Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Simpler Times beer, not too shabby for $4 a six pack. The taste can be described as "beer" along the lines of Budweiser.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Getting On The Ball

I will be changing the tune on this album beginning with the beginning of the sentence. I will begin with my education today gleaned from the local Raleigh news on how the term "Being on the ball" came into prominence. Apparently Raleigh played a significant commerce role in the moving of product via railways in the early 1900s. A train conductor in Ohio whose watch was four minutes inadvertently caused a large train crash because a train was still on the tracks when another pulled in. In order to have all their train conductor's clocks set to one specific time, a man by the name of Ball invented a clock which could be coordinated and synchronized around the country. Now, people were able to go into a clock shop and sync their trusty timepiece with the Ball clock, thus "being on the Ball."

There is a local clop shop in Raleigh that has one of the original Ball Clocks, which still works flawlessly today.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Upstate New York via I-87.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the envelope was being opened

A cell phone pic this afternoon in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trippin Out

A hallucinogenic fish was caught off the coast of England. It even looks trippy and has the right color scheme to get the visuals moving along nicely.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Talkin' Dirty

Monday, April 20

• 8:44 a.m. — A Santo NiƱo Lane caller said a Mexican man went to her house and tried to give her an earring, while telling her the dirtiest words. He also stole her rake. Police assisted

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Parrot's Nest Grew In Brooklyn, And Queens Too

Fighting Real Parrots With a Fake Owl

Published April 17, 2009 in New York Times

Many of Con Edison’s challenges are well known — blackouts and steam pipe explosions included — but a lesser-known problem has proved no less nagging: How to protect its equipment from the thousands of monk parakeets that nest in the utility poles of Queens and Brooklyn.

These birds — also called monk parrots or Quaker parrots — are attracted to the heat given off by the transformers and other equipment high up on the utility poles. Their nests often wreck the electrical equipment by engulfing the electrical devices and blocking ventilation.

The resulting trapped heat can cause the devices to short-circuit and often, to catch fire, sometimes leading to local power failures. Con Edison officials have tried to shoo the birds with nets, spikes, deterrent sprays and sound machines.

“None have been successful,” said Al Williams, a senior scientist with Con Ed who tracks the monk parakeet, a native of South America. According to the prevailing theory, the birds escaped from cargo at Kennedy International Airport and now proliferate mostly in Brooklyn and Queens, with perhaps 300 nests that cause “a tremendous cost” to Con Edison, Mr. Williams said. In eight fires on overhead equipment in past 18 months, the nests are the main suspects.

One Con Edison crew has come up with its own solution: a plastic, battery-powered owl that swivels its head and makes a hooting noise, bought right at a local nursery.

The idea came from Gerry Goodwin, 65, a 44-year Con Edison veteran who tired of continually replacing the 24,000-volt feeder enclosure on a pole on 11th Avenue, just off Clintonville Street in Whitestone, Queens, which has become a main parakeet habitat, along with Canarsie and Midwood in Brooklyn.

“These things cost about $20,000 to replace, and we’ve gone through five in the past couple years,” Mr. Goodwin said of the feeder enclosures. “These nests are killing us.” Pondering the problem, Mr. Goodwin recalled that a co-worker had installed a plastic owl on his boat to keep seagulls away.

“I figured, ‘If it works for seagulls, it’ll work for parakeets; let’s put one up on the equipment,’ ” Mr. Goodwin said. So last year, they bought an owl and named him Hootie.

Hootie worked like a charm. Months went by with no new nests. But suddenly the nests were back, and the crew was back again to replace the equipment.

“Hootie’s batteries went dead,” Mr. Goodwin said. The birds immediately detected him as a fake and built their nest next to him.

“I think one of them married Hootie,” joked Sam Maratto, a Con Edison supervisor. Last week, the equipment exploded and caught fire, ruining Hootie. The fire was caused by nests, Mr. Maratto said. Mr. Goodwin went up in a cherry picker to retrieve the damaged owl, then called Mr. Maratto, who drove to a nearby a nursery and bought another one.

On the way, Mr. Maratto pointed out some huge nests in the area. When the nests become wet, he said, they conduct electricity and cause the devices to short-circuit and explode.

“They’re all over, and they’re huge,” he said, referring to the nests. He stopped at a device on a pole near Seventh Avenue and 150th Street “smothered” by a huge nest.

“Look at that capacitor bank — it’s a condominium,” he said. “It’s engulfed. That’s a piece of Con Ed equipment; you can’t even see it.”

The men said working in Whitestone had given them double duty as parrot home wreckers (though parrot sympathizers should know that the birds rebuild their homes within several days). When working on nest-infested equipment, Con Ed workers must wear special protective suits and face masks.

“These birds don’t go easy,” said one worker, Patrick Chery. “They hover right around you, and if they have eggs in the nest, they’ll attack you.”

Mr. Goodwin said that the Hootie solution seemed like the way to go citywide, except for the need to change the batteries every few months. He has asked Con Edison engineers to come up with a way to feed low-voltage direct current from the lines to power the owls.

Last week, Mr. Chery mounted the new Hootie. Within minutes, a parakeet flew over to take a look.

Steve Baldwin, who runs, a Web site devoted to chronicling the wild urban parakeets, said the parakeets have strong instincts to return to their original nesting spot. They will not be fooled for too long by a plastic owl, he said. A better solution might be using recorded hawk calls to deter the parakeets, he added, and providing “alternate nest platforms” on poles.

“I know there are people who think Con Edison is killing them, but I think they’re pretty humane about removing the nests,” he said. “It would be nice if, on our Con Ed bills, there was a box you could check to donate $5 for humane monk parakeet nest removal.”


Be sure to check out the site. There are some pics of nests hoarding a steeple at The Green-Wood Cemetery. They also keep up with legislation aimed at protecting the birds, and other updates of interest.