Friday, March 30, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #222

Sitting here at lunch about to get hammered again by monster storms. I am so behind on posting here -- have notes dating back a couple of weeks of really cool stuff, great links, some new videos etc. i hope to get to posting this weekend -- really i do.

Meanwhile, here's a vid Carol put up on her site of Holly Riedel receiving the Harvard Prize last year. Or watch it down below.

It's the last couple of days to send submissions in for Circus of the Spineless #19, being hosted at Burning Silo -- get them to Bev at this address.

And there's a great idea blooming at Voltage Gate for a Blogging BioBlitz -- i like things that are fun, get you in the field, and make no pretense about being scientific effort. I'm signed up for this one.

Looking to do a survey this weekend at Big Springs Ranch also -- about a week overdue.

Will Femia at Clicked always finds the coolest things . . . course it's his job. That makes it a cool job, a really cool job. Anyway, thanks Will.

Google's directions from Stanford, CA to Stockholm, Sweden (check out step #33).

Back with more.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

ENV: Southern Lapwing in Mexico

Here is the photo of the Southern Lapwing photographed in Mexico. Below is the information on the bird as posted to the Mexico-Birding Lserv. Thanks to Tom Ryan for making the photo available.

Southern Lapwing in San Blas Nayarit Posted by: tryanbio@aol asaxatalis Date: Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:08 pm ((PDT))

Hi all, Bill & Doreen Stair reported a Southern Lapwing in San Blas, Nayarit on March 21, 2007. It was found in the fields just east of the little pond near the San Blas Suites. It was in the small fields between the road and the flooded area with the dead trees. This is west of the sewer ponds, between Suites San Blas and the Sewer Ponds. Apparently it has been seen by other birders who were in the area. I have a photo that they sent . . . if you would like for me to forward it, let me know off-line. It is easily identifiable from the photo.

Good birding! Tom Ryan, Pasadena, CA

[P.S. The photo seemed to me to have a color problem, so the version here has a Photoshop color correction -- tg]

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

ENV: Lear's Macaw efforts

Land Purchase Helps to Save Endangered Parrot

American Bird Conservancy has teamed up with the Brazilian conservation group Fundação Biodiversitas and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund to purchase more than 3,000 acres of vital habitat to protect the Lear’s Macaw, one of the worlds’ most endangered birds. The project will protect key nesting sites; ensure their protection through hiring of forest guards, and support education efforts in local communities.

“The Critically Endangered Lear's Macaw is one of the rarest and most spectacular of the world’s parrots,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “We are grateful for the support of the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the outstanding work of Biodiversitas to conserve a species that is on the brink of extinction.”

The Lear’s Macaw and the protection of its habitat are priorities for the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), a global initiative that aims to protect critically endangered and endangered species that depend on single sites for their survival. Recent surveys suggest that only 451 individual macaws survive in the state of Bahia in northeast Brazil.

“The protection of such a vital site for the Lear’s Macaw, through the expansion of the Canudos Biological Station, is a huge step towards the preservation of the species,” said Eduardo Figueiredo, Coordinator of the Biodiversitas Lear’s Macaw Conservation Program. “Important partners such as American Bird Conservancy and Disney are fundamental to keep us working for the conservation of such a wonderful and threatened bird.”

“This large blue macaw faces several severe threats to its continued existence in the wild,” said Michael J. Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy and co-author of A Guide to the Parrots of the World. “It requires constant protection from the illegal wild bird trade while the licuri palm, on which the bird depends, is becoming increasingly scarce. The key area for the species includes sandstone cliffs where it roosts and nests and where it is vulnerable to illegal trappers.”

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ENV: Xenoglaux loweryi seen!

Long Sought After Bird Spotted in Peruvian Nature Reserve
Endangered species known only from captured individuals seen in wild for first time

The extremely rare Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi), a species that wasn’t discovered until 1976, and until now was only known from a few specimens captured in nets after dark, has been seen in the wild for the first time by researchers monitoring the Area de Conservación Privada de Abra Patricia – Alto Nieva, a private conservation area in Northern Peru. The sighting is considered a holy grail of South American ornithology and has not been accomplished in thirty years, despite the efforts of hundreds of birders.

The species is among the world’s smallest owls. It is so distinct that it has been named in its own genus: Xenoglaux meaning “strange owl” on account of the long wispy feathers or whiskers that stream out from its wild-looking reddish-orange eyes. The owl inhabits the dense undergrowth of mountain forests in a remote part of northern Peru.

“Seeing the Long-whiskered Owlet is a huge thrill,” said David Geale of Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) who was part of the research team. “Its population is estimated to be less than 1,000 birds, and possibly as few as 250. Due to the rapid destruction of its forest habitat and its tiny range, it is inferred that the species is in serious decline. Until recently, the owlet’s key habitat was completely unprotected.”

The Long-whiskered Owlet has previously been captured by researchers on at least three occasions, but until 2002 nothing was known of the bird’s natural history. At that point, calls were recorded from a captive bird, but its biology still remained virtually unknown. Last month, researchers Geale and Juvenal Ccahuana encountered the owlet three times during daylight hours and recorded its calls frequently at night. Several photographs were also taken of a bird captured in a mist-net and later released onto a tree branch where it posed for photographs before disappearing into the night. These additional photos are available at and high resolution copies are available upon request.

“The creation of the Area de Conservación Privada de Abra Patricia – Alto Nieva, located in the Northern end of the Peruvian Yungas ecosystem, provides protection for the key site for the Long-whiskered Owlet,” said Hugo Arnal, American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Tropical Andes Program Director. “By establishing a reserve and protecting the owlet’s forest habitat, ABC and its partner ECOAN are giving many other species a chance to survive as well.”

