Saturday, May 16, 2009


Every path has a puddle. Into every life some rain must fall. But this is ridiculous, We're walking around in waders and rain gear all the time! And wearing a lifejacket. When will it end?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Night Herons are back.

Yes the Night Herons that we saw on our pier yesterday were back this evening, two of them, Julia thinks it is a male and a female, but I'm not sure, it was getting dark so I couldn't see them very clearly. I hope to see them tomorrow before it gets too dark. I'll let you know.

Tax Changes.

My understanding of the proposed Obama tax changes are that 91% of us will pay less taxes, 1% will pay more taxes - but that is only the people making over $250,000 a year, and they will only go back to what they were paying before the Bush Administration cut their taxes. (Why did he cut their taxes and not ours?) The other 8% will be paying the same.
This is good because I will be paying less! Even better is that the Obama Administration intends going after those who are evading taxes. (Not avoiding - evading.) Avoiding is legal, even encouraged - it is OK to change things around in your financial life to avoid taxes. It is evading taxes that is frowned upon. There are a lot of people who have set up tax havens in places like The Cayman Islands for the express purpose of evading taxes. This is cheating. Or to put it another way, it is stealing. Stealing from you and me, because if they don't pay the taxes they should be paying, you and I have to pay more to make up for what they are not paying. This I don't like. A lot of people may say "Right on" or "Way to go", hold onto your money, don't give it to Uncle Sam. But they might not say the same thing if they realized that same person has his hand in their pocket - you are paying more taxes because he is paying less! How do you feel about that? Especially as most of these tax cheats are making millions. You, maybe like me are struggling along on $50,000 a year while John Smith is making $4,000,000 a year and because he doesn't want to pay taxes you have to pay more! Does that seem fair to you? It certainly doesn't to me! Tell me what you think. Do you think he should pay less because he is rich? Remember a few years ago some people were saying "Greed is good", well we are not saying it now, greed has almost destroyed us. (I think rich people should pay more taxes not less. The chances are if you are making millions you are making them at the expense of others. A lot of people work hard for $20 an hour, how can someone work a thousand times harder than that? Tiger Woods and Oprah Winfey for example each make around $120 million a year, do you think they work 3,000 times harder than the guy who makes $20 an hour? Yep that's right $120,000,000 a year is about $60,000 an hour. I'm sure they pay their taxes, but there are others out there that make similar amounts and pay hardly any taxes, so you pay them for them! Even Warren Buffet says that the rich should pay more taxes! He said that he legally pays less taxes than his secretary! He also said that it is wrong, but if he is legally able to do that - well. I think he makes up for it by giving huge amounts to charity - he recently gave $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation! But there are other greedy ones out there who are shielding their wealth in tax havens while you pay their taxes. As you can probably tell I'm upset about that and hope that Obama can get them to pay Their Fair Share. Don't you?


Sunshine, that would be my daughter Sarah, and also my wife Julia. Sarah also means Princess. So on those days that the sun does not shine I have my wife and daughter, so every one of my days is full of sunshine! What more could any guy want? Life is good.

Update on the Harry/Julia Controversy.

I am informed by My Julia that the Heron is called Harry not Julia, she is my one and only Julia. I don't think that she wants to be supplanted by a Heron. So it shall be, the Heron is hereby relegated to his former name of Harry thus it shall always be.


New Bird on the Block.

We were enjoying our new deck last evening, the sun was doing its wonderful evening thing as it sank slowly into the trees on the other side of The Lake. The sky was turning its usual mix of golds and yellows, ho hum, prior to turning to red and then purple and every other imaginable as well as unimaginable color. When all of a sudden a new bird landed on the pier. We watched, fascinated, there were already a plethora of birds on, in and around The Lake, but this was definitely a new one. He looked a bit like a Heron, but not the Great Blue Heron, with it's long legs, neck and bill. Instead this guy was smaller, chunkier, with shorter legs and a fatter neck, but still very heronesque looking. a quick trip to our Bird Bible - Birds of North America - revealed it to be a Black Crowned Night Heron. Scientific name, Nycticorax nycticorax, and confirmed our observation that he had a heavy body, short thick neck and short legs. (Well short for a Heron I guess, they still looked pretty long to me, not quite Betty Grable legs maybe, but quite presentable) his size was listed as 20" long with a 44" wingspan, quite a bit smaller than the 38" tall and 70" wingspan of the Great Blue, but again a very respectable size for a bird. By the time we got back from the book and trained our binoculars back on our new visitor, he had been joined by another Black Crowned Night Heron. Yes there were now two on our pier, in our 10 months here we had not to our knowledge seen even one before. These both appeared to be female, but who knows there might be a male out there somewhere. We can only hope.
I have always found size, in birds, to be interesting. Here at The Lake we have birds that range in size from the tiny Wren to the Great Blue Heron, the Swan and the Bald Eagle, quite a range of sizes, but out there in the rest of the World, bird sizes range even more, from the Bee Hummingbird at about 2" long and less than 1/10 of an ounce to the Wandering Albatross at 25 pounds or more and an 11 foot wingspan. If we were to go back thousands or millions of years we would have found even bigger birds, but maybe not smaller.
Today promises to be another beautiful day on The Lake, already the sun has lit up the trees on the other side with its unearthly morning rays and Harry the Heron has found his place on our pier. His stance is one of eerie beauty, he (she? Because with the long neck, long legs and beautifully slim body Harry is certainly more evocative of a female.) reminds me of someone, and I am trying to remember who. I'm running some long legged, long necked film stars through my mind but can come up with none more beautiful than my very own Julia. So should I rename Harry, Julia? Would she be flattered? I hope so and I think so. Julia it is. Well Julia just took off and flew to one of her favorite hunting grounds for breakfast about 200 feet to the left of the pier. Some unfortunate minnow or sunfish is about to become breakfast for Julia.
Meanwhile back at Sunset Cottage it is time for me to take my Julia her morning cup of tea, after which she will serve me up a nice breakfast, not a Minnow or Sunfish I hope.
Have a wonderful day,

