluck your heartstrings and have you mesmerized.
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Jay Z (Shawn Carter) “The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail”
This short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter) and featuring the artwork of Molly Crabapple, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement.
So, you can still see this video various places. Like on the New York Times site, where I went to watch it just now. It makes some important arguments in terms of the drug policy debate.
But apparently you can no longer watch the YouTube video Sylvia reblogged here:
Which is kind of weird. Apparently the Drug Policy Alliance was part of the collaboration that created the video. But then someone else uploaded it to YouTube, and the DPA decided to get that copy pulled down.
I can’t see the linked-to video anymore, so I’m not sure why the DPA would have wanted it removed. It seems kind of counter-productive in terms of getting their message out, though.
I don’t know. I thought that was interesting.
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