The northeastern section of the Peruvian Yungas, comprises habitat for 317 resident bird species, of which 23 are considered globally threatened. The conservation area also protects much of the known habitat for the endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta, and has been declared a priority by the Alliance for Zero Extinction. Other endemics in the area include the endangered Royal Sunangel (a hummingbird), the rare and recently-described Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant, and the endangered Ash-throated Antwren.

Several songbirds that breed in North America such as the beautiful Blackburnian Warbler also use these forests during the winter. Other migratory species include the Broad-winged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Swainson's Thrush, and Alder Flycatcher. In total, 29 neotropical migrant species use this area, of which 13 are of conservation concern. Nearly 98% of the reserve consists of well-preserved stands of typical Yungas forests, and it is also considered a rich area for orchids.

ABC’s work in the region is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Conoco Phillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Robert Wilson, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program. Birdwatchers wishing to search for the owl should contact Hugo Arnal at American Bird Conservancy (see: Access is strictly limited to small groups and the chances of success though better than in the past are still considered very low for anything but the luckiest groups. ABC is also working with the Commission for the Promotion of Peru to promote eco-tourism in Northern Peru,

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ENV: Little Gull on Bolivar

Jim Stevenson found this little beauty on Boliar Peninsula Saturday, and dropped me a pic to post for TexBirds. This is a wonderful picture of a true Texas rarity.

Here's Jim's not to TexBirds:
After the TOS work day, Keena and I drove the beach along Bolivar towards Galveston. There were quite a few Bonaparte's Gulls, mostly basic adults, but feeding with them was a young Little Gull. . . The bird is roughly in the middle of the town of Crystal Beach, over on the beach front itself. I'd bet real money it'll be there tomorrow. My advice would be to enter the beach at Rollover and work your way down (WSW) to Crystal Beach (and beyond?), looking through the small gulls for immatures. The bird has far more dark on the crown and wings than any young boney (check the guide).

Click on the picture to see it larger:

Little Gull, Larus minutus
TX: Galveston Co., Crystal Beach, 24 March 2007
photo by Jim Stevenson

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #221

"According to Karma, the girls are singing 'The Flying of the Cranes,' composed by the fifth Dalai Lama, who is said to have been a sometime poet. A prisoner sentenced to death is enclosed in a box and thrown into the river. Through the slats, he spies two flying cranes and implores them to lend him the help of their wings. Asked if they did so, Karma shakes his head. 'That prisoner was probably a romantic sort,' he says."

-- Peter Matthiessen, Birds of Heaven

One of my favorite writers and readers, Matthiessen is speaking in SA tonight at the McCombs theatre. I've seen him speak in SA twice, and was enthralled. Beyond his gifts, what a life he has led. I'd trade. Can't make tonight unfortunately. A computer glicth has kept me in front of the screen for about 22 of the last 24 hours. I'd kill myself on I-10 trying to get there. And will likely miss friends Susan and Naomi by missing this. Oh well.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

COM: Past history

I've written about this before . . .

Actor Woody Harrelson's Dad Dies in Prison
Was Convicted of Killing Federal Judge in Texas

DENVER Mar 21, 2007 (AP)— Actor Woody Harrelson's father, Charles Harrelson, died in the Supermax federal prison where he was serving two life sentences for the murder of a federal judge, officials said Wednesday.

Charles Harrelson, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell on March 15 and apparently died of natural causes, said Felicia Ponce, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman in Washington.

Ponce did not know the exact cause of death. Fremont County Coroner Dorothy Twellman did not immediately return a call.

Charles Harrelson was convicted of murder in the May 29, 1979, slaying of U.S. District Judge John Wood Jr. outside his San Antonio, Texas, home. Prosecutors said a drug dealer hired him to kill Wood because he did not want the judge to preside at his upcoming trial.

Charles Harrelson denied the killing, saying he was in Dallas, 270 miles away, at the time.

Wood, known as "Maximum John" for the sentences he gave in drug cases, was the first federal judge to be killed in the 20th century.

Charles Harrelson was transferred to Supermax, the highest-security federal prison, after attempting to break out of an Atlanta federal prison in 1995. Other inmates at Supermax, about 90 miles south of Denver, include Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing coconspirator Terry Nichols and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph.

His son got his start in acting as Woody the bartender on TV's "Cheers" beginning in 1985 and went on to star in films including "Natural Born Killers," "White Men Can't Jump" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt."

Woody Harrelson was just 7 when his father was first sent to prison, for murdering a Texas businessman. He was in college when his father was convicted of the judge's assassination.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

COM: Bogarithmic #220

I wrote a really long, personal, post on basketball, especially Aggie basketball today, and then this stinkin' program ate it. I haven't had the energy (or the time) again to try to reconstuct it, and probably won't. You'd think multimillion dollar corporations could get something right.

Am trying to get up a film clip of highlights from ITM's Taming of the Shrew, but am waiting on an okay.

