Owl in the ‘hood.

Well into the cold snap today, I bought a pair of clever lights that go on your bike shoes like spurs. I ride less than I used to, in part because I have these premonitions that I’m going to be flattened by a car. So anything that can move and lights up and flash and perhaps tear a driver’s attention away from his or her phone? I’m all for that stuff.

At this time of year, it sometimes seems we’re never going to see bike season again. I bought those lights because I believe in spring, dammit. Also because they were only $10, and accepted ApplePay.

Winter is a series of milestones, like a drunk walking home, lurching from parking meter to lamppost. I’m already seeing pitchers-and-catchers-report numbers here and there. In one month, I’ll start noticing that the days are in fact growing longer. Then snowstorms will give way to freezing rain, then the first false hope of an early spring, then spring itself.

There’s a screech owl hanging in my neighborhood. It’s pair-bonding season, and it’s been raising a ruckus all night, calling to its mate, or potential mates. It’s a wonderful sound, and I wish I could throw a window open to listen to it, instead of catching it in snatches through the double-pane windows, or when taking the recycling out.

Which strikes me as a better use of my time than worrying about what the people of Mt. Airy think of the rest of us. Y’all chewed this one over in comments, and parts of it are appalling, but I can’t deny this made me laugh:

A group of developers has been working on a project to redevelop an old mill, Morrison said, but the proposal has moved slowly because of resistance from residents. Similarly, Vann McCoy, who runs a whiskey shop called Mayberry Spirits, said that residents recently opposed a traffic roundabout because there is no traffic circle visible on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

And people think city folk are smug.

You want some comic relief? Years ago, someone persuaded me to subscribe to Quora, sort of an ask-the-crowd-anything service. I mostly ignore it, but I get regular emails, and this one was pretty amusing. Someone asked

If you had to choose between Donald Trump and Barack Obama to adopt your kids, who would you trust the most to look after your kids?

You’ll never guess who won that one. But some of the answers are funny.

OK, then. This week is short, but it is long, if you catch my drift. I plan to limp through the weekend on fizzy water and protein. Have a good one.

Posted at 9:43 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Owl in the ‘hood.”

  1. Sherri said on January 5, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    If the residents of Mt. Airy are opposed to roundabouts, they’d probably be apoplectic about a woonerf. I’ve been reading my homework for my next Planning Commission meeting, and this new design district area being proposed will have several woonerfs, and in reading more about them, I discovered there was a woonERFgoed dedicated to promoting them. Turns out Dutch has portmanteau words, too: woof=living, erfgoed=heritage, erf=yard, & goed=good.

    We smug liberal coastal elites like walkable cities.

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  2. alex said on January 5, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    The burrowing owls look like Spongebob and kind of sound like him too.

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  3. Sherri said on January 5, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    There is a simple health insurance model that would give these Trump voters exactly the health insurance they say they want. Unfortunately, Republicans hate it, because it transfers money from the .1% to everybody else, and these voters hate it if Dems propose it, because it’s socialized medicine.


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  4. Dexter said on January 6, 2017 at 12:35 am

    I’ve driven the simple east-coast roundbouts and the newer ones with all sorts of squiggly question mark-lookin’ directions, and now they are here, in Toledo, Ann Arbor, everywhere, and I learned to navigate them on my first solo drive in the family Studebaker, in Angola, Indiana, easy peasy…but I got all fuckin’ confused in Hilliard, Ohio a couple years when I came upon a heller roundabout…a four lane street turned instantly into a three lane merry-go-round with markers that indicated U-turns and markers I had never seen before. Coming and going, I got the digit and the horn because I was the rube at the wheel, just in from cornfield land, and they wanted to careen that thing at 45 mph. Now I got it, motherfuckers, and I bang those curves like a goddam Formula One guy, so fuck off.

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  5. Dexter said on January 6, 2017 at 12:56 am

    BASSET: From Wednesday: “Rope” was from a 1929 play by Patrick Hamilton, says Wikipedia. I figured it was a play adaption from the set. I enjoyed that style, it holds the tension. It does not become boring because of the constant little dialog slips the boys use, especially Granger, who is an unstable nervous Nellie (see what I did ?) Hitchcock wanted to make the tension of the relationship between Granger and Dall “even more homosexual” but didn’t even try to get it past censors, because he knew he never could have then. Dall was all-out publicly gay and didn’t give a fuck who knew it. Granger had affairs with Hollywood stars Shelley Winters and Ava Gardner, then also with Leonard Bernstein. It sounds like he was labeled a bi-sexual, but settled into 100% gay relationships. He died just 6 years ago. http://bugsburnett.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-hollywood-star-farley-granger-lost.html
    Now, another movie I just love is Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful 8” I have watched that thing 4 times. It, too, is basically shot in one stage set, but with multiple cameras. I love ‘Pulp Fiction’ but this one may be Sam Jackson’s best-ever performance. Outstanding camera work, great acting.

