We saw this gorgeous Common Gallinule yesterday, otherwise known as a “Moor Hen,” although approximately half are not hens, and we are many miles from a proper moor:
Moor Hens do not excel at flying; I’ve only seen them catch air for short distances. But they can run fast on the surface of the water (despite lacking webbed toes!) to escape predators and/or sexual harassment.
They are super-vocal birds. Their chicks have an odd tonsure-like bare head when very young. I have no idea why; maybe that’s where the face-shield eventually grows? Anyhoo, Moor Hens, everyone!
Pelosi opens up the possibility of the trillion-dollar platinum coin – for next time
Maybe they just can’t mint one quickly enough for this round?
Cool birds! I really liked the Purple Gallinules I saw too.
It says “Moops” right on the card.
Open thread? Okay, this is really really off-topic but I recently decided that I don’t much care for lava. I was just watching some news clip about the volcano in La Palma when it occurred to me that I have no use for lava whatsoever. Sure, lava gave us Hawaii, and then later on Hawaii gave us surf boards and Obama and some pretty good television theme songs back in the 1970’s, but that’s taking a pretty long view of things. I’m taking the shorter view and I say lava can go f*ck itself.
If you get up in the morning and turn on the local news to see if it’s going to rain or something but instead they’re talking about “an unstoppable river of lava” you can pretty much bet that your day is going all to shit. If it snows you can go out and play in it. You can build and snowman or a fort, throw snowballs or make a snow angel. But lava? Go out to play in the lava and you won’t last thirty seconds.
Anyhow, I just wanted to get that off my chest. Go ahead and talk amongst yourselves.
Gin & Tonic
Can’t tell you how many Hen of the Woods we’ve harvested in the last week or two. I know, animal/vegetable.
Moar Moor Hens. Yea, Betty.
@frosty: There was a wonderful photo in an old (early 1970s?) NatGeo of one of their photographers feeding a wild-but-tame purple gallinule, who is sitting on his camera.
Yesterday the Oregon Legislature approved a reapportionment map that will most likely result in changing the Oregon Congressional delegation from the current 4D/1R to a 5D/1R. 4 seats will be solid D, 1 solid R. The swing district will be Kurt Schrader’s 5th which will trade Salem and Newport for recently blue Bend and a bigger slice of the blue Portland metro area. Blue Dog/Problem Solver Schrader is annoying but will probably hold the seat.
We saw them here in western New York this summer.
Imagining watching the local news (from a safe distance) and seeing lumps of the stuff plopping into your swimming pool .
Having hiked on the stuff (cold only) I find it slow-going. With cinders you go only half a step for every step taken and with the solid stuff every step can be an ankle-breaker and will chew you boot up right quick.
@trollhattan: Watching that stuff always freaks me out. Tsunamis too. I’ve watched dozens of videos on YouTube from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and they’re some of most terrifying spectacles you’ll ever want to see. Nature can be scary.
Dismantle DHS. Do it yesterday.
Created by Bush-Cheney, turned into a personal Gestapo by Trump. What more are we waiting for?
One of those times you wish really, really hard the rocket does not blow itself up on launch. Can I assume Musk isn’t involved?
@lowtechcyclist: They’re cranking out platinum coins right now – making one isn’t the issue, I don’t think. USMint.gov:
They just have to change the “$100” to “$100E12” and the debt limit goes away for a few decades.
But it probably wouldn’t work because it clearly wasn’t Congress’s intent in letting the Mint make platinum coins in “any” face value to get around the debt limit.
If it actually happens, and I don’t expect it to, then they’ll find other ways to suspend it or get around it than the coin.
Adam L Silverman
I’ll just leave these here:
Re: debt limit. I liked the suggestion this morning that Congress/Biden should cite the 14th amendment, say the Constitution ties their hands and just keep paying the bills. So they get taken to court? Is someone going to argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional?
(Narrator: why yes, yes they will)
No love for Commander Cody today. Maybe if all you pencil neck geeks knew he was more than a hard rocking daddy you’d like him! Here he is doin Willin
@Adam L Silverman: Our 1928 movie palace in Richmond VA is showing American Werewolf in October. Plus The Exorcist, They Live, and a lot of great scarefare. https://byrdtheatre.org/showtimes/
Gonna go see Werewolf.
For anyone in central Virginia: Sunday, October 24: fundraiser — all proceeds benefit the 1928 organ. Which will accompany silent movies Phantom of the Opera (1927; Lon Chaney) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920). Great cause; great old movies.
@Elizabelle: I smoked a bomber and went to see it and, when the razor got pulled out, I left. Everyone said I should have stayed.
Saw Commander Cody in concert 15 or so years ago. It was a good evening.
Biology pendants* softly murmur “fungal”.
* Official internet spelling and pet peeve.
It’s one of those days when the NYT restaurant critic (Pete Wells) does a number on an unfortunate chef. A sample:
Adam L Silverman
@raven: It’s a great movie. Watch it on wherever it is streaming.
@SpaceUnit: I think it’s Pele’s response to climate change.
When my son was a toddler, we visited Volcanoes National Park in Hawai’i – walking on the steaming lava field (only the adults did this) was both amazing and terrifying. Afterward, my son tried, for reasons known only to 3-year-olds, to throw one of his sandals into the volcanic crater from an overlook. I was REALLY glad this happened after our walk and not before. Throwing shoes at Pele seems like an extremely unwise move. We made her an offering when we got home.
Don’t mess with Pele. She gets mad, and when she gets mad, she gets even. Humans are really pissing her off right now.
@raven: Did not know he was an artist – as was Captain Beefheart.
@Old School: He died yesterday.
Bill in Section 147
@raven: Saw him in the late 70s. He opened for Elvin Bishop. A great show.
