Friday, February 23, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #216

Getting lots of great words on the Forgiven video. I now have a director account at YouTube (http://www.YouTube.com/milkriverfilm), and hope to be uploading some other short clips soon.

ITM's The Taming of the Shrew gets its first public display tomorrow at the Wimberley One-Act Play Festival. Will update on how it goes.

ITM's basketball team didn't fare too well in the first round of the playoffs, but considering that they won few games, it was nice just to be there:

La Vernia bolts past Warriors
The Daily Times, Published February 22, 2007


SPRING BRANCH — At first, a taste of playoff action seemed a bit much for a young Ingram Tom Moore basketball team to handle. But, coach Vance Millican said that Wednesday night’s 54-40 loss to La Vernia in the Region IV-Class 3A bi-district game at Smithson Valley High is more appetizer than main course. “They got a small taste of what playoff basketball is all about,” Millican said after his team finished its season 7-24. “They got to see what it’s all about, and hopefully it will make them hungry to get back here next year.”


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Monday, February 19, 2007

ENV: Puaiohi Release


Birds freed in Kauai forest to fight for species' survival
Puaiohi are among the few natives that adapt to the wild
By Diana Leone, Star-Bulletin


Today or tomorrow, depending on the weather, nine endangered puaiohi birds that were raised in captivity will be set free in Kauai's remote Alakai Wilderness.

As the small gray-brown birds fly off into the rain-soaked ohia forest, they'll be facing the toughest days of their lives.

"Most mortality occurs right after release," said Pauline Roberts, coordinator of the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project. Instead of being fed several times a day, the birds will have to forage for themselves.

"The foods are new, the weather harsher. They've never flown such large distances before. They've never seen a rat," one of their most dangerous predators, Roberts said. "It's a steep learning curve."

Yet the petite bird also known as the small Kauai thrush has done well.

It is one of the success stories in progress among the 35 threatened or endangered native Hawaiian bird species. The effort to save the birds includes raising them to add to wild bird populations and improving their habitats by removing predators and alien plants and animals.

There are an estimated 300 to 600 puaiohi on Kauai, the only place they have ever been found.

Since 1999, conservation biologists have released 132 puaiohi birds into the wild, said Alan Lieberman, program director of the San Diego Zoo's Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program. The program receives about $900,000 a year from state and federal agencies to raise five species of Hawaiian endangered birds from eggs for release to the wild.

"We are just part of the army that's trying to make the big difference," Lieberman said of his team of 13 people and its partners: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, state Division of Forestry and Wildlife (part of the Department of Land and Natural Resources), the U.S. Geological Survey's biological branch and private landowners.

"Mother Nature is a wonderful thing," Lieberman said. "A chick raised in a cup with tissue paper" and released into the wild, "within a month picks up the right nesting material, goes to a niche in cliff wall and makes a nest. ... They just know."

Yet all Hawaii's native birds, even those not listed as endangered, face an uphill battle. Of more than 140 native species and subspecies known to have existed before humans came to Hawaii, half are gone. Of the 71 survivors, 15 teeter on the brink of extinction, with 500 or fewer animals in the wild. A number of those birds haven't been sighted in years and could be gone already.
Hawaii's native birds have struggled against increasing odds in the face of alien threats to their island paradise. These include:

» Mosquitos, which can spread malaria and avian pox that have killed many native birds.

» Pigs, sheep and goats, which destroy native plant life.

» Rats, mongoose, cats and dogs, which prey on native birds and their eggs and young.

Lieberman emphasizes that his program "does not put any wild bird population at risk. We've taken eggs, not live birds." All 230 puaiohi raised in captivity are descendants of the original 14 fertile eggs taken from wild birds' nests in 1996-97.

Any captive raised birds that survive add to the wild bird flock. Scientists in the field have observed puaiohi released in prior years raising families of their own, having bred with both wild and fellow captive-bred birds.

Of the five bird species raised in captivity and released to the wild, the palila, nene goose and puaiohi have done well.
The alala (Hawaiian crow) has no wild population, and whether the 52 captive birds can ensure its survival remains uncertain.

A new program to raise Maui parrotbill is too new to assess, but the hope is to establish a second wild group, as was done with the palila on the Big Island.

"It's a great privilege to be here and do conservation work," said Roberts, who spends hours tracking puaiohi in the rainy Alakai wilderness via tiny radio transmitters.

The bird, which is "bigger than a canary but smaller than a zebra dove ... could be sitting in a tree right next to you and you wouldn't see it," Roberts said.
Roberts notes that the kamao, or large Kauai thrush, has not been seen since 1989. Some might still exist. Or not.

"That's what I don't want to happen to the puaiohi," Roberts said. "This is a species that has lasted thousands and thousands of years. It would be so hard to lose them. I don't want to even consider it as possibility."

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ENV: Ivory-bill Robots

Robot hunts ‘the Elvis of extinct birds’
Mark Henderson, Science Editor, TimesOnline

The world’s first robotic twitcher has been deployed to one of America’s most inhospitable swamps to join the search for the holy grail of birdwatching: an iconic woodpecker so rare that it was thought to be extinct for more than half a century.

The ivory-billed woodpecker, sometimes known as the Lord God bird because of its spectacular plumage, had last been spotted in 1944 before a possible sighting of a bird with its markings was reported in the Cache River national wildlife reserve, in Arkansas, in February 2004.

A fleeting image of the bird was then captured on video, and ornithologists recorded its characteristic drumming sounds, prompting Frank Gill, of the Audubon Society, the leading American bird conservation group, to declare its rediscovery to be “kind of like finding Elvis.”

However, the ivory bill’s survival has been disputed by sceptics, who argue that the bird in the video could be another bird, the pileated woodpecker.