Love David XXX

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

That Would Be Me.

Husband of Julia, Father of Sarah, Grandfather of Bradley, Zachary and Jonny, Son of Percy and Joan, Brother of Mary, Brother-in-law of Tony, Uncle of Lucy and David, wow I don't even know how the say the rest - Great Uncle, Grandson etc. Friend of ...gosh how could I name them all? What a lucky son of a gun I am!



We all have it, and if you don't think you do, well lets face it, you are biased.
One of Murphy's laws states that, "Enough research will confirm your theory." OK. so I made that up. But it works for me.
You , or I, might give more weight to some evidence, or ignore other evidence, if we are embarrassed about it, or if we are stubborn, or for religious reasons, or superstitions, or traditions, or different views of the world or some other ideology. Or maybe you just don't like to admit making a mistake. I've met people like that! And so have you, we all have.
I might have a bias based on geography - I'm from the UK. "The UK can do, and never did do, any wrong."
We will point out any details that support our theory and ignore any that are contrary to it.
It's hard to be impartial. My Grandfather was on jury duty once, I'd hate to have had him on my jury, he said, "I could see as soon as they brought him in that he was guilty."
Tolstoy cleverly said, "The most difficult subjects can be explained to even to most slow witted man if he has not formed any idea on that already, but the simplest thing cannot be explained to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already without a shadow of a doubt what is laid before him."
I think we have a "gatekeeper" in our minds, this gatekeeper lets in beliefs and facts that we already agree with and shuts out those we don't.
An example - Hostile Media, you hear about it all the time, you expect the media to be hostile to your view, and it is, no matter what side you are on, if anything differs to your views, they are hostile.
A Republican will be biased toward a Conservative view, a Democrat will be be biased toward a Liberal view. And never the twain shall meet.
Or how about the placebo effect, if you have a smart doctor who acts as though the treatment he is giving you will work, it probably will. On the other hand if your doctor says "Try this, it might work, if it doesn't we'll try something else." Guess what, it likely won't work!
Bias, unfortunately we have to live with it, it is in all of us. Some more than others, it goes without saying that we should try to reduce those biases, and at least TRY to listen to the other persons point of view. Well that's my opinion anyway!
David, I love you anyway. XXX (But then I'm biased because you are lovable - because you read my blog)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back to "If a man is tired of The Lake he is tired of life."

I have talked about the weather of The Lake including the sunsets going from yellow to gold to red to purple. I have also touched on the wildlife - mostly the birds, from the Eagle and the Ospreys to the Geese, the Swans and the various Ducks. Now I'd like to just mention another aspect of The Lake that makes it unforgettable and impossible to tire of, the fish. But first, Ratty the Muskrat gets a mention. Ratty comes out of The Lake from time to time, and when he is out he likes to wander around on the lawn near the water, chewing and poking around in the grass. He looks like a little Beaver and is in fact in the same family. It is a pleasure indeed to watch him. (Or her?) But back to the fish, I guess a list of the fish that I have caught in The Lake would be the first order of business, and here it is, the most common is the White Perch, but I have also caught Yellow Perch, Catfish, Carp, Sunnies, Minnows and even a Bluefish once. A new fish has just appeared on the scene - The Shad, I'm pretty sure that they are Shad, I have looked them up on the Internet and they look just like the pictures, so I'm pretty sure they are Shad. As The Shad is almost extinct on the East Coast I have put them all back (I have caught three so far) so maybe they will make a comeback, we can only hope. the only other catch from The Lake that I can think of now and one of the most important, is The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab! Yum!

Happy Mothers Day, Love David XXX