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  6. Deborah said on January 6, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Roundabouts or rotaries as my husband calls them are much safer than a stoplight at a regular intersection. 4way stops are safer too, but not as safe as roundabouts. They’re safer because they force you to slow down and pay attention. Lane widths make a big difference. The wider the lane, the more people speed, ignoring speed limits. Jeff Speck, the guy who wrote the book about walkable cities recommends 10′ lanes, most are 12′ or more. This is for city streets not interstates of course. Woonerfs are cool because again they force drivers to slow down and pay attention because they’re sharing the road with bikers and peds. Didn’t we discuss roundabouts here before?

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  7. Linda said on January 6, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Here’s one way I measure the march towards spring: clothing catalogs. In January, it’s winter sales, then later it’s spring preview, then spring.

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  8. Suzanne said on January 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I hate winter. I hate having to put on a coat & gloves just to go out & get the morning paper. I hate the darkness. I hate being on high alert about ice on the road or parking lot or sidewalk to avoid a problem. I hate trying to make plans in winter because the weather may turn and plans revised. Mostly, I hate being cold for weeks on end. Why don’t I live in the South?!?!?

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  9. alex said on January 6, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Hey, Mr. Trump, just like those Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11. Except that this was real.

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  10. Heather said on January 6, 2017 at 8:44 am

    There are some traffic circles on side streets in my Chicago neighborhood and nobody knows how to use them–or they just don’t care.

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  11. Connie said on January 6, 2017 at 9:06 am

    A traffic circle and a roundabout are different things and work differently. Enter the roundabout in the lane that shows the direction you want to go. Stay in that lane until you exit. People changing lanes in a roundabout is how accidents happen. And they are almost all side scrapes, as opposed to the t-bone crashes that kill.

    While I am in the midst of moving, for the last four years my window view has included a distant view of the largest roundabout in Oakland County. I am sitting in my new office where my view is trees. And trees. And trees. With the leaves gone I can kind of peer through and see a 7-11 sign.

    Screech owls: At 16 we moved to the country. After a couple of days I told my dad I couldn’t sleep because of the horrible noises. He asked me what it sounded like. I told him it sounded like someone was killing a horse. He told me I was hearing a screech owl.

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  12. Judybusy said on January 6, 2017 at 9:59 am

    It’s early, but I nominate Dexter @ #4 for the thread win.

    Ah, winter and its many discontents. The irony for us is that we now get warm-ups and rain throughout the season, which melts any snow we get. This makes sidewalks really treacherous. Lack of snow also really ruins any chance of XC skiing, a hobby I picked up 7 years ago. Half the years have been bad–either no snow or the trails are so icy, you just slip around. I haven’t been out once this year. I used to really hate winter, and the skiing was really a joy. Also: our winter-model dog. I still take her on long walks on the weekends, but can’t bear to do it during the week when it’s just dark out. The -11 windchill this morning was nuthin’ to that animal!

    I mark winter by our annual trip to Puerto Rico; we leave a week from Monday. Of course seed catalogs are wonderful and have begun arriving! We are planning to see plays, movies, music, etc in February and March to help us get through it all.

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  13. Judybusy said on January 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Maggie Jochild, fierce lion-heart, has left us. Her partner, Margot has been keeping us updated, and I’ve checking FB more often than usual, dreading the news. It’s been so heavy on my mind.

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  14. Sherri said on January 6, 2017 at 10:56 am

    My condolences to Margot. The world is a lesser place without Maggie Jochild’s voice.

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  15. Peter said on January 6, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Dexter, you’d love the roundabout near my house – Golf/Wolf/Broadway in Des Plaines. A normal roundabout just wouldn’t do there – at two spots the right lane is exit only, so you have to merge to the left lane, and at two other spots there’s no stop sign traffic entering the roundabout, so let the games begin!!!!

    Sherri, I had no idea what a woonerf was, but my source says that around here they’re called complete streets. There’s one in Chicago at Argyle by the “L”, and it’s a commercial street full of Vietnamese and Korean shops. Sorry for my prejudice, but with the exception of 80 year olds that’s the last group you’d trust driving on a shared street, but my friend said that it makes sense, since they’re the ones most likely to drive on the sidewalk anyway.

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  16. Sherri said on January 6, 2017 at 11:29 am

    In the lexicon here, complete streets is a more general term. A woonerf is one way of accomplishing a complete street, but not the only way. Redmond has a Complete Streets ordinance; all streets are required to make accommodations for all forms of transportation, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Obviously, a woonerf isn’t appropriate for an arterial, but providing safe crossings, sidewalks, bike lanes (perhaps separated) can satisfy. Even the main limited access freeway in town has a trail that runs alongside it, though as a state road, it isn’t covered by our ordinance.