The continuing controversy has prompted scientists to turn to new robotic technology in an effort to capture evidence: a high-resolution film of the Lord God bird in full flight.

“The problem with field biology is that it is very inefficient,” said Ken Goldberg, of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the team that designed the robot birdwatcher. “You have to go somewhere remote, sit for long periods in the cold, it is lonely, costly, and it can be downright dangerous. The presence of a researcher can also affect the presence of the species you are trying to help.

“Robots can help by watching right through the mosquito season and the snake season, if they can be made smart enough to make decisions and process data in real time.”

His colleague, Dezhen Song, of Texas A&M University, said: “Usually people do this type of bird watching in the winter because there are fewer leaves, making it easier to spot the woodpecker. Also, in the summer, the temperature is hot, it’s swampy, and there are mosquitoes and snakes to deal with. Our [robotic] system can run the whole year, and it is not bothered by mosquitoes.”

The robot is a sophisticated pair of smart video cameras, which point skyward, east and west, in the Big Woods region of Arkansas where it is hoped that the ivory bill survives. The cameras have software that activates only when the view overhead changes in a way that might be consistent with a bird in flight.

The system is designed to filter out false positives from clouds, water reflections and falling leaves. “The program knows, for example, that the ivory-billed woodpecker flies 20 to 40 miles per hour, so anything outside that range is deleted,” Dr Song said.

Each camera records eleven frames per second, each with a resolution of two megapixels, so any image should be sharp enough to allow scientists to make a conclusive identification should an ivory bill fly overhead. While the elusive woodpecker has yet to be seen, the cameras have already picked up several good images of other birds — a redtailed hawk, a flock of Canada geese, and a blue heron — which were shown yesterday for the first time at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco.

Ron Rohrbaugh, of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a member of the scientific team searching for the woodpecker, said that the robot was a valuable asset. “There are other ways of searching for the ivory-billed woodpecker, but those ways usually involve a human positioned in the forest for a very long time,” he said.

“Remote systems that can serve as our eyes and ears are a big advantage.”

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

ENV: New Species

Genetics reveal 15 new N.American bird species
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:04PM EST

OSLO (Reuters) - Genetic tests of North American birds show what may be 15 new species including ravens and owls -- look alikes that do not interbreed and have wrongly had the same name for centuries, scientists said on Sunday.

If the findings from a study of birds' DNA genetic "barcodes" in the United States and Canada hold true around the world, there might be more than 1,000 new species of birds on top of 10,000 identified so far, they said.

A parallel study of South American bats in Guyana also showed six new species among 87 surveyed, hinting that human studies of the defining characteristics of species may have been too superficial to tell almost identical types apart.

"This is the leading tip of a process that will see the genetic registration of life on the planet," said Paul Hebert of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, a co-author of the report in the British Journal Molecular Ecology Notes.

"You can't protect biodiversity if you can't recognize it."

The scientists found 15 potential new species among 643 types of bird studied from the Arctic to Florida. The sample covers almost all 690 known breeding species in North America.

"North American birds are among the best studied in the world," said co-author Mark Stoeckle of the Rockefeller University in New York. "Even in a group where people have been looking very carefully there are genetically different forms that appear to be new species."

Look alike species were of the Northern Fulmar, Solitary Sandpiper, Western Screech Owl, Warbling Vireo, Mexican Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Common Raven, Mountain Chickadee, Bushtit, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, Bewick's Wren, Hermit Thrush, Curve Billed Thrasher and Eastern Meadowlark.

"It would be a reasonable guess that there are likely to be at least 1,000 genetically distinct forms of birds (worldwide) that will be recognised as new species," Stoeckle said.

The genetic tests, for instance of a feather, give a readout of a "barcode" for each creature similar to the black and white parallel lines on packages at supermarkets.

They said DNA diverged by at least 2.5 percent -- enough, they said, to define a species despite almost identical shape, plumage and song. A one percent difference typically indicated a million years without interbreeding, they said.

The study also found 14 pairs of birds with separate identities that were almost genetic "twins", two trios of birds were DNA triplets and eight gull species were almost identical.

"Some of these on close inspection may really be better considered as a single species," said Stoeckle. "Others are probably very young species at the borderline."

The Snow Goose and Ross's Goose, for instance, shared 99.8 percent of DNA and the black-billed magpie and the yellow-billed magpie 99.6 percent. Gulls such as the Glaucous and Iceland Gulls were 99.8 percent the same.

The scientists said there was no clear scientific definition of a species -- inability to interbreed was often favored.

"But that's difficult -- we're not watching bats mate in caves, we're not often watching small life forms," Hebert said.

The scientists are hoping to raise $100 million to compile a barcode of life -- 10 million DNA records of 500,000 animal species by 2014.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

MRF: Forgiven

Here's the video for Jacob Favela's Forgiven. I directed and produced this for the Children's Music Project at the Hill Country Youth Ranch.




This weekend i finished work on the music vid for Jacob Favela's Forgiven. It is the first music video project of a kid's song from the Children's Music Project at the Hill Country Youth Ranch.

We'll be trying to get some festival play with it as well as disseminating it to folks who are interested in the work at the Ranch.

Many thanks to everyone who worked on the project, especially Jacob, Meosha, Vonda, Mona, Tony Y, Carol, Olivia, and to Holly for providing the final, big link in making everything happen.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ENV: Dolphin Duty

Navy May Deploy Anti-Terrorism Dolphins
Navy Seeks to Deploy Dolphins to Protect Seattle-Area Base From Terrorist Swimmers
By THOMAS WATKINS, The Associated Press


SAN DIEGO - Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said Monday. In a notice published in this week's Federal Register, the Navy said it needs to bolster security at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, on the Puget Sound close to Seattle.

