Robin Blue, and what a tale it can conjure.

Robin BlueRobin Blue has to be one of the most beautiful colors around.   I took this photo today at our front yard, where the nest is hiding in the male holly tree.  Somehow, looking at this perfect little egg made me think of the magic of life in general and of the robin hen in particular.  It also made me wonder how many people have thought about the robin and written about it.   I grew up reading and hearing about the poem “Who Killed Cock Robin”:

Who killed Cock Robin 

“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?” “I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye, I saw him die.”
“Who caught his blood?” “I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish, I caught his blood.”
“Who’ll make the shroud?” “I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle, I’ll make the shroud.”
“Who’ll dig his grave?” “I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel, I’ll dig his grave.”
“Who’ll be the parson?” “I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book, I’ll be the parson.”
“Who’ll be the clerk?” “I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark, I’ll be the clerk.”
“Who’ll carry the link?” “I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute, I’ll carry the link.”
“Who’ll be chief mourner?” “I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner.”
“Who’ll carry the coffin?” “I,” said the Kite,
“If it’s not through the night, I’ll carry the coffin.”
“Who’ll bear the pall? “We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen, we’ll bear the pall.”
“Who’ll sing a psalm?” “I,” said the Thrush,
“As she sat on a bush, I’ll sing a psalm.”
“Who’ll toll the bell?” “I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull, I’ll toll the bell.”
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

Here it is, thanks to the Library of Congress, in all its lugubrious and glorious state...Cock Robin

For all those lawyers around or legalistic minds that like a good murder story and a trial, you can read the rest of the story here.Cock Robin trial

Posted in Animal kingdom, Crime, General, Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Eagles Landed with a Cat: the Arboretum Eaglets.

Remember the 2 little baby eagles that hatched in the Arboretum of Washington, DC?  Well… They keep growing.  Apparently, their parents brought them a cat to eat, and people are upset about this webcam event.  I can understand that.  I would not want my pet to end up in the eagles’ nest as food.

Usually you hear that cats eat the birds, not vice versa.  There are so many expressions about cats eating/killing birds that no one cringes about, like “the cat swallowed the canary”.

Eagles are predators.  There is no way we can reform them.  The website has  a disclaimer:

This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen. While we hope that two healthy juvenile eagles will end up fledging from the nest this summer, things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disaster can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch.

The site failed to disclaim that eagles will hunt cats if they can, and that there are certain traits of these magnificent birds of prey that humans cannot change, unless they genetically modify the birds.

Don’t get me wrong.  I would hate to witness the harsh event of an eagle swooping down and capturing a cat in its claws.  Yet, I understand the harshness of nature.  The lion and the lamb will not lie together.  The zebra or gazelle and the crocodile do not best friends make.  The fish will lose to the heron more often than naught.

I have 3 real-life stories about birds and cats and hams and guinea pigs.  I will soon share them.  While the end-result was not quite palatable, the actual occurrence was quite amazing and -sometimes- comical. There is something “cute” about these eaglet siblings, don’t you think?

Eaglets

Posted in General | Leave a comment

King of the Road… when men were not afraid to be men… and were sexy!

I love this song… it may not be PC, but it captures an era…and the rhythm and beat of the song that, -in my humble opinion- have NEVER been matched.  Dean Martin has fun singing this song…and he exudes a masculine trait that is no longer acceptable, but that I am sure some young women today would love to witness.  I certainly miss this.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

El Gato Correntino… Classical Guitar

You are never too old!  I learnt to play this classical guitar piece when I was 10 or 11 years old.  A very, very long time ago.  I still remember it by heart…but I am no expert.  My playing is rusty.  But this man gives me hope.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

One of the loveliest of birds: the Hummingbird.

In my family, the Hummingbird holds a very special space, because of what this little bird has conjured through the years.  One day I will have it in me to write the right “memoires” that will include the cunning little bird’s apparition during diverse times in my family’s life.   I just came across this WONDERFUL set of photographs of this little bird, in its various typecasts.  I am stunned.  I hope you derive as much pleasure as I do looking at these remarkable photos.  These little birds are truly jewels.

 

Posted in Animal kingdom | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Afghan prison, a loom, a heater, and Cinderella’s slipper.

UPDATE:  Listening to Merle Haggard’s Prison Song, I thought of my Afghan experience…

One of these days I will be able to write about my experiences visiting an Afghan prison.  I am one of those lawyers who has never seen the inside of a prison, except for some, like Robben Island, that today are museums.  But it is still all too fresh in my mind and I cannot quite capture the myriad of emotions I went through while visiting this place.  It had to be one of the strangest, most surreal, perturbing, curious, worrying, enigmatic, perplexing, and frankly- bizarre yet hopeful experiences of my entire life.  Am sure there are more adjectives to describe my emotions.

I had opportunity to visit the cells, talk to the prisoners, and observe a selected few in their rehabilitiation or vocational environments that involved working with metal, leather and wool.

The prisoner cobblers were working on creating charming women and girls’ shoes.  There was something touching to see these men (all convicted hard-core criminals) cutting and gluing and nailing together all these shoes.  There was a master cobbler who was teaching the prisoners how to be shoemakers.

We did not speak the same language.  We come from different worlds.  They were making useful but pretty things, some seemingly delighting in the novelty of a visit by strangers, and asking to have their photos taken, while others tended to their craft with serious and meticulous concentration.