Meanwhile, we're on the verge of beginning our series of cooking shows on YouTube. Here's a quick and dirty preview:

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

ENV: Billy the Hornbill

This is a story of Billy the Hornbill, found injured on a central Texas ranch on January 28th, 2007, rescued and rehabilitated by three wonderful ladies, Lynne Schaffer, Betty Pollard and Maggie Broyles, and now residing at my place. He’s a Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, native to east Africa, and got loose from somebody, somewhere. No zoos within the expected flight range of this bird are missing any (only two Texas zoos have any to begin with – Gladys Porter and Dallas; and area breeders also don’t report any missing birds). Hornbills are not especially strong fliers (in flight they are reminiscent of a Roadrunner), making it nigh impossible one arrived here from Africa on its own. They spend much of their time hunting food on the ground and jumping from branch to branch in large trees. They are omnivores and eat a wide variety of insects, small mammals and fruit.

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Bycanistes brevis
Filmed 14 March 2007, by Tony Gallucci, Milk River Film

Photo by Lynne Schaffer
with Billy

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COM: Blogarithmic #219

NCAA Updates: Bye-bye Bobby Knight! My bracket's still perfect after three games. Probably the last time i'll be able to say that . . .

Ags lookin' good at halftime . . .

then not so good . . .

then just fine at the half.

I knew it -- after eight games i'm ranked 680,738th!

JOIN THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARTY @ PAMPELL'S, "THE FLASHBACKS", Greg Bitkower, Glenn Martin, Dennis Young, Bryon Foster,
60'S, 70'S & 80'S Rock n' Roll, R & B and beyond, PAMPELL'S, corner of Water St. & Sidney Baker, SATURDAY, MARCH 17 ST., 9:00PM - 12:30,

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ENV: Buckin' Spring

Two bucks got into it outside my office last night. I got some film clips:

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ENV: Bornean Clouded Leopard

I have reported some of this here before, but this seems expanded, and is the first report of a new leopard.

New Leopard Species Found in Borneo
Clouded Leopard Latest in a List of Unique Species of Borneo, Scientists Say
By VIJAY JOSHI, The Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The clouded leopard of Borneo discovered to be an entirely new species is the latest in a growing list of animals and plants unique to the Southeast Asian country's rainforest and underscores the need to preserve the area, conservationists said Thursday.

Genetic tests by researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute revealed that the clouded leopard of Borneo and Sumatra islands is a unique cat species and not the same one found in mainland Southeast Asia as long believed, said a statement by WWF, the global conservation organization.

"Who said a leopard can never change its spots? For over a hundred years we have been looking at this animal and never realized it was unique," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo program, which is dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna in the deep jungles on Borneo.

The secretive clouded leopards are the biggest predators on Borneo, growing sometimes to the size of a small panther. They have the longest canine teeth relative to body size of any cat.

"The fact that Borneo's top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasizes the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo," Chapman said.

The news about the clouded leopard comes just a few weeks after a WWF report showed that scientists had identified at least 52 new species of animals and plants over the past year on Borneo, the world's third largest island that is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Heart of Borneo, a mountainous region about five times the size of Switzerland covered with equatorial rainforest in the center of the island, is the last great forest home of the Bornean clouded leopard.

Researchers believe that the Borneo population of the clouded leopard likely diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago.

Over the millennia, at least 40 differences emerged between the two species, making them as distinct as other large cat species such as lions, tigers and jaguars.

The results of the genetic study are supported by separate research on geographical variation in the clouded leopard, based mainly on fur patterns and coloration of skins held in museums and collections.

The Borneo clouded leopard is darker than the mainland species and has many distinct spots within its small cloud markings. It also has a grayer fur, and a double dorsal stripe.

Clouded leopards from the mainland have fewer and fainter markings within large clouds on their skin. They are also lighter in color.

"It's incredible that no one has ever noticed these differences." said Andrew Kitchener from the Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums, Scotland.

A total of 5,000 to 11,000 Bornean clouded leopards are estimated to live in the jungles of Borneo. The total number in Sumatra could be in the range of 3,000 to 7,000 individuals. The cats' biggest threat is destruction of their habitat.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #218

A lot of you folks out there know that three of the documentaries i've been working on focus on kids with exceptional talents. I've been chasing all over the state filming dance recitals, lacrosse games, bike races, and concerts to get some of them on film. Well, sometimes you have to look for the talent, sometimes it finds you.

I've been posting a good bit of stuff lately on YouTube, though none from these documentaries, and like the other social networking sites out there you get the opportunity to connect with others of like interests, and it's become a fine way to see what others are capable of. Last week i randomly chose a clip to watch (i watch almost anything with someone holding a guitar in the screenshot), and was dumbstruck listening to a 23 year old kid from Canada by the name of Craig Anstey. Just stumbled onto him. Don't know if he's a known thing or what, but give yourself a listen on the embedded video below. He has some nice stuff he's written also, but this one song just got me.

Then today, at least in part because i've supported the new YouTube YTASK group for kids, one of them subscribed to my film channel, a kid named Justin Bieber who just turned a whopping old 13. So, usually if someone is kind enough to add me, i'll add them as well and check out what they have to offer. So i won't say anything more about Justin, everything he does speaks for itself, but he obvously has something of a following already. Embedded videos below!

First, here's Craig . . .

and then, here's Justin . . .

I'm proud to say that i have only seen two of "The Worst Reviewed Movies of All Time", and none in the top 50. Although, tbph, there's another half-dozen on there i've thought about seeing -- not now. I confess too that one of the two i've seen i actually own, entirely because a friend of mine is in it, and while it's goofy, i hardly think it's one of the worst. So, interested? Here's a link.

Back with more tonight.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ENV: Half-eyed House Finch

Since Friday a female House Finch with an odd protrusion on its face has been frequenting my feeders. Today i was able to get some film of it. It's gross. If you're squeamish do not click play on the video. There's narration on there that tells the story more fully. Other birds in the clip include American and Lesser Goldfinches, Northern Cardinal, Chipping Sparrow and a female Golden-fronted Woodpecker. Comments here, via email, or on YouTube welcome.