The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers, the notice states.

Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego.

"These animals have the capabilities for what needs to be done for this particular mission," said Tom LaPuzza, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Program.

LaPuzza said that because of their astonishing sonar abilities, dolphins are excellent at patrolling for swimmers and divers. When a Navy dolphin detects a person in the water, it drops a beacon. This tells a human interception team where to find the suspicious swimmer.

Dolphins also are trained to detect underwater mines; they were sent to do this in the Iraqi harbor of Umm Qasr in 2003. The last time the animals were used operationally in San Diego was in 1996, when they patrolled the bay during the Republican National Convention.

Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning.

The Navy is seeking public comment for an environmental impact statement on the proposal.

The Navy wanted to deploy marine animals to the Northwest in 1989, LaPuzza said, but a federal judge sided with animal-rights activists concerned about the effects of cooler water, as well as how the creatures would affect the environment. Water in the Puget Sound is about 10 degrees cooler than in San Diego Harbor, which has an average temperature of about 58 degrees, LaPuzza said.

Since then, the Navy has taken the dolphins and sea lions to cold-water places like Alaska and Scandinavia to see how they cope.


"They did very well," LaPuzza said. If the animals are sent to Washington, the dolphins would be housed in heated enclosures and would patrol the bay only for periods of about two hours.


Stephanie Boyles, a marine biologist and spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that sea mammals do not provide a reliable defense system, and that they should not be kept in small enclosures.

"We believe the United States' citizens deserve the very best defense possible, and this just isn't it," Boyles said, adding that dolphins are easily distracted once in open water. "They don't understand the consequences of what will happen if they don't carry out the mission."

Dolphins can live as long as 30 years. LaPuzza said the Navy occasionally gives its retired animals to marine parks but generally keeps them until they die of old age.

The Navy has been training marine mammals since the 1960s and keeps about 100 dolphins and sea lions. Most are in San Diego, but about 20 are deployed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.

The Navy hopes eventually to downsize its marine mammal program and replace the animals with machines.

"But the technology just isn't there yet," LaPuzza said. "The value of the marine mammals is we've been doing this for 35 years, and we've ironed out all the kinks."

On the Net:
Navy Marine Mammal Program, http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sandiego/technology/mammals/

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COM: Blogarithmic #215

ITM's basketball team made the playoffs despite a 2-7 record. I think it's great for the kids to play another game, but how diluted have the playoffs become with something like this.

Kerrville team makes a big splash
From staff reports, The Daily Times, Published February 13, 2007

Members of the Kerrville Swim Team saw 28 personal-best times posted at the South Texas Age Group Championships in Austin last weekend.

Ben Solder placed eighth in the 10-under 50 yard breaststroke with a time of 42.5. He also finished 12th in the 100 breaststroke and 19th in the 100 IM.


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OBT: Bill Dozier

Bill Dozier was indeed the finest of gentlemen, his wife a remarkable lady. I had the high pleasure of knowing his daughter and coaching his grandsons. Wonderful people all. Sad to see him go.

Former Times owner remembered as a gentleman
By Alison Beshur, The Daily Times, Published February 13, 2007

William E. Dozier Jr., former owner of the Kerrville Daily Times, was generous, a gentleman and a career newspaperman.

He died Monday at the age of 84.

Dozier started his career as a printer’s apprentice in the mid-1930s at his hometown newspaper in Delhi, La., according to a Texas Press Association biography. Two years later he became the newspaper’s editor, the youngest in the state’s history.

He graduated cum laude from Louisiana Tech and later joined the U.S. Navy as a communications officer during the World War II. Then, he worked for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and rose up the ranks to state editor of community correspondents, according to the TPA, which awarded him the Golden 50 Award in 1987.

After serving in Korea in the early 1950s, he became editor of the Tyler Courier-Times-Telegraph.

In 1964, Dozier and his wife, Eleanor, bought The Kerrville Daily Times, where he was editor, publisher and columnist until the newspaper sold in 1988 and Dozier retired. During those years, the couple had purchased other Hill Country newspapers, including the Pearsall Leader, Cotulla Record, Dilley Herald, Boerne Star, Bandera Bulletin and the Real County American, according to the TPA.

“My father believed in service, to his family, his church, his work and his community,” said Dozier’s daughter, Rebecca Dozier. “He did it quietly, acting from an unshakeable faith in God and the goodness in others.

“I have never known another man who worked such long hours, served on so many committees or donated to so many projects,” she continued. “He was a rare breed, whose infectious smile and far-seeing intellect was a gift to everyone privileged to know him.”

Long before he moved to Kerrville in 1995, Greg Shrader, editor and publisher of The Times, knew and admired Dozier for investing his time and money in his community.

“He was a much-respected member of the press and the Texas newspaper industry,” Shrader said. “Mr. Dozier was a fine example of how a newspaper publisher can serve the community. ... He cared about Kerrville and Kerr County.”

Shrader said Dozier’s column, “The Hilltopper,” served as a testament to his love for the Hill Country. Dozier never stopped being a newspaper man.

“He continued to offer me his advice until shortly before his death,” Shrader said.

Joseph Benham, columnist for The Times, remembered Dozier as polite and patient, a generous contributor to his community and a distinguished journalist.

In the 1980s, Benham considered buying the Mountain Sun. When he realized he would be competing with William Dozier of The Times, he decided not to.

“That’s like a minor leaguer trying to compete with the New York Yankees,” Benham said. “I respected him so much as a newspaper man that there’s no way I was going to try to compete.”

Dozier was a great supporter of the Nimitz Museum in Frederickburg, the Symphony of the Hills, First United Methodist Church, Schreiner University and many more worthy causes, Benham said.

He also backed school bonds.

