Sunday, February 23, 2020


HUMAN EFFECTS -- on our environment.....
The Bald Eagle as the national symbol of the United States came close to extinction in the 1960’s.   A commonly used pesticide was finally determined to be weakening the eagles’ eggshells causing them to break so embryos could not even develop. Environmental pollution on the ocean floor travelled through the food chain dramatically demonstrating how interconnected creatures and human actions are.        

Thanks to Friends of Big Bear Bald Eagles referring me to this 13+ min. video narrated by Peter Coyote.  The spectacular colorful scenery features the eagles’ story of their Southern California successful reintroduction beginning in the offshore Channel Islands.  You can more fully appreciate the size and beauty of these magnificent birds soaring in flight, swooping to catch a fish, raising their young surrounded by spectacular scenery in this video.

FOR THE BIRDS -- and then some......
Mother Nature has thrown a wrench in the works with regard to the hatching of the highly anticipated Valentine’s Day pip watch at the Big Bear Bald Eagles nest. Over 5000 visitors were noted at the high point of live nest viewing, many participating in the ongoing live chat.  They were exposed to exciting egg defense from Ravens and sudden startling late-night intrusions from the mysterious Fiona, the flying squirrel, garnering aeronautic chases and wing slaps, respectively.

Disappointingly, there have been no pips (beginning egg-shell cracking initiated by eaglet inside) observed on either of the two eggs as of this writing.  Given the expired number of gestation days it is thought to be highly unlikely there will be new BB Bald eaglets this year – unless the parents attempt a second batch of eggs which has been known to occur with some eagles in a few instances. 

There are many unknown factors as to why these eggs aren’t hatching.  There’s always the possibility that the eggs weren’t fertilized, since unlike last year there was no visual verification of parental copulating, but that could easily have occurred off nest in the trees elsewhere.   Even if they did mate, eggs don’t always become fertilized or develop an embryo.  A number of theories have been suggested to explain why these particular eggs might not have developed to be viable for hatching, including weather conditions (though unlikely), but the actual reason is not known. 

Speculation is high as to how much longer the parental eagles will continue brooding by sitting on these eggs to keep them warm for the remote chance of possible embryo development, but that remains to be seen.  The eagles reportedly have no time perception to recognize their eggs viability has expired so may keep caring for these eggs, sometimes until the eggs begin deteriorating or break.  The longer they nurse these eggs the less likely the possibility they might start a second brood this season.

POLITICAL THOUGHT -- for the birds, some might think........
We must continue to seek out and support the credible Fourth Estate press reporters to bring us truth by exposing falsehoods, distortions of facts, suppression of reality.   We are challenged to exercise critical thinking in pursuit of making viable judgments as to who to trust in order to preserve our nation’s freedoms and values. 

Do we want to preserve democracy with the values and freedoms as we know them -- for the United States and the world?

Corruption continues to ooze out of this White House swamp’s septic tank with our paranoiac leader’s deep state conspiracy theories being propagated by him and some of his supporters to justify his increasing inappropriate applications of  excessive power.  Some people even believe these stories as factual which they fail to realize others are deliberately promoting to manipulate them for reasons of questionable motivation. 

Politicians with no expertise in the arena to which they’re being assigned continue to be appointed by this leader to be the top administrators of key governmental functions which can adversely affect this nation’s security and the safety of the American people. 

Increasingly individuals with views different than our leader’s are not being tolerated.  Some might wonder if discrimination and vindictive penalization is also being exercised by this leader and some of his followers.  

Overreach and possible misuse of executive power continues to occur with questionable interference in our nation’s system of law, order and justice.  Some might wonder if white collar criminals crimes are being minimized. 

Ongoing efforts to suppress facts to the American people, to shape citizens beliefs as occurs in autocratic countries like China, Russia, North Korea continues as directed by our leader.  Do we want four more years of this? 

Sunday, February 16, 2020


In an earlier post I noted an American teacher, John McGory, originally from Westerville, Ohio (a community north of Columbus near where we bought our first house) who was living in Wuhan China had blogged about his experience living in the city where the Coronavirus emerged.   He had been unable to exit the city on the first evacuation flight.  He described with photos the vacant streets of Wuhan, possible issues getting food, his concern for free expression limitations in what he could safely write about the situation due to Chinese laws. 