House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus
TX: Kerr County, 1 mile N of Ingram off TX27, 9-13 March 2007

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ENV: ManyBirds Vids

Malcolm Mark Swan from just down the road in San Antonio is an excellent filmmaker focusing on birds. For a few years now i've enjoyed seeing what fantastic clips show up on his site -- Last week he posted a note about vids of a Green Violet-ear from San Antonio last year, and i've been meaning to send folks to his site to see them. So here's his TexBirds note which sets the stage nicely:

You may recall last year's (June 2006) Green Violet-ear (hummingbird) in southern Bexar County. I posted 4 videos of him at along with 60 other hummingbird clips, all in slow motion (7 species taped in Texas). . . If you are a dial-up user and are attending the TOS meeting in San Antonio, I'll be presenting some of these clips at the Thursday (12 April) afternoon science session.

Not all of my Web page bugs are worked out; the DVD link may be ready by tomorrow, and I haven't yet persuaded my database (which produces each's clip web page) to generate browser-acceptable accent symbols! If you haven't visited ManyBirds lately, you'll notice that I switched to the highly Web-compatible Flash format popularized by YouTube, Google Video, and Stupid Videos. The first part of each clip should play immediately, but you'll have to wait about a minute or two for the remainder. You'll see easy instructions for replaying each clip once it's completely in your computer's cache. Flash clips aren't easily saved to a hard drive, but I'll issue a DVD to serve that need, eliminate the long downloads for dial-up users, and show these clips with all of their frames (30 per second), instead of just 8 fps. I hope you enjoy ManyBirds.

Malcolm Mark Swan
San Antonio TX

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ENV: First Silkmoth of the Season

Other observers had their first Polyphemus Moths of the season yesterday. I came home last night to one at my porch light. That makes FOS yesterday for Kerr and Bee Counties at least.

Polyphemus Moth, Anthearaea polyphemus
TX: Kerr County, one mile N of Ingram off TX27, 12-13 March 2007

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Monday, March 12, 2007

MRF: Black History Month Coffeehouse

Note: Here's links if the embeds aren't firing up:
Buffalo Solider Song -- Go Down Moses

Clifton Fifer – Buffalo Soldier Song

Performed by Clifton Fifer at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation/Schreiner University Coffeehouse Series at Schreiner U’s Cailloux Student Center, February 2007, in celebration of Black History Month.

Clifton is a two-time Texas State Teacher of the Year as a social studies and history teacher at Peterson Middle School. He is also an actor and musician, having won Earnest T. Player Awards for his roles in Driving Miss Daisy, Big River, Lilies of the Field and To Kill a Mockingbird.

He travels the state doing living history shows on African-Americans and Native Americans in Texas, combining these into his stories of Buffalo Soldiers in the West. Clifton is a presenter for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Buffalo Soldier program, and also does shows on the evolution of native American music styles with Tony Gallucci.

Miss Nash – Go Down Moses

Performed by Miss Nash at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation/Schreiner University Coffeehouse Series at Schreiner U’s Cailloux Student Center, February 2007, in celebration of Black History Month.

Miss Nash was born and raised in Kerrville, in what is now known as The Settlement. She enjoyed a long career as a singer, at one time performing with the San Francisco Opera. She resides again in Kerrville, and at 89 years old still packs a powerful voice. She was enticed to perform for the celebration for Black History Month at Schreiner University.

The Coffeehouse is put on monthly by Dr. Kathleen Hudson, executive director of the Texas Heritage Music Foundation of Kerrville, Texas, and is hosted by student Prairie Flower. In addition to Clifton and Miss Nash , other performers for February included, Conan, Lorraine Lemon, Jessica Lott, and the Greg Griffin Blues Band.

Check out the Texas Heritage Music Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the great variety of Texas music, and encouraging education and scholarship. In addition to the Coffeehouse Series, the foundation puts on an annual Texas Living History Day, celebrates the birthday of the Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, and provides a scholarship for a promising student musician to attend college.

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MRF: Marcy Dorman reads Dr. Seuss

Note: Here's a link if the embed isn't firing up:
McElligot's Pool

McElligot’s Pool – read by Marcy Dorman

Marcy Dorman reads Dr. Seuss’ McElligot’s pool during the Hill Country Youth Ranch library’s Dr. Seuss week.

Marcy is one of the great stars of HCYR, delighting kids day in and day out with her love of books and stories. Watch her read one of her favorite Dr. Seuss stories to a group of kids at the library.

The Hill Country Youth Ranch, in the heart of Texas, is dedicated to providing homes for disenfranchised and abandoned children. While it receives money from the state, it cannot operate without funding from private sources. Such funding is imperative for the fine arts programs which seek to identify and nurture the artistic talents of the children.