“He supported progress,” Benham said. “He wanted good schools and medical facilities and just about anything that made this a better area.”

The tall, slender, well-dressed man always seemed attentive to his wife.

“He carried himself well,” Benham said. “He looked like a southern gentleman.”

Services will be Thursday at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church with burial following at Garden of Memories. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Grimes Funeral Chapel.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #214

Picked up an odd rehab bird yesterday. It's an African bird, a Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Bycanistes brevis. It was found flying loose near Wimberley on Lynne Schaffer's place. Luckily she knows birds, knew it wasn't native, and lured it into her garage with a banana. Betty Pollard and Maggie Broyles took the bird in and searched high and low for an owner, without luck. So, after a couple weeks in rehab, and with no place to go, it came to me. It's a big, gorgeous bird, with a bite. It got hold of my arm through a heavy coat and nearly brought me to my knees. It also got a finger once, and as i was watching it clamp down all i could think was "i'm going to lose this finger." I imagine that's what it feels like to have a bolt-cutter at work on you. Luckily i still have my finger, blue, blistered and numb, but i have it. Thanks much to these three fine ladies for doing such a great job with the bird. It's in my aviary now, and will be looking for a permanent home with other Silvery-cheeks. For now here's some pictures of "Billy." Click on the picture for up close and personal.





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Sunday, February 11, 2007

COM: Blogarihtmic #213

Patrick Davis has a new band, they have songs up on MySpace and a video. Very, very nice stuff. Go check them out at MySpace.com/typecasttheband.

Sarah Tacey has birthed another beauty with her production of Nobody's Perfect (at The Point through next weekend, including a special champagne Valentine's Day Show). Graydon Vaught is manically brilliant as the father who can't quite remember anything except the really important stuff. He spends half the show trying to live (that's L-I-V-E), and gives it a pretty good shot with the help of his granddaughter -- Sloan Frierson by the way, looking perfect in black leather, and giving some dynamite teen poseur attitude. Justin Shotts and Emily Houghton are perfectly cast as the love interests in the play, wihch takes a transvestitic detour. Much of Act 1 is a build toward the inevitable collision of a shallow lie and the truth. Once the clothes change it's hard to stop giggling. Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Little Miss Sunshine will notice all too many similarities here, but to great effect. It's worth many dozens of good laughs, and a night out to smile. Congrats to Sarah and crew -- oh, dare i mention Charles Bryant's cameo as the incredulous jogger . . . Like i said, throuhg next weekend.

Watched a good portion of the Grammies tonight to see some old friends and soak up some nostalgia. Really nice to see Smokey Robinson, The Doors, and Ornette Coleman honored. One wonders how they've escaped notice before. Some incredible performances by Christina Aguilera (the highlight of what i saw; honoring James Brown), Mary J. Blige, a close, close second, the inimitable Chris Brown, plus great stuff from Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Ludacris. Smokey Robinson followed by Lionel Ritchie was sublime. It was just top notch musically all the way through. And it's about dang time the Dixie Chicks got their due . . . especially now that the country agrees with them.

The production on the show with the big screens, the Chicago-like bleachered orchestra, and the backlighting was just superb. Of the things not to like, not too much, but it was just bizarre having the announcement platform behind the backs of a good portion of the audience, many of them the stars of the evening. Watching the backs of their heads, or them craning aroud to see what was going on was just silly, and very distracting. Whoever came up with that idea ought to be sentenced to watching it for the rest of their life. And finally, there was some very strange live editing, with scenes occasionally flipping all around before finding the target. A couple of places where the announcers interrupted the proceedings was also very sloppy, especially in the middle of Ornette Coleman's speech. Let's hope these things are cured for next year's fiftieth anniversary.

Picked up an odd rehab bird today. It's an African Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. It was found flying loose near Wimberley and after a couple weeks in rehab, and with no place to go, it came to me. It's a big, gorgeous bird, with a bite. It got hold of my arm through a heavy coat and nearly brought me to my knees. It also got a finger once, and as i was watching it clamp down all i could think was "i'm going to lose this finger." I imagine it's what it feels like to have a bolt-cutter at work on you. Luckily (ha!) it caught my finger across bone and not at a joint, and i still have my finger, blue, blistered and numb, but i have it.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

COM: Free the children!

From my bud Greg Moses, Editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review:

Free the Children Now!
Nonviolent Campaign to Start Next Week
CALL FOR ACTION

Dallas real-estate developer Ralph Isenberg is announcing the formation of "Free the Children Now"--a civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights
coalition to end the imprisonment of children in America.

"Beginning next week, we're going to be orchestrating nonviolent demonstrations in front of every single Congressional and Senatorial office across the state of Texas," said Isenberg.

"And anytime anybody comes to Texas running for office they will be met by demonstrations asking the children to be freed from prison now."

The first meeting of the coalition is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Isenberg's Dallas offices. He said a definite schedule will be released shortly after that meeting.

Along with pressure on Texas elected officials and candidates seeking support of Texas voters, Isenberg said the coalition will be asking activists and elected leaders in other states to join the drive.

"We will stop our demonstrations when every single facility that imprisons children is shut down," said Isenberg Wednesday night in a telephone interview with the Texas Civil Rights Review.

"We're asking all decent people to join us," he said.

Ralph Isenberg can be reached at Hamtx44@aol.com


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OBT: More Molly Ivins

ACLU MOURNS PASSING OF MOLLY IVINS
By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director

The ACLU was deeply saddened by the death of legendary journalist and columnist
Molly Ivins, who passed away on January 31, 2007 after a long battle with
cancer.

She was a much-loved member of the ACLU family, a steadfast supporter of civil
liberties and highly respected for her staunch commitment to the protection of
individual freedoms. Her cutting wit, remarkable intellect and down-home wisdom
will be terribly missed.