John’s last blog post at American Speech Company the end of January revealed he was uncertain as to the circumstances of his future life there, if he would have to remain, what that might mean,  or if he would be able to leave.  I expected to follow any further posts he might write, but there were none. 

Finally, on February 4th I found McGory’s updated post on Amazon where his book is listed.  He describes the frantic experience when the second evacuation plane he had arranged to take was cancelled in a post titled:  “Humans not statistics”  as he prepared for another evacuation flight.

“Real information remains scarce while rumors explode.”  He noted:  “We have to get our own transportation to an airport 40 miles away in a city with numerous army-patrolled stops along the way.  The Chinese want to know everything about the drivers taking us to the airport.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they put them in isolation for two weeks.   I’m trying to keep a wait-and-see attitude about the flight tonight.  Hope and fear, both cruel imposters, are best avoided.”

John made his flight touching down in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Wednesday, February 5th with 166 other passengers as reported in the Los Angeles Times.  We do know those passengers are quarantined to monitor for Coronavirus symptoms.  I have been unable to locate any more current reports about John McGory's status.

Monday, Feb. 17th Up Date:
John McGory continues to be free of the Coronavirsus when tested in San Diego he reported in an interview I heard on the radio this morning.  He happily looks forward to going to Ohio when he's cleared to leave Miramar Air Station.

Freezing weather in our Big Bear Mountains is reported to have likely delayed the Bald Eagles two eggs expected beginning to hatch with pipping from inside the shell from around Valentine’s Day until possibly today(Sun.)  or  coming weekdays.  The 5x4x3ft nest has been subjected to some high winds in the 120ft Jeffrey Pine Evergreen tree at the 7000 feet elevation – thought to be the highest known Bald Eagle nest.  

The eggs are on pip watch for signs of the eggs beginning to crack open which is a slow process of many hours once it starts.  I recall when we had regular and bantam chickens, ducks, that we weren't supposed to help them out of the egg shell.  If the baby bird doesn’t have the strength to continue pecking their shell open to emerge independently, they likely will not survive.  

If an egg has not been fertilized the parents may continue to sit on it, sometimes up to more than 2 months or until it begins to disintegrate.  Reportedly there is no reason to be concerned about these eggs until the 42nd day after they were laid which would be Wednesday the 19th if they haven’t begun to show pip signs.

Some nasty Ravens have periodically been unsuccessfully harassing the brooding parents to lure them from the nest in order to get to their eggs.  Whichever parental guard bird is off the nest is seen swooping about in the sky chasing the Ravens away. 

I hope people in the U.S. avoid being influenced by any Coronavirus alarmist false rumors.  There have been rumor problems deteriorating into a few racist discrimination incidents in Southern California, but efforts are ongoing to eliminate them.      

Social media sites are also reported to be a primary source of circulating false rumors, creating hysteria and conspiracy theories on all sorts of topics. Even in chat room sites those with moderators must screen out such sincere but uninformed comments as well as those of individuals who deliberately do so for effect.  Such responsible screening seems to be more than some sites will assume responsibility for doing.  

Unfortunately our very own President has been guilty of spreading untruths and conspiracy theories since before he was even a candidate for the office he now holds and has continued doing so.

Foreign infiltration on some of these sites has especially focused on our political and controversial social issues with bot comments created to inflame all points of view intended to incite us against each other.  If only we would not succumb to such efforts to undermine our democratic republic and would instead unify in peaceful tolerance of our differences. 

We might wonder if the benefits of social media outweigh the deficits due to those who abuse it. What do you think?

Sunday, February 09, 2020


Spring is coming – eventually!  California poppy lemon-colored blossoms gradually are increasing their numbers in my light brown bark covered parkway – that strip of land between the sidewalk and the street.   I was surprised to see the first couple buds several weeks ago indicative of an early spring or plant confusion – flowers adapting to climate change, I think.   One of the more typical self-seeded poppies with orange blooms also appeared this week with others to emerge.  

The hibiscus I planted last fall, defining the property line at each end of the parkway, has continued to offer a few new buds, slowly progressing to adding several additional thin filmy light-bluish blossoms. 

In Southern California we have water reserve totals barely above what is needed.   We’re looking forward to an expected rainfall – maybe a quarter to a half-inch of the wet stuff; even a little snowfall in the mountains down to 3000 feet elevation one day this coming week -- then, perhaps a bit more moisture next week.  February is normally a high rain month so we want all we can get since there wasn’t much in January.  All too soon there will be no more rain, no humidity, dryness with lots more sun and heat.