If you’d like to help, please peruse the website at

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MRF: The Carolyn Wonderland Group

Here's links if the embeds aren't firing up:
Come Together -- Untitled Song (for Molly Ivins)

The Carolyn Wonderland Group

Two Songs by The Carolyn Wonderland Group
Untitled Song (for Molly Ivins)
Come Together

An untitled song, dedicated to the late Molly Ivins, written and performed by The Carolyn Wonderland Group; and Come Together, written by Carolyn Wonderland and Ruthie Foster, performed by The Carolyn Wonderland Group, at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation/Schreiner University Coffeehouse Series at Schreiner U’s Cailloux Student Center, 7 March 2007, in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Come Together

Untitled (for Molly Ivins)

Here is Carolyn’s Press Bio:
Carolyn Wonderland has the goods. A triple threat with her diverse songwriting, soulful vocals, and guitar goddess status - all featured on over twenty CDs, six of which are her releases - she has a pedigree in this business that's hard to match. A bit of a renegade, she likes to incorporate elements of Blues, Country, Swing, Zydeco, Surf, Gospel, Soul, and some nights, maybe even a Cumbia into the musical mix. Recent years have seen her stretching out musically working some expert whistling and scat singing into her shows. In addition to her trusty guitar, "Patty," Carolyn has been regularly playing her trumpet, and even occasionally the accordion, mandolin, or keys...she is threatening to take up nose flute if someone doesn’t stop her...

Wonderland's songs have been featured on NBC's "Homicide," Fox's "Time of Your Life," & Houston NORML even made a video PSA set to Carolyn's "Annie's Scarlet Letter." She has toured with acts like Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter, sat-in with String Cheese Incident, Robert Earl Keen, and Los Lobos, and even sang the "National Anthem" at Sturgis Bike Week 2003 -- her 10th anniversary playing Sturgis -- before Robbie Kneivel's record-breaking jump over one hundred Harleys. Recently, she was a panelist at the University of Texas LBJ Library's "Instruments of Freedom" Forum with Kinky Friedman, Marcia Ball, Jerry Jeff Walker and others. She's been lucky enough to jam with mentors and friends like Bob Dylan, Eddy Shaver and Ray Benson. She's co-written songs with Cindy Cashdollar, Candye Kane, Sarah Brown and Guy Forsyth.

How lucky can one girl get? Well, with a lot of hard work, just this lucky. In her words, "I still get to play most every night, so the adventure continues. Every musical interlude is a new page, another chance to jump into the Ether." Originally from Houston, a city where she has won awards in The Houston Press for everything from Best Guitarist, Vocalist, Songwriter, Blues, to Release of the Year and Musician of the Year -- virtually sweeping the awards for 5 years from the time she was a teenager. Now residing in Austin, Ms. Wonderland says, "I moved to the land of free guitar lessons!"

In addition to leading her band, Carolyn is also in a few other notable groups. She's the primary singer on the Jerry Lightfoot's Band of Wonder "Texistentialism" CD with Jerry and Vince Welnick (Grateful Dead, Tubes.) She's a founding member of the Loose Affiliation of Saints and Sinners (with Papa Mali, Eldridge Goins, Guy Forsyth, and others), with several of her songs being featured on their "Sessions from the Hotel San Jose Rm. 50" CD. Carolyn is also the guitarist in the all-girl, southern rock band Sis DeVille, and a founding member of the Austin Volunteer Orchestra. When she's not playing music or driving around the country, she volunteers for the non-profit charity, Instruments for Orphans, serving on the board of directors. Frequently, you can also catch her doing Gospel Brunch at Maria's Taco X-Press with the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers on Sundays, raising money for local charities.

Her first love is her band, and with good reason. Years of touring are evident in both the maturity of the songs and the tightness of the grooves on 2003's "Bloodless Revolution." Not one to rest on her laurels, Carolyn is back in the studio working with Ray Benson on lucky CD number 7. You can preview some of the new songs at one of the many live shows on her perpetual tour.

• Scott Daniels - guitar, vocals, mandolin [and see]
• Cole El Saleh - keyboards
• Eldridge Goins - drums
• Bobby Perkins - bass

The event is put on monthly by Dr. Kathleen Hudson, executive director of the Texas Heritage Music Foundation of Kerrville, Texas, and is hosted by student Prairie Flower. In addition to The Carolyn Wonderland Group, other performers on March 7th included Melissa Weatherly, Emily Lively & Greg Wall, and Sol Patch.

Check out the Texas Heritage Music Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the great variety of Texas music, and encouraging education and scholarship. In addition to the Coffeehouse Series, the foundation puts on an annual Texas Living History Day, celebrates the birthday of the Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, and provides a scholarship for a promising student musician to attend college.

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MRF: Dana Cooper & Annika Fehling

Here's links if the embeds aren't firing up:
Great Day in the Morning -- Angels in Disguise -- No Waterwell -- Heart Like Flower

Dana Cooper & Annika Fehling
film clips of songs from performance at the Cailloux Charter School, 5 March 2007

Dana and Annika have been visiting the ranch for almost a year now, visiting with the children and using their stories to write songs in support of the Children's Music Project.

A song written on a visit in September 2006, No Waterwell, has now been recorded and released on their new album Visby, Texas.

Dana also co-wrote the title song on the Children's Music Projects new CD Heart Like A Flower with Ranch resident Edlisha Crayton; the CD's due in weeks.

Dana is a legendary American songwriter, having hit the LA music scene as a 16-year-old. His critically acclaimed songs have long been considered Texas classics and he is constantly on worldwide tour showcasing his brilliant lyrics and soaring voice.

Annika fills similar shoes in her native Sweden, where she is not only a lyrical star, but a founder of the Singer/Songwriters of Sweden foundation. She has been sharing tours with Dana since they met at a songwriting seminar in Europe.

Together they have brightened lives here at the Ranch, giving freely of their time, talents and love.