In recent years, Molly, in her ever-folksy style, used her columns to point out
how the Bush administration, in the name of national security and patriotism,
has curtailed Americans' constitutional rights and usurped excessive power.
Molly's appreciation for the ACLU's work in fighting off these assaults is best
understood in her own words. In a July 2005 column, she wrote: "We suffer the
worst attack on this country since Pearl Harbor, and the Bush administration
sends the FBI after the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU exists to
protect every citizen's rights as defined in the Bill of Rights in the
Constitution of the United States. The ACLU works solely through the legal
system: It does not advocate violence, terrorism or any other damn thing except
the Bill of Rights. Since when is that extremist? ... We are living in a time
when our government is investigating an organization that stands for the highest
and best American ideals."

In an interview for a documentary on the ACLU, Ivins, commenting on the
importance of religious liberty, recognized the ACLU's unrelenting persistence
in defending that ideal: "That principle," she said, "is so important that it's
worth being a pain in the ass about. And that's what the ACLU is."

She held a special place in the heart of the ACLU of Texas, Ivins' home state.
As Will Harrell, Executive Director of the Texas affiliate and a close friend of
Molly said, "She was a huge supporter of civil liberties and a national icon and
she will be mourned by many. But at the ACLU of Texas, we're deeply saddened
that we lost a neighbor and a friend."

She was one-of-a-kind, but we will continue to do the important work that would
make her proud. And we will laugh at ourselves, as she would have wanted from
us. The ACLU is establishing the Molly Ivins Fund for Justice and Liberty in
Ivins' honor.

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COM: Blogarithmic #212

Another couple of losses around here. Another student, of causes i don't yet know: Michael Tampke at 23 with five kids. And Gordo Findlay, who ran Camp Kickapoo for so long. He'll be missed. A couple of his grandkids, Ford and T.C., passed through on my watch. Great kids.

Clifton Fifer gave an outstanding performance at the Black History Month celebration put on by the Schreiner University Coffeehouse (brainchild of Kathleen Hudson and the Texas Heritage Music Foundation. Mesmerizing was the singing of 90 year old Mrs. Nash. Great hip-hop from Conan and from Brandon Burk. Some cool dance work by Jessica Lott and friend, and some readings by Andrea Neely and others. Centerpiece was the Greg Griffith Blues Band, which included Barrett Beach and Tom Goodwyn.

Saw Matt Goodwyn there, as well as Lorrain Lemond, Charles Goodwyn, Kiley Miller and whole crew, and Hudson of course.

I've already been bragging about ITM's The Taming of the Shrew, but i myself am stumped at how they have come so far so fast. They are going to be fantastic come show time. The first festival is at Wimberley on Saturday Feb. 24. There will be a public show here soon after. I'll post the particulars. Irec Hargrove and Cadi Hawkins in the leads are just fantastic. A whole slew of others do great work -- Chris McCrae, Garrett Whitten, Taylor Danielson, Hilary Bunker, Kanah Bradshaw and on and on.

Tried to see Nobody's Perfect last week, but didn't make it. Will go tonight to check it out. More on that later.

Finally finished a big film i've been working on for a couple of months. It's actually only 6 minutes long but veryc omplex in the editing department. It's a music video for the song Forgiven, written by one of our kids. Tony Young recorded it here in our studio and put together the mix. To start with it's a great song so i had something solid to work with. Then one of our girls choreographed some moves and she and two others danced for the song. I hope to post the song online at some point, but we'll need to work out the rights aspect of it, etc. Will post here when it's available.

Thanks to Lynne Schaffer, i am taking in a rehab bird, a hornbill of unknown species. It's one of the large ones though. It was found loose and taken to a rehabber. Perhaps an escape from a breeder or a zoo, no one has yet claimed the bird. Once i get it i will make an active effort to find the owner. Meanwhile i guess i'm the one with the expertise/ability to take one in.

Rumor is that this year's Pointy Awards have bee nmoved from February to August -- and will encompass 3 season's worth of shows???

Alright some cool links:

Top of the Atmosphere from Susan Sander

Gladys Hardy calls The Ellen Degeneres Show

The Lion King in Austin

The Tentacle Online

Some cool YouTube links

A Johann Cruyff Highlight Film

A Pele Highlight Film

Web 2.0

Steve Irwin meets Ross the Intern

DUI

Six Drummers

OK Go done at Granbury High School Talent Show

Boots with Lyle

Joseph Gordon-Levitt busts paparazzi

Free Hugs Campaign

Guys Watching 24

The next time you find yourself on a plane sitting next to someone who cannot resist chattering to you endlessly, quietly pull your laptop out of your bag, carefully open the screen (ensuring the irritating person next to you can see it) --- and hit this link.

Then there's Soccer! ITALY: Play resumes with or without

When play resumes this weekend in Italy's Serie A, half of the matches will be played in closed stadiums.

Giant AC Milan will host Livorno on Sunday (TV: GolTV, delay, 7:30 pm ET) with no one in the 80,000-seat San Siro stadium. Four other Serie A teams will play their home match behind closed doors, including Chievo Verona, which will host runaway leader Inter Milan Sunday (TV: GolTV, live, 9 m ET), and Fiorentina, whose Franchi Stadium was the site of two U.S. games at the 1990 World Cup.

There was talk of club presidents ordering a strike to protest what they believe are the Italian government's harsh reaction to the death of policeman Filippo Raciti in rioting at last Friday's Catania-Palermo Sicilian derby, but Lega Calcio, Italian pro soccer's governing body, ordered play to resume.

"Game on," said Adriano Galliani, vice president of AC Milan and former head of Lega Calcio. "It was a great test of maturity on the part of the presidents. There's still a great deal of bitterness because we were not consulted by the government."