For anyone who’s interested here’s the live cam link to the Big Bear Bald Eagles nest in the mountains east of here that I followed last year.  They’ve been keeping their two eggs viable and warm through several periodic freezing nights with expected hatching around Valentine’s Day this week.  Parents Jackie and Shadow will be challenged to keep the eaglets warm, fed and healthy.   

My yard has been absent the tell-tale signs grub-worm-harvesting raccoons have visited overnight for several years as we went through recent drought years.  When I first noticed the raccoons handiwork, I hadn’t recognized the significance of the yard’s upturned soil, as though an aerator might have slightly lifted the soil, until the wee hours of one morning.  I was up into early hours, went outside, walked past the hedge lining the side of the garage to come upon a raccoon family obviously headed by a very large Mater or Pater all hard at work hunting and digging up my side yard.   He/she raised up, fixing a look on me that immediately convinced me to return inside my house before the masked defender charged me to protect the family between us that was closer to me.   

There’s only so much heavy duty input I can take any more, but I am determined to stay informed and aware of all the issues we face in today’s world.   I begin to feel worn down from it all at times but resist the temptation to tune out the world – at least for no more than a few days or so to emotionally and mentally recharge.   This isn’t the time to abandon all,  just when our attention and whatever action we can take toward resolving some of these oppressive issues is most important.   If I ever lose that interest, I think it will be an indication my time has come to check out of this dimension.  

With all the news these days I take respite from reading any non-fiction books as daily life is much too real.   Biographies and fiction, I can handle – that and lots of humor for recreational reading.

I did view most of all the Presidential Impeachment sessions and continue the same with the Democratic candidates debates seeking their party’s nomination for President.  Too bad the Republicans aren’t having a contested nominating process.  I like to view them all as someone officially unaligned with any one political party, unlike when I was younger.

I often enjoyed viewing those old political nominating conventions, despite as manipulated as they were – the voting of each state (and territories) shouting out their great state’s attributes as preface to the number of votes cast for their chosen candidate.  There was such an air of excitement with the possibility something unexpected might happen. 

We continue ricocheting from one deplorable event to another in the chaotic environment to which we’ve been subjected for the past three plus years.   I am encouraged that there still are a few individuals in our government with the ability to discern between right and wrong, what is ethical and moral, among career government employees, military officers, legislators from both political parties (though seems few in one party). 

Unfortunately, the misguided Senate majority party is led by a Senator who may have forgotten  or simply ignored that his oath is to all the people, not primarily just the President.  He gave us a farce of a Senate “trial”(?) denying witnesses to determine if our President had abused his power and/or obstructed Congress from their Constitutional mandated duties.  The argument against having witnesses was a specious one as was that of the Senator who justified her vote by saying the President would learn from this process, presumably to correct his behavior. 

Only one of the Senate leader’s  party members courageously reported he was voting his conscience, recognizing that this President was guilty of abuse of power, denying the desired unanimous acquittal, if not impeachment. 

The President’s State of the Union message did not impress me as the words of a statesman, instead more like a show or con man, closely approximating that of a reality show.  He made so many claims of accomplishment embellished with distorted facts, other warped interpretations, but then for a man who prides himself in being mendacious I generally discount all he says until I can verify what he says with reality. 

Introduction of so many individuals and their stories who were genuinely deserving people to be appreciated for their accomplishments seemed really to just be their being exploited.  The Medal of Freedom, awarded for all the wrong reasons, trivialized the actual medal’s significance, especially when I consider all of those deserving people who have previously received it. 

The day following the Senate’s decision to not impeach this President he spoke to a Prayer Breakfast audience using words embedded with pathetic self-serving comments that seemed quite inappropriate in that setting.  Later speaking from the White House to the nation he delivered an egocentric speech, as most of his are, that reminded me very much of the kind dictators preach to their captive audiences for extended periods of time. 

Most recently we see him flexing his power by firing or removing employees from their positions.  Some might speculate these actions as being vindictive retaliations against highly respected individuals who had sworn under oath to facts contrary to his claims which, incidentally, were made by the President under no oath of any kind.   Given his propensity for prevarication we might have reason to want further confirmation as to his protestations’ reliability.  He had even resisted all efforts to provide documentation or testimony from others that could have revealed or reinforced the truth. 