~ ~ ~

Great Day in the Morning

*Written by Dana Cooper and performed by Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling, and the children of Cailloux Charter School, Ingram, Texas, 5 March 2007

© 1987 by Dana Cooper (SESAC), used by permission

~ ~ ~

Angels in Disguise

*Written by Annika Fehling, and performed by Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling, and the children of Cailloux Charter School, Ingram, Texas, 5 March 2007

© 2005 Annika Fehling (SKAP), used by permission

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No Waterwell

*Written by Dana Cooper, Annika Fehling, Kimerbley Caracheo, Jennifer Crabtree, Veronica Ramos and Carol Priour, and performed by Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling, and the children of Cailloux Charter School, Ingram, Texas, 5 March 2007

© 2007 Dana Cooper (SESAC, Annika Fehling (SKAP), Kimberley Caracheo (BMI), Jennifer Crabtree (BMI), Veronica Ramos (BMI), Carol Priour (BMI), used by permission

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Heart Like A Flower

*Written by Dana Cooper and Edlisha Crayton, and performed by Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling, and the children of Cailloux Charter School, Ingram, Texas, 5 March 2007

© 2006 Dana Copper (SESAC) and Edlisha Crayton (BMI), used by permission

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*Special Thanks to Tony Young, Mike Wood, Olivia Navarro, Maria de la Cruz, Holly Riedel and Joshua Rose

*Filmed, edited and produced by Tony Gallucci

The Children's Music Project, Hill Country Youth Ranch, Youth Ranch Music (BMI)
in conjunction with Tony Gallucci (BMI), Milk River Film

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Be sure to check out these wonderful performers and support them as they support us.

Dana Cooper

Annika Fehling

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Children's Music Project

The Children's Music Project is one of several fine arts programs at the Ranch that seek to discover, encourage and accommodate the artistic talents of our children.

With a state of the art recording studio, theatre and fine arts center, the Ranch is immersed in providing kids the opportunity to expand their horizons in ways that may lead to future vocations and careers.

Typically, children at the Ranch write poetry, which is then taken by professional songwriters and musicians and recorded in an effort to spread the words of the child and the story of their lives.

The project is now working on its third CD of songs featuring such luminaries as Dana Cooper, Annika Fehling, Chris Gage, Benita Arterberry-Burns, Stephen Bruton, Monte Montgomery, Flaco Jimenez, Sara Hickman, Tommy Spurlock, and Jamie Oldaker.

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The Ranch and its fine arts programs are supported largely by private donations. If you would like to contribute to the cause, you can visit our Help Us page at, or mail us at P.O. Box 67, Ingram Texas 78025.

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ENV: Sumatran Ground Cuckoo

Lost cuckoo calls forth

The call of Sumatran Ground-cuckoo Carpococcyx viridis has been recorded for the first time, giving conservationists further encouragement in efforts to save the elusive bird from extinction.

The recording was made from a lone ground-cuckoo, brought to conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) after being trapped by local hunters.

“Surveying birds in tropical forests is a real challenge since birds are often hidden from view in dense vegetation,” commented Dr Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International. “Knowledge of their calls is therefore a vital aid to surveying, and this recording may help conservationists learn more about the distribution of this secretive species.”

“We were extremely lucky to have recorded the bird’s unique call,” said Firdaus Rahman, of WCS’s Indonesia Program. “Our team will use the recording to hopefully locate other Sumatran Ground-cuckoos, and to eventually secure their protection.”

"...this recording may help conservationists learn more about the distribution of this secretive species.” —Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife International

In recent decades, recordings of calls from Borneon Ground-cuckoo Carpococcyx radiatus and the rediscovered Gurney’s Pitta Pitta gurneyi have both proved invaluable tools for researchers working to map their species distributions.

Endemic to Sumatra, the large terrestrial ground-cuckoo is renowned for its elusive nature, even to experienced hunters. It had not been recorded for over eighty years until 1997 when one was photographed by conservationists working in the region. In 2006, another bird was captured on video in the Sumatran forest by a camera with built-in motion sensors.

The small population of Sumatran Ground-cuckoo is thought to have suffered from extensive habitat loss occurring in the area – at least two-thirds of original lowland forest cover and at least one-third of montane forest has been lost in recent years, primarily to agricultural encroachment. Sumatran Ground-cuckoo is listed by BirdLife International as Critically Endangered.

Currently in the care of conservationists, the cuckoo - nursing an injured foot - will be released back into northern Bukit Baresan Selatan National Park, where it was originally captured.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

ENV: Kakariki

Rare birds released on island
By TIANA MIOCEVICH - The Marlborough Express Thursday, 8 March 2007

Eleven orange-fronted parakeets were released on Maud Island in Pelorus Sound yesterday, as part of an ongoing breeding project to protect the endangered species.

The orange-fronted parakeet (kakariki) is now the rarest parakeet in New Zealand, with about 200 remaining in the wild. An ongoing captive breeding programme at Peacock Springs Conservation Park in Christchurch has already produced a successful offshore population of the parakeets at Chalky Island, Fiordland. The Department of Conservation hopes to duplicate that feat at Maud Island.

"The island is ideal because it's predator-free," said Mike Aviss, biodiversity manager for the department. Mr Aviss said there were no stoats or rats on the island to kill the low-nesting parakeets, but he said the birds would always be endangered on the mainland until they found an effective way to eliminate stoats.

The eight female and three male parakeets were fitted with transmitting devices on Tuesday to keep track of their progress, and Mr Aviss said that the fledgling birds could start breeding in a matter of months.

"These parakeets are capable of breeding all year round.

"As they mature, they get to be better breeders," he said.

Raymond Smith, a representative from Ngati Kuia, atten-ded the release and said the presence of local iwi was important, to bless the native birds and support the efforts of DOC.