Only six stadiums meet new security standards and will be open to the public.


Italian Clubs Praised for Accepting Government Decision
Reuters

Italians love a good strike, so it might come as a surprise to some that Italian Serie A clubs have unanimously agreed to a court of arbitration ruling that will see the majority shut their doors to fans until new safety conditions have been met. In many cases these conditions are structural and will take a long to complete. So for the rest of the season, most Serie A games will be painfully devoid of one of the league's hallmarks: atmosphere.

Despite the harsh ruling, the Italian teams have decided to play. "After a very lively discussion ... we decided to play, to demonstrate our seriousness and our share of the responsibility for the country's problems," said Antonio Matarrese, the league president who represented the clubs. AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, whose stadium was among those closed, praised the league's chairman: "It was a great test of maturity on the part of the (club) chairmen. There's still a great deal of bitterness because we were not consulted by the government," he said.

The Italian government implemented the new measures after a policeman was killed during a soccer riot in Sicily last Friday. As a result, only the Roma, Genoa, Siena, Cagliari, Turin and Palermo stadiums will be allowed to operate normally. The others will remain closed to fans, pending security improvements.

Cal men and Aggie women headline signees

Wednesday was National Letter of Intent Day, a huge media event in the world of college football, but few men's and women's soccer programs even bothered to make announcements.

Of the teams to advance to the final 16 in 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Tournament, only California released its incoming class. Forward Davis Paul of three-time USYS national champion Arsenal FC heads the Cal class. Midfielder Servando Carrasco of the San Diego Surf has enrolled at Cal for the spring after spending last fall at a soccer academy in Argentina. Goalkeeper Jordan Bethke, midfielder A.J. Soares and forward Andrew
Wiedeman, will make their debut with the Golden Bears next fall.

Among the Sweet 16 women's programs, Texas A&M announced a seven-player class that included former U.S. U-17 national team forward Whitney Hooper of Challenge SC. Coach G Guerrieri also signed two former Youth All-Americans: goalie Kelly Dyer, the Tennessee High School Player of the Year, and midfielder/forward Rachel Shipley from Plano, Texas. Other recruits include Sarah Pierson, Christy End, Inge Harding and Kat Armstrong.

NCAA Division I quarterfinalist Clemson announced the signing of three players who have enrolled this semester: Erin Moskos, Abby Lambert and Judea Davis.

Of the other men's programs to announce their incoming recruits, Akron announced the signing what should be one of the nation's top classes. The Zips have recruited four-semester U.S. U-17 resident Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Blair Gaven, who has been training this winter with the U.S. U-18 national team. Other recruits included Michael Nanchoff, son of George Nanchoff and nephew of Louie Nanchoff, both former U.S. internationals, and Congolese forward Steve Zakuani, whose older brother Gabby has played for Fulham in the English Premier League this season. Aaron Henkle of Indiana prep power Carmel rounds out Coach Caleb Porter's freshman class.

Like Porter at Akron, Coach Louis Bennett enters his second season at Marquette, which signed 12 players, including NSCAA High School All-American Anthony Colaizzi from Gurnee, Ill.

The rebuilding effort continues at the Washington women's program, where Lesle Gallimore had seven players sign letters of intent. Both forward Hannah Greig (Washington Class 4A Player of the Year from state champion Woodinville) and midfielder Jane Mitchell (San Diego Surf) are considered among the top women's prospects in the nation.



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OBT: Gordo Findlay

H. Gordon “Gordo” Findlay

KERRVILLE — H. Gordon “Gordo” Findlay was born Sept. 11, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pa. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, “Bimmie” Byrdimeb Ford Findlay; his three children, Gordon Jr., Laura and Larry; grandchildren, Brian Hodges and his wife Angie, Chris Hodges, Greg Hodges, Trey Findlay and his wife Jenny, Caitey Findlay, Tina Findlay, T.C. Findlay and Ford Findlay.

Gordon touched the lives of many. He will be remembered as a father, a grandfather, a friend, a fisherman, a marksman, a storyteller and a patriot.

Gordon always loved his country. At 13 years of age, in 1931, Gordon became the youngest Eagle Scout in the United States and stood as the Honor Guard to President Herbert Hoover at the Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge, Pa.

Gordon graduated from Swarthmore High School in Pennsylvania in 1935. He went on to graduate from William Penn Charter Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He earned his BA from Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., and went on to study law at the University of Texas Law School in Austin, Texas. On Dec. 2, 1941, Gordon joined the U.S. Navy and became a naval aviator. On Nov. 1, 1942, he married the love of his life, Bimmie Ford, and they were happily married for 64 years.

Gordon was a proud World War II veteran. While serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Gordon flew missions from five different U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. He proudly flew combat in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleet, participating in 14 engagements and six invasions against the Japanese. Gordon proudly served on the U.S.S. Hoggatt Bay No. 75, which sank 13 Japanese submarines and traveled across the equator 63 times. During his term of duty, Gordon earned the following: six Silver Star medals, two Bronze Star medals, two Presidential Citations, one Navy Unit citation, a European Atlantic Campaign medal an Asiatic Pacific medal with five stars, a National Defense medal and a World War II Victory medal.

In addition, Gordon received cables of congratulations from Admirals Halsey, Nimitz and Briggs, as well as a personal letter of thanks from the Secretary of Navy, James Forrestal.