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  17. Icarus said on January 6, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Winter cold and snow don’t bother me much although I enjoyed them more as a kid than as an adult. However, when the temps are as cold as they have been this week –as low as 10 and as high as only 20 — then it gets beyond annoying. It’s too cold to be outside for very long even if you are bundled up. God forbid I have to do something outside like minor work on a car.

    I do hate the traffic circles on the side streets here in Chicago, but I hate the speed bumps even more. They don’t really slow down traffic as much as they fuel road rage, and guess what? when we get a big batch of snow, or when the rains wash away the paint on them, you cannot see them and you cause damage to your car, even if you are going the speed limit.

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  18. Scout said on January 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    So sorry to hear about Maggie. RIP, fierce lady. Here is a link to her blog. http://www.ifightlikeagirl.com/jochild/

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  19. Scout said on January 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Actually, the above link is to her website, not blog. It’s not up to date, but still a glimpse into her life and writing.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on January 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Please pass my condolences along to Margot. She has been released.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Bless her onwards.

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  22. Suzanne said on January 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    RIP, Maggie.

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  23. Joe K said on January 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Love the traffic circle, love cross over diamonds, can tolerate winter,but right at the moment I’m writing this poolside from the Orlando mouse house, it’s a sunny 78, 1/2 marathon Saturday morning.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. Sherri said on January 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I’m in a place right now that doesn’t really believe in walkability. There are sidewalks in my MIL’s neighborhood, though the only place you can walk is around the neighborhood itself. But people park cars half on the sidewalk and half on the street, even the the sidewalk is raised and separated from the street, so there’s no way my MIL, for instance, could possibly walk around with her walker.

    But it leaves more room for cars, even though there’s not any traffic other than neighborhood traffic, and the development isn’t that big.

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  25. Dexter said on January 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Stay in Mouseland, avoid Lauderdale. Another maniac went ballistic at the big airport there and death toll is 5 now, 8 others shot too. You always pay attention when a place your kin uses frequently is attacked. My grandson just flew into there a while ago and my daughter flies into there when American from Detroit to Miami won’t fit her schedule. It’s a “fluid active scene” as of a few minutes ago, and the whole place is being emptied and SWAT squads are going over every inch.
    Our 15 year old Jack Russell terrier is sick and shitting everywhere…I have spent most of the day running the carpet cleaner over and over…and now I am off to The Pet Store to switch her food. Yuck and yuck. Poor little doggie…we love her so much, don’t want this to be something that finishes her.

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  26. Little Bird said on January 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I wanted to thank everyone for the well wishes regarding my surgery. I’m doing fine now except to say stitches in your cleavage is mighty uncomfortable. They took off 10 tumors this time, more in one go than I’ve ever done before. Here’s hoping that I retain my insurance long enough to get the bigger ones on my back next go ’round. I want to get as much done as soon as possible as a preventive measure. I wouldn’t be pushing it so hard if I felt my insurance was stable.

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  27. Basset said on January 6, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Could someone go back to yesterday’s selected tweets and explain number six to me? Good to be among friends here, where I can show my ignorance without fear of mockery or retribution.

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  28. Sherri said on January 6, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    She didn’t answer “Oiu.”

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  29. basset said on January 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    “Oui.” I see.

    That’s not funny.

    I was expecting his response to mean something in French.

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  30. Sherri said on January 6, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Oops. Typo.

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  31. Jill said on January 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Peter, that Golf Road roundabout is near me, too. I’ve always figured (probably too smugly) that having mastered that one, other roundabouts won’t throw me too much. So far, that’s been true.

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  32. Joe K said on January 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Just found out my 1/2 marathon Saturday morning is cancelled due to forcasted thunderstorms.
    Pilot Joe

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  33. Dexter said on January 7, 2017 at 1:40 am

    John McCain called Russian hacking “an act of war”. Really? He wants to retaliate “war-style”? What the hell is he talking about?

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  34. basset said on January 7, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Twelve degrees in Nashville. That ain’t right.

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  35. David C. said on January 7, 2017 at 6:26 am

    That stinks, Joe. It seems like if they canceled events in Fla. because of forecasted thunderstorms, they would cancel most everything.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

    My thought exactly! I’ve been there three times in ten years, and I can’t recall one trip without a thunderstorm… but safety first.

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  37. Connie said on January 7, 2017 at 9:10 am

    7.7. Or so says my new high tech wireless indoor outdoor thermometer system. Bassett, my niece posted pics of plenty of snow in Franklin. Usually she is bragging about wearing flip flops.