"You can read about it in a DOC report but it's great to be able to see it for yourself," he said.

The birds were released using the hard-release method of letting them fly free from cages immediately, after having endured a flight from Christ-church to Blenheim, and then a helicopter ride to Maud Island.

Anne Richardson bred the parakeets at Peacock Springs, and said there was no reason the birds should fly off Maud Island.

"They've got lots of yummy food to eat," she said. Ms Richardson said her "babies" were her passion, and she did not want to see the parakeets die out.

She said the latest release of the orange-fronted parakeets was the first of many destined for Maud Island, if the breeding programme proved successful there.

"I've done my bit," she says. "The rest is up to them."

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

LIT: Tlingit Macbeth

Perseverance to Do 'Macbeth' in Tlingit
By STEVE QUINN, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, (03-07) 05:10 PST JUNEAU, Alaska (AP)

Jake Waid rubbed his bloodshot eyes, blankly stared at a script for
Shakespeare's "Macbeth," then resumed an unfamiliar struggle with a set
of lines.

"Tleil tsu tlax yei l kusheek'eiyi ye yageeyi kwasatinch, ch'a aan
yak'ei," he read slowly of what would normally be, "So foul and fair a
day I have not seen."

Waid, a 31-year-old who has been acting since he was 15, faces his most
daunting stage assignment to date: performing Shakespeare in Tlingit,
an American Indian language unique to southeast Alaska and Canada, and
in which fewer than 300 people are fluent. Its words are difficult to
translate into English sounds.

The role calls for mastering new sets of pauses, sounds and pitches --
first with his ears then with his voice -- in delivering the lines.
That's not all.

He and 11 other Perseverance Theatre actors had less than one month to
learn a story many knew by heart =C2=97 but that was in English.

"It takes 10 times longer to learn just one line," said Waid, who plays
Macbeth and has performed Shakespeare in theaters worldwide with
various production groups since he was a teenager. "As far as the
structure of the language and the grammar, it's still a mystery."

He reprises his role as Macbeth for Perseverance, which was founded in
1979 in this capital city of 30,000. It's also where Paula Vogel's 1998
Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "How I Learned to Drive," was written and

Since the early February start of rehearsals, actors, stage crew and
directors have been on a harried pace to prepare for a March 8-18
engagement of "Macbeth" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the
American Indian in Washington, D.C. It is part of a six-month
"Shakespeare in Washington" celebration conceived by the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington's Shakespeare
Theatre Company.

It wasn't just actors facing challenges. Costumes had to be redesigned
and stages rebuilt to accommodate this third and final Tlingit
production by the Alaskan theater group.

A truck carrying the stage sets were put on a barge -- no roads lead ou=
of the Alaska state capital -- then driven cross country and rebuilt in
time for final rehearsals. Meanwhile, cast members were pulling
all-nighters learning to speak Tlingit with integrity, honoring not
only the language's heritage but the play's adaptation.

Twice in 2004, Perseverance actors performed Tlingit versions of
"Macbeth," but it was retold primarily in English and featured
indigenous Native American dances, music and clothing.

But this time the 12-member cast, whose ages range from 15 to 42, has
agreed to perform most of the play in Tlingit (pronounced klink-it).

"It's like running a marathon, without training for it," said actor
Ishmael Hope, who plays Malcolm, the son of King Duncan who is killed
by Macbeth. "But we're doing the work to make it happen.

"None of us is going to sound like a fluent speaker, because no matter
how meticulous we are, it's a difficult language. But we'll still be
able to convey meaning."

Director Anita Maynard-Losh first developed the idea of producing a
Tlingit version of "Macbeth" while living in the predominantly Tlingit
village of Hoonah, about 50 miles west of Juneau 25 years ago. She
conducted artists workshops throughout Alaska when she began seeing
connections between the Tlingit culture and "Macbeth" -- the
relationships with the supernatural and the history of fierce warfare
found both in the Tlingit culture and in "Macbeth."

The first production, performed in Juneau, was almost entirely in
English as was a subsequent showing in Anchorage, both three years ago.

After the Anchorage show, the Smithsonian invited Perseverance Theatre
to perform its "Macbeth" version and is underwriting most of the costs
for a production that exceeds $200,000.

This time, Maynard-Losh wanted to illustrate how Macbeth puts individual
gain ahead of the good for the whole, breaking Tlingit tenets. So when
characters adhere to tribal values, cast members speak Tlingit; when
they espouse individual beliefs, they speak Shakespearean English.

For Waid's Macbeth, this occasionally means pursuing a seamless segue
from English to Tlingit and later back to English during the same

"It's no judgment on English speakers; it's just the concept of the
play," Waid said. "It's still one of the demands of the play. Once it's
all in there, they are all just lines."

Not only did actors have to learn lines in another language, but
Maynard-Losh had to direct a cast without understanding what's being

To help compensate, she concentrated on the characters' physical
features =C2=97 posture, proximity, facial expressions.

"You've guys have got a lot going on with your face, which is terrific,"
Maynard-Losh told Hope and cast member Andrew Okpeaha MacLean during a
recent rehearsal. "But you've got to get the bodies going."

The cast features nine original members and three new actors, all of
whom are of Alaska Native descent. The cast includes a mix of seasoned
performers, high school students and one actor making his theater

As in most small productions, many cast members perform multiple roles:
one actor writes Tlingit songs for the play; another doubles as
choreographer; a third serves as the much-needed language coach.