Gordon was a successful businessman. After World War II, Gordon became general sales manager of Luscomb Aircraft Co., producing 17 planes daily. In 1949 he began working as sales manager of Manley Popcorn Co., a large corporation with more than 8,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Kickapoo Kamp, founded by Bimmie’s father in 1925, was an important part of Gordon’s life. Bimmie and Gordon owned and operated the camp beginning in 1960 and remained actively involved in the running of camp, even after their daughter Laura took over the operation of the camp. Many members of the camp family thought of “Gordo” as a grandfather away from home

In addition to helping run Kickapoo Kamp, Gordon owned and operated several family restaurants: the Branding Iron, the Pioneer House and Gordo’s, in both Kerrville and San Antonio.

Beginning in June of 1942, Gordon dedicated his time as a Master Mason. Gordon was a member of Kerrville’s Masonic Lodge AF and AM No. 697. He served as a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason for more than 60 years, and was a member of the Alzafar Shrine in San Antonio for more than 50 years.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2007, at Grimes Funeral Chapels. Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, at Grimes Funeral Chapels, officiated by the Rev. Frankie Enloe and Greg Cummins and under the auspices of Kerrville Masonic Lodge No. 697. Interment will follow at Garden of Memories Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Brian Hodges, Chris Hodges, Greg Hodges, Trey Findlay, Caitey Findlay, Tina Findlay, T.C. Findlay and Ford Findlay.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Attn: Contributions, One Intrepid Square, West 46th St. and 12th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10036; or a charity of one’s choice.

The family invites you to send condolences at www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the “Send Condolences” link.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #211

Tommy Olafson's getting married!!! Couldn't happen to a greater guy!April 14th, Comfort. See ya there!

Jeff Achee nailed 19 points last night as ITM won a district basketball game!

Taming of the Shrew is looking mighty, mighty good in the last couple of weeks. I think ITM will be going somewhere again this year.

Missed Nobody's Perfect last weekend, but will make up for it this week. Everything i hear about is good. Congrats to Sarah, Justin, Graydon, Emily, Sloan and Charles!

Close to finishing Jacob Favela's music video Forgiven -- hopefully it will be available for viewing sometime in the next week or so.

Once things ease up this weekend, i hope to post another long list of great links from Clicked. Have gobs of good stuff saved up.

Look who's in the news!

Ryan's longtime friend and Houston lawyer Kent Schaffer said to ABC News, "I would like to see happier times for them, but I wouldn't call it an O'Neal curse, just a run of bad luck. Just as Farrah gets her clean bill of health, this happens to Ryan."

Schaffer defended the high-profile parents: "I've spent time with both when they're figuring out the best way to handle things — the problems with Redmond and Griffin. They have never been the kind of parents to turn their backs on their kids when many parents would say enough is enough."

"There have been a lot of misadventures in the family over the years, but in my experience with Ryan and Farrah, I've always thought them to be very involved parents doing the best they can against all odds," Schaffer said.

Schaffer said, "I think it's their turn for good luck. They're at a time in their lives where they need to kick back and enjoy their lives without drama and controversy. Ryan and Farrah are two of the nicest people I have ever met, and I have no doubt that Ryan will be vindicated in this current case. It's so sad that this is Ryan's problem now when it shouldn't be."


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

ENV: Big Springs Porcupines

Thanks a million to Mitch Heindel for passing along (and allowing me to post) these pics of the Porcupines we saw Saturday at Big Springs Ranch. See a couple posts below for a further description of the scenario.

Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum,
in the top of a Lacey Oak, Quercus laceyi


Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum,
in the top of a Sycamore,
Platanus occidentalis




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Monday, February 05, 2007

COM: Blogarithmic #210

Good news from OLH:

OLH’s Sprado places at TAPPS state meet
From staff reports, The Daily Times, Published February 5, 2007

Our Lady of the Hills sophomore Hannah Sprado took second place in the 100-meter backstroke and fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke Saturday during the TAPPS state swim meet at the University of Texas Swim Center in Austin.

Sprado posted a 1:07.21 in the backstroke, finishing behind Boerne Vanguard’s Molly Patterson, who won the Division III state title with a time of 1:05.26.

Sprado swam a 1:17.11 to take fourth in the breaststroke. Megan Murata of Believers Academy won the Division III title with a time of 1:11.27.



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Sunday, February 04, 2007

ENV: Real/Kerr Cos. Survey, 3 Feb 2007

Brandon Best, Ken Cave, Tom Collins, Mitch Heindel and Jason Penney joined me for a survey in Real County Saturday, 3 February 2007. Despite a morning cold enough to keep us and the birds shivering, we managed to find some neat things. The list below details things we found new to the ranch, among them some notably common species. This is our first winter survey however. The best birds for the day were not notable because of the species, but because of the numbers, especially considering recent TexBirds posts about their abundance elsewhere in Texas – our most common birds were kinglets – both species, with Golden-crowns slightly outnumbering the Ruby-crowns. While active, they were feeding mostly along the river’s edge from overhanging branches. We saw only five insects for the day, but watched Black and Eastern Phoebes actively feeding as well as the kinglets. Something was flying.

The other neat things seen on the ranch were three Porcupines high in trees on the slope above the big springs. One was first noted in the outer canopy of a Lacey Oak. Chewings seen on the outer canopy of a Sycamore led us to another, and then a third curled on a large limb below. Considering the size of these critters it’s amazing that they can get to the outer canopy twigs (literally) to feed but we saw them perched there. Mitch got digiscoped photos, and perhaps others got photos as well. Very cool. Not often you see a live Porcupine, much less three in one view.

On the way back into Kerr County, Tom Collins and I stopped at the Boneyard Draw eagle roost and had a single adult Bald Eagle perched there. It was early in the day yet for numbers. Further down the road i spotted a large gull in the river at the Kerr WMA and quickly turned around and parked long enough to glass an immaculate adult Ring-billed Limestone Rock. It had an unmarked white head, and a silvery gray back. No mistaking that one!

Here is the preliminary list; additions may be coming from the other observers.

