Hungry birds

From Events

From filling the feeder till this happened: approximately 10 minutes. If I’d had a camera with a faster shutter speed I might have gotten some detail of one of the ones about to land, but my 35mm film camera is empty and my digital camera is a Canon point-and-shoot.

New books

I now have the entire Archer’s Beach trilogy by Sharon Lee. I also have Andy Weir’s The Martian. Also Keith Laumer’s A Plague of Demons & Other Stories.

Weir’s book was self-published in 2011 and purchased by Crown Publishing in 2014. It’s gotten very good reviews.

Laumer was an interesting character. An ex-Air Force officer, he was also ex-Foreign Service. He suffered a stroke at age 46 but refused to accept the doctors’ diagnosis and developed an alternate form of treatment for himself. That kept him from writing for a few years, and when he was able to resume it’s said he’d lost some of his skill. I’ve read several of his Bolo stories.

There are a few more new-to-me books, but that’s enough to go on for now. I should also mention that I picked up a used copy of Firefly for $15.

Alabama probate judges hoist on Roy Moore’s ego

Today Federal judge Callie V.S. Granade ordered the probate judge in Mobile County to begin issuing marriage licenses to every couple who asks for one, no matter whether the couple is same-sex or opposite-sex.

“If Plaintiffs take all steps that are required in the normal course of business as a prerequisite to issuing a marriage license to opposite-sex couples, Judge Davis may not deny them a license on the ground that Plaintiffs constitute same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act or by any other Alabama law or Order pertaining to same-sex marriage,” Granade writes.

I think with Mobile that means the counties with the biggest urban centers are now all issuing licenses.

There are still 44 counties in Alabama in which marriage licenses are unavailable to same-sex couples. That’s down from 51 on Monday.

Ol’ Judge Moore is going to lose and he knows it, but he likes to put on a show. Ordering probate judges to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples makes him a hero to the no-neck crowd. He thought about running for Governor a few years ago, and this kind of publicity may push him toward contemplating it again.

R.I.P., Coach Tark

Former basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died today at 84. He was a great coach and a thorn in the NCAA’s side for his entire career, a career in which he won 729 games and lost only 201 for three Division 1 universities, all in the West: Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State. He won one national championship and his UNLV teams had four thirty-win seasons.

He was as famous for his habit of chewing on a damp towel during games as he was for his courtside demeanor and his combativeness with the NCAA. There’s a statue of him outside the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, the arena where the Running Rebels play their home games.


Weird news

First Kanye West decides that Beyoncé needs help from the Grammy voters. Then NBC suspends Brian Williams from The Nightly News for six months without pay.

Hey! Maybe they could just switch jobs! We now know that Mr. Williams has aspirations to be a late night host; from the story above:

About five years ago, as NBC was contemplating who would eventually replace Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show,” he told top NBC executives that he was interested in becoming a late-night host, possibly succeeding Mr. Leno.

Meanwhile, it seems apparent that Mr. West has strong feelings about news events; when it was announced that Beck (Hansen) had won the Album of the Year award at the Grammys Mr. West leapt on stage to announce there must have been a mistake. So we know he’s concerned about accuracy in news reporting.

Whaddya think? Should I write to NBC Universal and to Mr. West’s agents?

Him again?

A federal court judge has told Alabama that it can’t block same-sex marriages; its law banning them is unconstitutional. A federal appeals court has refused to allow the state to delay that order. The Supreme Court of the United States weighed in today, refusing to allow a stay of the lower court’s order.

Game, set and match, right? Not so fast! Judge Roy Moore, he of Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court building’s central rotunda fame or infamy, issued an order to all the probate judges in the state that they not issue marriage licenses to any gay couple who showed up asking for them. Can you define “nullification,” boys and girls?

Worse, “at least 51 of 67 Alabama counties were not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples today in defiance of a federal ruling to do so, according to an ABC News count.”

Hooray for backwards states and recalcitrant jerks in their Supreme Courts.

I wish Mac Thomasson were still alive to see this. As a liberal blogger in Alabama, he wrote a lot about Judge Moore back in the Ten Commandment tablets days. I can imagine what Mac might have said and the sarcastic tone he’d use to say it.

Memory glitch

Brian Williams is removing himself from the NBC Nightly News, at least temporarily. This as a result of flak he’s taking for misremembering (to his friends) or lying (to his critics) about a helicopter ride he took in Iraq in 2003.

I’m no big fan of Williams (the last anchor I really liked was Peter Jennings of ABC), but heaven knows I’ve embellished stories of things that happened to me in the past. It’s not clear to me that he deliberately fudged the story in an attempt to enhance his resumé (I’d think it hardly needs it) or he just got some facts wrong 12 years after the event in question. The helicopter he was on did apparently get hit by small-arms fire, or so the pilot says, although now he’s saying he doesn’t trust his own memory of events that day.

It seems to me that now soldiers are stepping in to say Williams is a bum who didn’t do any of the things he said he did. That’s starting to get into Swift Boat Veterans for Truth territory, and we know how much “truth” was behind that group’s statements about Senator Kerry in 2004.

I don’t think Williams is guilty of much here. We’ll see.