The cast drew former theater member MacLean, a New York filmmaker whose
last play at Perseverance was "Moby-Dick" in 2001. MacLean said he had
no plans to resume theater work, until Maynard-Losh decided to tweak
her own incarnation of "Macbeth."

"It's been one of the focuses in my adult life, to work with the
languages in theater and film," said MacLean, who plays Macduff. "It
bothers me that indigenous languages in general are threatened. So,
I've been trying to do things to take a stand against that, by doing
plays and films. Maybe this play is a small thing to do, but it's a
step in the right direction."

Translation began last summer when Hope, an actor who also oversees the
theater's education outreach programs, sought the help of Alaska Native
elders. The result was a script that initially made the actors' eyes
glaze over while reading the lines, made up of underscored and accented
letters and words with periods in the middle.

Help always seemed within reach.

The wall to the left of the stage is decorated with colored construction
paper featuring single words of Tlingit translation, somewhat akin to
flash cards.

Sitting on the director's table are two Tlingit dictionaries, one
listing nouns and the other verbs.

Lance Twitchell, who plays Ross, serves as the cast's language coach and
is constantly tweaking the script and assisting with pronunciation.

Rehearsals lasted close to nine hours a day, six days a week. Breaks
were really just another chance to review the lines. In the waning days
before the cast left for Washington on Feb. 25, they were getting close,
but still forgetting some lines.

George Holly, who plays Lennox and wrote the play's songs, reminded the
exhausted cast of the significance of their work.

"Who ever hears Tlingit spoken, even for more than 30 seconds, it's just
a phrase here and there, or it's from some elders," he said. "This is so
much more.

"This is not really a premiere of a different take on a Shakespearean
play; it's a premiere of a language on the world stage."

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Monday, March 05, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #217

Tons to post from the last week, including William Lawson and the Highland Park LAX team smoking The Woodlands, Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling singing for the kids here today, last weekend's on fire performance of ITM's One-Act Play troupe at the Wimberely festival with fantastic performances by Irec Hargrove and Cadi Hawkins (who were both competing at State Duet Acting this weekend), some notes on A&M basketball, Tivy jumping into playoff contention with a 1-0 soccer win over Canyon, migration starting to pick up fast, watching Zodiac, and who knows what else. Will be posting pictures and more YouTube video soon. stay tuned.

Meanwhile, PZ Myers at Pharyngula has done another gorgeous spread of invertebrate photos and links for Circus of the Spineless #18. Check it out here.

LIVE @ PAMPELL'S, corner Sidney Baker & Water St., St. Patrick's Night, Saturday, March 17,
9:00pm to 12:30am, "THE FLASHBACKS", Oldies but Goodies - Rock n' Roll, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's & beyond, Blues, R & B, Motown, Jazzy standards, GREG BITKOWER, GLENN MARTIN
DENNIS YOUNG, BRYON FOSTER, Call for booking and other information, (830)459-5414

The 11th Annual Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam is underway. On stages across the Bay Area, poets aged thirteen to nineteen are demonstrating the power of the spoken word. To learn more about this annual event and the Youth Speaks organization, please go to

From Mike Bergin at 10,000Birds!
A greenbelt, as a product of land use policy, is a magnificent thing (as a fashion accessory, usually not so much.) Greenbelts are undeveloped swathes of land, usually within urban areas, designated to stay wild, partially wild, or agricultural. Zones like these add a great deal to the cities enlightened enough to protect them. Greenbelts help to regulate air quality, reduce soil erosion, protect waterways from polluted runoff, recharge groundwater supplies, and lower energy consumption and summer air temperatures by mitigating the urban heat island effect. Not only do greenspaces deliver the passive economic benefits of improved property value, worker productivity, and consumer interest in local businesses, but they also provide venues for active forms of recreation including hiking, biking, and, of course, birding. Long, continuous stretches of woods and water also offer a cornucopia of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. They protect critical habitat from destruction, animals from accidents, and cities from sprawl. What's not to love?

Another greenbelt you're sure to love is The Greenbelt. The Ridger is a linguist, progressive, and self-described Freethinker. She's also a naturalist, with birds and astronomy among the topics she blogs about frequently. Enjoy science and serendipity, words and pictures in her presentation of I and the Bird #44.

You know what else provides scads of psychological and societal benefits while protecting biodiversity, human rights, economic justice, and the fiscal wellbeing of various technology companies? That's right… blogging. If you've been doing your part by blogging about wild birds or birding, join the club. I and the Bird is the blog carnival for you. So send a link to your best recent work to me or our next wonderful host, Jayne (blessingsabound AT mac dot com) of Journey Through Grace. I and the Bird #45 drops on Thursday, March 22, so get your contributions in by March 20.

Also, I and the Bird needs hosts in a big way. If you are a participant, particularly a frequent contributor, who hasn't hosted I and the Bird yet, there's no time like the present to host an April or May edition. Please contact me immediately!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

ENV: Magnificent Hummingbird

One of the most astounding bird records ever for Kerr County occurred next door last summer -- as big as Kerr records of Magnificent Frigatebird and Northern Jacana. Charles and Pat Howeel got pictures of a Magnificent Hummingbird at their neighbor's house. This record didn;t get much play because it was around only briefly, and because it's not a terribly tough bird to find -- only it's normally at 5,000 feet in the Trans-Pecos Mountains. Anyway, here's one of Charlie's pics of this unlikely visitor that i just saw recently for the first time

Magnificent Hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens
TX: Kerr County, between Ingram and Hunt, 1 June 2006

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