UPDATED 6 February 2007

TX: Real County, Big Springs on the Frio Rive, 1900’ elev., 3 February 2007, 8:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CST, 32-50dF, overcast to partly cloudy [clearing about 2 p.m.!], occasionally breezy, cold to cool; Brandon Best (Lubbock) Ken Cave (Sabinal), Tom Collins (Center Point), Tony Gallucci (Ingram), Mitch Heindel (Utopia), Jason Penney (Carrizo Springs).

p = photographed
f = filmed
n = new to ranch survey

2 Water Boatman sp.
1 Dytiscid, Thermonectes marmoratus
1 Moth sp.
1 American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax nymph p

25 Rainbow Trout, Oncorhyncus mykiss
4 Mexican Tetra, Astyanax mexicanus
300 Pug-nosed Minnow, Opsopoeodus emiliae emiliae
200 Blacktail Shiner, Cyprinella venusta
2 Shiner sp., Notropis sp. np
4 Roundnose Minnow, Dionda episcopa n
50 Mosquitofish sp., Gambusia affinis affinis
12 Redbreast Sunfish, Lepomis auritus
3 Longear Sunfish, Lepomis megalotis

1 Tadpole sp.

1 Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans n

2 Green-winged Teal n
20 Ring-necked Duck n
2 Great Blue Heron
6 Black Vulture
1 American Kestrel
6 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Ladder-backed Woodpecker p
3 Golden-fronted Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker n
4 Belted Kingfisher
2 Green Kingfisher
12 Eastern Phoebe
2 Black Phoebe
2 Western Scrub-Jay
8 Common Raven
4 American Robin n
8 Hermit Thrush n
15 Cedar Waxwing n
20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet p
25 Golden-crowned Kinglet
8 Carolina Chickadee
12 Black-crested Titmouse
3 Bewick’s Wren
7 Canyon Wren
7 Carolina Wren
1 Marsh Wren n
5 Orange-crowned Warbler
1 Pine Warbler n
12 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler n
20 Northern Cardinal
20 Chipping Sparrow
1 Clay-colored Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow n
3 Lincoln’s Sparrow n
2 Spotted Towhee
2 House Finch
5 American Goldfinch n

1 Edwards Plateau Fox Squirrel
3 Porcupine p
1 Coyote (dead at springs)
3 Domestic Dog (Miniature Schnauzer, Harrier)
12 Afghan Ural/Persian Red Sheep, Ovis ammon gmelini f
1 Barbados Sheep f
2 Domestic Goat (Spanish, Spanish X Ibex)
2 Blackbuck, Antilope cervicapra f
4 White-tailed Deer
2 Llama
6 Domestic Horse (Quarterhorse, Tobiano, Mustang)
1 Domestic Donkey (Sicilian)


TX: Kerr County, road species found on the way to and from Big Springs. All were in west Kerr County, on TX39 in the a.m. and on TX41 and FM 1340 in the p.m. Tom Collins and Tony Gallucci.

1 large botfly sp.

2 Wood Duck
40 Black Vulture
12 Wild Turkey
1 Bald Eagle
1 American Kestrel
20 Rock Pigeon
20 White-winged Dove
1 Belted Kingfisher
2 Common Raven
12 American Robin
4 Eastern Bluebird
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet (HCYR)
20 American Goldfinch (HCYR)
2 Lesser Goldfinch (HCYR)
400 Spizella sp. (likely all Chipping)
4 Vesper Sparrow
12 Great-tailed Grackle
1 Meadowlark sp.

1 Striped Skunk (HCYR)
60 White-tailed Deer
200 Axis Deer
40 Fallow Deer
6 Sika Deer
400 Domestic Goat (Spanish, Boer, Angora)
200 Domestic Cattle (Texas Longhorn, Black Angus, Hereford, Black Baldy, Limousin,
Charolais, Simmental, Gelbvieh)
10 Mouflon
18 Aoudad
2 Red Lechwe
2 Dama Gazelle
30 Black buck
30 Domestic Horse (Quarterhorse, Tobiano, Overo, Arab, Thoroughbred)
1 Domestic Donkey (Mexican Burro)

TX: Real County, road species found on the way to and from Big Springs. All were along US83, Tom Collins and Tony Gallucci.

1 Accipiter sp.
4 American Kestrel
12 Common Raven
40 Meadowlark sp.

6 Axis Deer
4 Feral Hog (all DOR)
40 Domestic Cattle (Black Angus, Hereford, Black Baldy)
2 Blackbuck
18 Mouflon
30 Barbados Sheep

2 Air Force jets



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Friday, February 02, 2007

REV: The Octette Bridge Club

The Guadalupe Stage Quartet has finalized some plans for our second production, The Octette Bridge Club. The show will be Thu-Sun, May 10-20, for an eight-show run at Warrior Theatre in Ingram.

It will feature Holly Riedel, Marie Cearley, Louise Leahy, Ruthie Schmuck, Pam Frierson, Chaille Hawkins, Sarah Tacey, Ambra Freeman and Charles Bryant in a purely ensemble staging. I am directing.

Keep a date open in that span. All proceeds will go to the Roy Burney Memorial Endowed Scholarship fund for a senior theatre student going to major in theare or performance.


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COM: Blogarithmic #209

Jeremy Bruno at The Voltage Gate brings us a fantastic 17th version of The Circus of the Spineless! Check it out here.

Jeremy also lines up the other science carnivals for us with this list: Carnival of the Green #62 is up. Well organized and impossibly huge, Tangled Bank #72. Have you sent in your entry for Oekologie #2? Jane will be hosting the second ecology and environmental science blog carnival at Perceiving Wholes on the 15th of February, so start getting your submissions in now!


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