A prison cobbler tending to his trade.

A prison cobbler tending to his trade.

Made in prison: a Cinderella slipper.

Made in prison: a Cinderella slipper.

A prison loom.

A prison loom.

Hand-made water heaters from corrugated metal.

Hand-made water heaters from corrugated metal.

Posted in Afghanistan, Crime, Culture, Human Rights, Rule of Law | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Merle Haggard – RIP – Sing Me Back Home…

For someone who believes in upholding the “rule of law” and all it entails, I know how difficult it is to reach that understanding between the need to set straight the criminals/avenge a crime, and the need to exhort retribution/forgive/and heal for society’s sake…

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Argentine Nostalgia continued… When love goes away…

I learnt to play this song when I was about 12 years old… I found the melody and the lyrics beautiful.  But, I could not quite grasp the significance of what I thought were old men singing about love going away, and not being able to retain it while their lovers’ gaze was cold and distant.  The lyrics refer to the fact that no one can detain someone’s love that goes away.

Amazingly, when I was 20 years old or so, I had one of the members of this band come to my parents’ home and, at the end of dinner, I offered my guitar and he burst into song and sang all my favorite childhood Argentine folk songs.  How lucky was I????  His name was Canqui Chazarreta.  He was a singer, composer, performer.  I have never forgotten that evening…

Posted in Argentina, Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Argentine Nostalgia: El Pericon Nacional

I cannot believe I once could play this in such a way in my guitar…  It has been a long time, and my fingers are no longer as nimble…  But, but… patience and perseverence… do pay off.  I begun practicing again, and -by Lord- it is beginning to be like this again…  This song brings back memories of my childhood and our horse, called Pericon…

Posted in Argentina, Music | Leave a comment

Afghanistan: Kaftar Bazi, or Play of Pigeons…

My special Afghan friend, someone I hold very dear to my heart, shared this with me.  I am always happy to learn something new:

Kaftar bazi or the Play of Pigeons is an Afghan national sport – one of the calmer sort. This doesn’t mean it isn’t highly competitive.

From:  War Doves: The Afghan sport of pigeon flying

Posted in Afghanistan, Culture, Nature | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes or No to Buying Organic…

Since I am known for not trusting anyone or anything, so much so that I do not trust the whole “organic” movement, I was astounded to read this article in Forbes:

However, many consumers believe that the Organic label means the food has superior nutrition and is safer, especially in regard to pesticide residues.  This is not true. Studies have shown no appreciable difference in nutrition between crops grown either organically or conventionally. ***

When it comes to pesticide residues on our food, there is aUSDA testing program that demonstrates year after year that the pesticide residues on both organic and conventional foods are at such low levels that we need not worry about them. ***

There are also quite a few farming practices with excellent environmental profiles which are difficult to implement under the organic farming rules (e.g. no-till farming, spoon-feeding of nutrients via irrigation). Compost, which is a major input for organic farms, has a shockingly high “carbon footprint” because of methane emissions. The carbon footprint of “synthetic” fertilizer is much smaller. ***

My third reason for not buying organic has to do with ethics. Organic exists as a sort of “super brand” that transcends anyone marketing under that banner. Unfortunately, within the organic realm there are certain major marketers (and advocacy groups they fund) who employ fear-based and falsehood-based messages to demonize “conventional” foods.  They use these methods as a means to promote organic. One of the most egregious examples is the “Old McDonald/New McDonald” video funded by Only Organic – a consortium of very large organic marketers. This bizarre publicity piece exploits children to depict a completely distorted view of mainstream farming.  I consider it to be “hate speech for profit.”  ***

Posted in General | Leave a comment

The eagles of Washington, DC.

Back to the eagles…  I am mesmerized by their dedication, stamina, vigilance, and protection of the weak and indefensible:  their chicks.  I watch the evening shots, and see a somewhat disheveled gal (or guy?), with wind-blown feathers that make her/him look funny…  Earlier, one of them had black spots on his/her pristine white head feathers… Right now, you cannot tell.  Still, despite the somewhat comical look, the last shot is of a most alert bird, sitting tall and proud and strong, keeping a watchful eye checking on anything that might threaten her/his brood.  In my book, it is metaphorical and allegorical.

EagleWDC1                                    © 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG

Posted in Nature | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Meet Mr. President and the First Lady – Eagles have landed…

If you have the chance, do spend some time observing these beautiful birds take care of their two chicks:

In 2014, a pair of mated Bald Eagles chose the most idyllic of nest sites within the United States’ National Capital (Washington, DC), nestled high in a Tulip Poplar tree amongst the Azalea Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture. This is the first Bald Eagle pair to nest in this location since 1947. The two Eagles have been iconically named “Mr. President” and “The First Lady.” Join us in viewing the most patriotic nest cam in the United States, 24 hours a day.

Below, the eagle wakes up, ever so alert…  It looks around for a while, and then returns to its repose.  Majestic and beautiful.

EagleWDC                                © 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG.

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Spirit of Afghanistan… by Steve McCurry

“What a tale my thoughts could tell”...  From the inimitable Steve McCurry.

Afghan man

 

Posted in Afghanistan, Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hummingbirds…

Posted in Art | Tagged , | Leave a comment