Saturday, November 18, 2006

Crow History

1. Eastern Crow

The cooing
was also given in the air

and on one occasion,
I saw a bird drop

slowly down
with wings tilted up

at an angle of forty-five degrees,
singing as he fell.


Finally after
many trials
she managed to arrange
a loose array of sticks
in the base
of the fork.


I turned back at once
as I had no desire
to disturb the birds'
slumbers but it
was evident
that many,
even at this late hour,
had not settled down
for the night.

2. Western Crow

It was the practise
of the Crows,

after a hot afternoon's work,
to spare themselves the trouble

of flying any considerable
distance to water

by feeding
on watermelons.


It is evident
that in such places

ducks could not carry
on nesting



The flock then rapidly
reacted to the changed
environment by abandoning
attempts at feeding from
the almonds and indeed,
by departing from
the entire region.

3. Northwestern Crow

The old birds
are easy to distinguish
for they sit quietly
in the trees
and gravely watch their young
at play.


If the wind is blowing,
they allow for the curve,

and usually do not make
many misses

in their endeavor
to hit a certain boulder.


Their most characteristic
one is noted
when the old bird
is feeling especially foolish,
for they duck their heads
toward their feet,
and then give an upward tug,
at the same time
emitting a sound like
the pulling of a cork
from a bottle.

4. Fish Crow

Then away they glide,
from the trees
of the stream banks,

across wide plantations
of truck


He adds that they
eat pears,
and are very fond of
ripe figs;
they do considerable damage
to the latter
and have to be driven away
from the fig trees
with a gun.


These the Crow
now before us

would frequently seize
with his claws,

as he flew
along the surface,

and retire
to the summit

of a dead tree
to enjoy his repast.

5. Hooded Crow

From the tops
of the pine trees,
they ascended
to a considerable height,
when, hovering for an
instant, they would snap up
an insect and return
to near the former position,
remain for a moment,
and again make an essay.


When the observer
rushed up

from a distance
of about 400 yards

both eyes of the
unfortunate animal

had been pecked out
and it was dying,

apparently from injuries
inflicted on the brain

through the
eye sockets.


Critical observers
have not generally
considered that they

exercise any
intelligent selection
of hard as opposed

to softer surfaces
for this purpose;
nevertheless there is

evidence that in some
places they have learned
to utilize masonry

or walls
for their

on TCM at 2045 PST Billy Wilder's oddly romantic, lush 1970 Private Life of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Stephens & Colin Blakely

White-Necked Raven

"Quark, quark,"
they yelled, all in the
while settling nearer,--
or so I fancied--
till it seemed
as if they actually
meant violence.

As they often use
old haywire
and cast-off barbed wire
in their nests,
these cause short circuits;
this has cost
one telephone company
$2,500 to $5,500
annually to patrol the line
and keep it clear.

They pounded the air
in vain effort
to outfly their tormentors,
dove to the ground
but were forced
to take wing again,
circled and beat
and tacked to no purpose,
and finally began mounting
steadily in big circles, taking
their punishment
as they went, the
smaller birds keeping above
and beating down on them
in succession until
all were specks
in the sky,
and finally lost to view.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Bathysphere Adventures

"I pressed my face against the glass and looked upward and in the slight segment which I could manage I saw a faint paling of the blue," wrote Beebe. "I peered down and again I felt the old longing to go further, although it looked like the black pit-mouth of hell itself-yet still showed blue."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

nice piece on The Great Cham--

“His mind resembled the vast amphitheatre, the Coliseum of Rome,” Boswell wrote. “In the centre stood his judgement, which like a mighty gladiator, combated those apprehensions that, like the wild beasts of the arena, were all around in cells, ready to be let out upon him.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

mark your calendars Dec. 4 for TCM's day of "pre-code" Hollywood classics, including the amazing young Barbara Stanwyck in "Night Nurse" & "Baby Face"...