@Comrade Colette: Yeah. I think it would be better for us all if Pele didn’t watch the news.
@raven: Oh. Will be watching for that scene. Know nothing about the movie.
And RIP, Commander Cody. You probably saw this obit from Variety. His first band was The Fantastic Surfing Beavers. Well, all right.
I did not follow them, but I like swing music. Will have to listen up. Only know “Hot Rod Lincoln” (and that is a great song).
@Bill in Section 147: OOOO, that would have been awesome!
@SpaceUnit: Why do you hate igneous rock?! You rockist!
@Elizabelle: My fav
Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites  – Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen
Here in New Zealand, these birds are known as Pukeko (aka the swamphen).
Like most rails, pukeko are generally found in or near wetland habitats. Their long legs and feet are well adapted for wading through shallow waters with muddy bottoms. They feed mainly on roots, seeds, and shoots of grasses, which they typically hold with one foot, parrot-fashion, while stripping off the outer layers with their beak to get at the tender tissues within.
@mrmoshpotato: Punk, alt, classic, metal, post-punk, progressive? All good. Molten? Nope.
@trollhattan: “The volcano is entering a fresh explosive phase”
Now that creepy “Dog the Bounty Hunter” dude is running around Florida beaches looking for the boyfriend who killed the van life blogger. Good lord, the nuttiness never ends.
@raven: Damn. He was awesome. He and the Lost Planet Airmen played at my tiny college back in the 70s and I saw him a handful of times over the years – always a fun show.
The Armadillo World Headquarters live album has to be one of the better live records made. So much energy, tight band.
@trollhattan: Dismantle DHS into the Sun.
Martin Mull, also, too, and of course Joni.
@raven: Thank you. Will give it a listen.
@Adam L Silverman: “Bye, girls”
@Royston Vasey: They sound very much like our Moor Hens here! A lot of folks who’ve only seen them in passing while the birds are swimming on a pond or lake assume they have duck-like legs and feet, but as you noted, they have much longer legs and toes. Perfectly adapted for walking thru muck and on floating vegetation.
We’ve had minor flooding on our river for the past several weeks. It hasn’t affected us, but lots of floating masses of vegetation have passed by, and I’ve seen birds, including Moor Hens, hop on and off them like they’re catching a bus! :)
@SpaceUnit: What about sedimentary and metamorphic?
@raven: There was a great book on the rock and roll biz – I think it may have been Star-Making Machinery – that used Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen as the poster boys for all that was fucked-up about the music industry at that time (as opposed to the modern-day fucked-up-ed-ness of the music industry). Always had a soft spot for “Hot Rod Lincoln” as a wee tad (not surprisingly, it was a big hit on the Detroit airwaves at the time).
@germy: Ethel Merman
@Betty Cracker: How does river flooding affect your neck of the swamp?
@raven: It’s striking that so many people who are known for one art are also adept at one or more others.
@mrmoshpotato: Okay, they’re both pretty solid.
@Elizabelle: Ooo, silents with live music, especially organ, are great.
@MattF: Sometimes, the best newspaper writing is to be found in the sports section. Sometimes it’s in restaurant reviews. Thank you for this deliciously venomous little piece.
@mrmoshpotato: There’s a dam about a mile upriver from us, and the water is over the top of it now. Most of the houses back here are either stilt houses like ours or on built-up foundations to avoid seasonal flooding, so no one is flooded out so far.
The year there were four hurricanes in a row (2004), the house we live in now had water downstairs, but it’s not part of the house proper; it’s enclosed as a game room. The main house was undamaged then and should be okay if that happens again. But it would be a pain in the ass because we’d have to move stuff, and the road would be impassable (it’s a long dirt road that is shitty under the best circumstances).
For us, the only real effect for minor flooding like this is that we have to be mindful of the clearance going under some of the bridges in a boat, and we have gators sunning on our dock. For real! When the water is high enough, they float right onto it and hang out. But some folks in lower lying areas downriver will get inundated if it gets much higher, and the roads will be even worse. So, we’re hoping there won’t be any hurricanes.
Makes me want to reprise an old gag:
Maaooooooooooo, the WereCows of London …
@prostratedragon: Really look forward to it. Have seen The Phantom before. What a workout for the accompanying musician!
@Jim Appleton: Drinkin’ pina coladas at …. well, where do the WereCows gather? DQ?
@Elizabelle: I believe Trader Vic’s is no longer around.
@Elizabelle: At the moo-soleum.
Fine. I’m going.
More hens, please. And ducks!
Just took my nightly walk around the neighborhood and noticed the cicadas have died or disappeared or whatever they do at the end of summer. Good riddance, beasties!
smedley the uncertain
@Ken: Just let them hang
Oh, no! ?
I used to measure my sobriety by my ability to keep up with these lyrics.
Do you know if Hubble will be decommissioned?
Betty, thank you for all the photos of swamp things, especially the birds. I live diagonally across the country from you and don’t ever see most of the critters you photograph. I’ve never been to Florida and plan to avoid it for the rest of my time on the planet, so I really appreciate the Moorhens and other swamp critters.
Note: I don’t need any photos of mosquitos unless they are the size of condors.
I’ll be amazed if those involved in the project survive the launch and deployment. This could be the most nerve-wracking mission in the history of our space program. The telescope is so expensive, so far behind schedule, and going so far from earth that everything has to work perfectly.
@debbie: Since HST observes mainly in visible and UV frequencies and the JWST will observe in the infrared part of the spectrum, the JWST (please change the name) is not really a Hubble replacement, they are meant to be complementary to each other. The current plan is to keep using the Hubble as long as it’s doing useful science.
Maybe it’s Moor as in Othello,
not moor as in Scottish uplands
Any poule d’eau down there?