Category Archives: Animal psychology
We live in a strange age. The middle class is dissolving like snowmen in April. Our new government was elected on a promise to borrow huge sums that will be spent on infrastructure, as a way to get the economy going. This weekend I read in the paper about what the major cities hope to build, and most of it seems to be focused on mass transit. Great, but I ask you this; the workers are going to get more transit so they can travel to their jobs from further and further away, but is their pay going up? We know the answer to that. Give the workers more transit; it will distract them from the fact that their standard of living is declining, and their commuting time is increasing.
Some cities are hoping to build new arenas and indoor stadiums with the money. Who can afford to go to the insanely expensive events that will happen there? I never attend concerts or sports events anymore, can’t afford it. I saw the Rolling Stones for $12 back in the day. It was fun, although they sucked on stage even then. NHL hockey tickets were $5 for standing room when I was at university. I watched the Montreal Canadiens battle the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup, for five bucks!! Today a cup of pop costs more than that. The Canadiens moved from the Forum, one of the best arenas in the world, to a new arena which has hardly more seats. Why? Because they could build private boxes for wealthy business clients, boxes that sell for astronomical sums, which they need to pay the players their insane salaries. But in the end who pays? The fans, of course, through the nose. But not me. I don’t even watch anymore. I can’t stand all the damned advertising that’s plastered all over the boards and even on the ice. It distracts me from the game.
I heard a story from an elementary school teacher the other day. She can’t teach her class because the students are unable to pay attention for more than five seconds. Meanwhile, every one in the world will soon have a smartphone. Great, but if the ultimate result is kids who can’t think straight, thanks a lot Steve Jobs… I’m sure you never thought that far ahead, and I really don’t blame you, but now what? I was told a similar story about writing skills at universities – kids can’t write anymore. But no one fails either. The professors are intimidated by the power of the students. Everyone loses here however. There are too many distractions for students to pay attention and learn. Maybe they see what’s waiting for them when they get out of school?
But I have distractions too, like fooling around with pictures. But if you’re supposed to be doing your homework, you better quit looking at this right now and get back to work!
Some days I just want to make some marks with a typewriter, if only to justify the collection. Typing is like therapy in a strange way, you press the keys and a physical reaction occurs, leaving you with a mark on paper. It is a feedback loop of sorts, direct, simple, immediate. And it has the added benefit of being quite capable of creating something you can read, criticize, laugh at, enjoy, loath and keep for along long time (almost forever). Typing is like Polaroid photography! My old Professor of Architectural History wrote a book in which he proposed a number of different analogies as ways to interpret the history of architecture. Polaroids didn’t come into that, but had they done so I’m sure my father would have understood; he was a big Polaroid fan and had a number of Polaroid cameras, starting with the original, and ending with the SX 70. His pictures, which were many, were all of what I mention here; laughable, pitifully bad sometimes, yet a reminder of a day or an event that would last and last. Unfortunately all those photos seem to have vanished! So much for posterity. But still, the possibility exists, and that itself makes Polaroids, and typewritten pages different from other ways of recording moments in time…
A blog is like typing and like Polaroids, is it not? You can just sit down and post something, and there it is as a record of a moment in time. How long it might endure is anyone’s guess however. But I do have a shoe box full of the typewritten bits I’ve posted here over the past years, should some future person wish to read them and be amused, or bored..
SOME PHOTOS, C/W THOUGHTS:
HARRY THE HAIRY WOODPECKER
While the world in slumber lay
Santa sailed upon his sleigh
As Harry, hungry pecked his way
Up and down his tree
Seeking ants and juicy grubs
To make a Christmas dinner of
With frozen toes and ice bound beak
Harry saw not Claus, thus weak
Who seeing Harry shivering there
Had caused his sled to stop in air
His sainted heart did almost melt
Such sadness for poor Harry felt
Nearly dead and almost froze
Harry feared to lose his toes
So he retired to his nest
Hungry with a frozen nose
In dreams were summer feasts of bugs
A mate to give him feathery hugs
Struggling hard to carry on
All night he shivered until dawn
Christmas morn with opened eye
His tree bedecked he did espy
And on his head a woolly hat
But on the ground beneath, what’s that?
He scurried down the trunk post haste
On frosty feet, no time to waste
Frantic he was, but awfully weak
He almost broke his frozen beak
Pecked off the ribbon, pulled it free
And there before his eyes did see
A tasty edible dish you say?
Alas, ‘twas coupons for Boxing Day!
We live beside a small pond called Swan Lake. We never see swans here, however. It’s a bird sanctuary, in a park that by some miracle was never destroyed by development. Thank you for that, whoever you were that was responsible. Daily, we walk around the lake, a distance of about a mile, which takes 45 minutes almost invariably. Sometimes I carry a camera, but we have a joke that whenever I do so, we see no wildlife worthy of a photo. Of course when I leave the camera home we run into owls and hawks face to face! But I still like to lug the camera sometimes. Yesterday I put on my 500mm mirror lens. It’s a Tamron, and in its day was very expensive. I got it at a thrift shop for $65, which is not much. I regularly see photographers on out walks, carrying gigantic telephoto lenses mounted on tripods worth more than my camera. All for taking pictures of ducks? I don’t know what they do in truth, but as amazing as those lenses must be, I will probably never buy one. I’m more of an opportunist – I hope for good shots to present themselves randomly. As long as I have the camera at hand, turned on, and set to the right settings of course, then sometimes I get a lucky shot. This long lens is hard to hold steady, however – it probably requires a tripod but I’m too lazy to bother. My Pentax K50 has built in shake reduction, and with my shutter set to 1/1000 I shoot and hope for the best. Of course I also have to focus manually, which is the trickiest part. But here are a few shots. I have numbered them. It’s a quiz! Guess what they are. My answers are below.
Write down your answers – no cheating!
Put down that book!
One more to go, then all will be revealed…
OK, here are the answers:
1. Fuzz on a stick
2. Donatello and Raphael
3. Black footed log roller
4. Orca-like duck
5. Giant hummingbird
OK, who guessed right?