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  38. Sherri said on January 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

    19 this morning in the southeast corner of TN, basset, with snow. Only about an inch or snow, but enough to freak out the locals.

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  39. Joe K said on January 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Hated it but it was the right call. Better on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground. Got up and ran 6 anyway, 73 at 7 am, here, 0 at home.
    Pilot Joe

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  40. Deborah said on January 7, 2017 at 11:47 am

    RIP Maggie.

    It got down to 2 in Abiquiu last night, but we were still cozy in the cabin.

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  41. Connie said on January 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm


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  42. beb said on January 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Kevin Drum has been keeping a chart of Il Douche’s nominees and whether they’re just rich or not-draining the swamp. A couple days ago he had an interesting idea. Trump likes rich people but not people who are richer than he is. So by looking at the worth of his nominees one could tell how much Trump is worth. Since his nominees top out at $2.5 B. Trump must be worth $3-4 billion.

    On the other hand, considering Invanka was trying to hawk a meet-and-greet for $50,000, and the Trump spawn were trying to hawk met-and-greet-and-hunting for a half mill each and Mar-a-lago was selling tickets to a Trump New Years Eve party I get the impression that the Trumps are essentially broke. All their wealth must be tried up in debt forcing them to hustle steaks and wine for any cash they can raise.

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  43. Sherri said on January 7, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Just to keep things interesting around here, the day before we’re supposed to leave, my MIL’s husband has ended up in the hospital to be treated for an infection. He had banged his leg against the bed frame before we got here, and despite going to the doctor twice to get treated, he still ended up with an infection that they want to admit him for. He was insistent that he couldn’t stay in the hospital because my MIL couldn’t be left at home alone (which she doesn’t believe, and I agree with her), but we finally convinced him to stay.

    My MIL, who has lived in this town for over 45 years, has plenty of people she could call on for help, but didn’t want to. She didn’t want to defy her husband, either. I guess she wanted us to volunteer to stay longer, but we need to get back. We finally called one of friends to ask her to help out, and she was glad to, and is already contacting women from a prayer group my MIL used to be in to help out, too.

    When my husband was out here last time, when my MIL was in the hospital for 10 days, her husband ended up in the ER then, too, in addition to needing to be driven 150 miles to an ocuplastic surgeon. Yet he’s resistant to the idea of hiring help or asking for help. My MIL had been driving him to this surgeon until her health declined so rapidly, we hired a limo service a couple of times (expensive!), before we finally convinced him to ask for help. (His daughter has been out to help some, but she’s struggling to make ends meet, from what I understand, after a difficult divorce.)

    Just venting. My MIL and her husband aren’t easy to deal with in the best of circumstances, and these are far from those. My husband is really struggling with a combination of grief, sense of duty, and mental exhaustion.

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  44. Deborah said on January 7, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Sherri, sounds trying. Stressful drama for sure.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Has anyone here raved about “La La Land” yet? If so, I’ve missed it. Apologies if so. But that and “Fences” make theaters worth getting their darn app on my phone and buying tix online and all the stuff they’re herding us into. I will assuredly buy the DVDs of both, but “La La Land” I’m glad to have seen in actual CinemaScope width and glory.

    Oh, my, what a pair of movies.

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  46. Sherri said on January 7, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I’m hoping to see both, Jeff(tmmo), but I’m really happy to hear that Fences is good. August Wilson was so amazing.

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  47. Suzanne said on January 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Sherri, my husband & I are both dealing with aging parents. Ugh. It isn’t easy although fortunately we don’t live too far away. It’s very difficult when they start making poor decisions. We have parents on the one side who refuse to let health issues slow them down, even when they need to, and the other side with some memory loss and the inability to adapt to the new reality that the spouse that never made any major decisions now must.
    I keep apologizing in advance to our children for my future behavior.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    We saw Fences yesterday and it’s very powerful and very sad. It stays true to the play at the expense of the movie experience; no extra characters, and for the most part, set at the house. I’m glad I saw it but I came out a bit depressed.

    We tried to see it on Christmas Day but it was sold out, so I thought we better get to it this weekend before it left. Sure enough, there were only seven people in the theater, and we were three of them.

    The acting was superb, which is to be expected since most of the cast did the show on Broadway and both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis won Tonys for their work. It also won for Best Revival of a Play. No doubt they should both be nominated for Oscars if there is any justice in this world. No one does sorrow as well as Viola Davis.

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  49. Jakash said on January 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    We saw La La Land last night, too, Jeffmo, minus the app and the online tickets, but with the CinemaScope glory. Very enjoyable. I’ll just mention that I couldn’t understand the words to the opening number very well and that Emma Stone, while marvelous, has eyes that are so freaking huge that sometimes I find them distracting!

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