I think it would not be an overstatement to say our future this election year will likely be filled with more unexpected, unimaginable, undesirable chaos than what we’ve already experienced.  So, buckle up, hang on, and enjoy the ride!

Sunday, February 02, 2020


What a world in which we live with massive unpredictable changes turning life upside down for too many people.  

"The Neighbor's Window" -- An emotionally moving glimpse of life with a turn  -- Academy Award Nominated Live Action Short Film 20 mins. you can view for free here:

Note:  This film’s snapshot of life takes place in the comfort of modern day life in a big city, quite unlike what many are experiencing around the world.

I think of all the peoples who have been displaced from their country due to fighting, other life-threatening, devastating circumstances in their land, who are seeking a peaceful life in a new country but find the challenges they face finding acceptance overwhelming. 

I am eternally grateful to live in the U.S.A. and mightily treasure this democratic republic’s freedoms from autocracy and theocracy that depress many in the rest of the world.  We are encountering political forces attempting to weaken our system in that regard.  This makes me especially attuned to recognizing those seeking to alter the nature of this great country in which I reside -- determined to ensure a strong majority to protect our freedoms.    

Some unfortunate people around the world we hear little about now, but will hear more in the future, are those losing their homes due to the effects of climate change with oceans rising, tides flooding beach residents’ houses and businesses.  My own country’s shores will experience this, too, though maybe not in my lifetime.

Here in Southern California the rain we typically receive this time of year so far is not occurring. Our promising water accumulation from the end of last year dwindles with each passing rainless or snowless day as our totals are now only one-quarter inch above normal.  Concerns continue that we not return to recent years drought conditions necessitating water rationing.  Increased destructive wildfires are a risk as we consider the devastation Australia is experiencing.   

Adding to environmental issues is the present health emergence of  the Coronavirus in China which has been associated with wildlife marketing there.   The World Health Organization has issued a Global Health Alert for this escalating medical emergency which has now also been specifically designated to be a Public Health Concern in the U.S.   

We can hope this virus will not mirror that of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic after WWI actually thought by some to have originated in China according to a Stanford University study.  My mother described that flu in the U.S. taking a significant toll on friends, neighbors of all ages in her quite uncongested rural Great Lakes state farm community where homes were scattered miles apart from one another. Reportedly 2-5% of the world’s population died.  Some still get the facts wrong about this flu as noted in The Conversation.
Last week with the Coronavirus rapidly spreading, a plan was announced for the U.S. Embassy staff and some others to be evacuated by plane from Wuhan, the virus’ city of origin, to nearby Ontario International Airport.  Los Angeles TV stations aired video of preparations to accommodate the arrivals who were to be quarantined there for two weeks.

Within a day or so of the evacuation plane’s scheduled U.S. arrival L.A. news reported the flight was redirected to March Air Force Base where the 200+ evacuees would be examined and stay for three days, then if cleared for release they could leave, but would continue to be followed for symptoms.  They could choose to remain on the Base for the entire 14 days for medical monitoring as some evacuees have suggested they might do.  

After the plane's March AFB arrival one of the evacuees reportedly attempted to leave the base prematurely but was prevented from doing so.  He was subsequently ordered to remain there the full 14 days. 

There have been a few Los Angeles area news reports in the beginning which have later not been in verifiable factual official accounts.  In fluid changing situations occasional misinformation can occur.

A succinct New York Times Coronavirus report current as of 2/02/2020 provides further details.

My earlier Internet searches for additional Coronavirus information resulted in my finding John McGory’s American Speech Company’s blog in which he describes Wuhan with photos.  John is originally from Columbus, Ohio, is 65 years of age.  He had to relinquish his seat on the evacuation flight due to passport problems as reported by UK’s Daily Mail news so he remains in Wuhan. 

I anticipated following John’s blog reports but have not seen any since January 27th.  I’m left to wonder about the circumstances he may be experiencing including if he has food which is becoming scarce, if he may have been evacuated elsewhere, whether his reports might be censored since laws limit free speech in China, or a worst case scenario that he has become ill.      

Follow your stable reliable trusted news sources for current updates on the Coronavirus where you live and do not fall prey to other purveyors of sensationalism, rumor and alternate facts or false truths.