December 13, 2017

At the Winter Swan Café...



... you can talk about whatever you like.

The photo — of Whooper swans —is by Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.net.

We walked out on Picnic Point today, where it was very blustery with icy horizontal snow. Out on the lake, there were lots of white birds yelling and laughing like a party full of half-drunk humans. Were they swans? I couldn't get a good enough look and didn't think taking my own picture from that distance would help.

The Wikipedia article on Whooper swans says: "They are very noisy; the calls are strident... kloo-kloo-kloo in groups of three or four." But they are in Asia and Europe. The 3 swans of Wisconsin are: Trumpeter, Tundra, and Mute. I've listened to recordings of all 3, and I'm going to say they were Tundra swans. (Listen here.)

Anyway, this is an open thread. You certainly don't have to talk about swans!

And if you've got some shopping to do on line, I recommend going into Amazon through The Althouse Portal.

83 comments:

Birkel said...

One step up from geese.

chickelit said...

Wut, no Leda? No Zeus?

Meade said...

Pretty sure they were Trumpeters out on Lake Mendota today.

Humperdink said...

Former Pittsburgh Steeler cornerback Ike Taylor, among others, was canned by the NFL network for groping the wardrobe stylist. Apparently, Ike mistakenly thought he was still permitted to make contact within five (5) yards without a penalty.

Speaking of the Steelers, this weekend's game against the Patriots should be an offensive explosive explosion. Both defenses stink. Look for Brady to get 500 yards.

Bad Lieutenant said...

You have cranes in Wisconsin, don't you?

I've heard they're delicious.

Ann Althouse said...

"Medieval banquets show people eating all kinds of foods that are no longer eaten. Birds especially featured. Eagles, herons, peacocks, sparrows, larks, finches, swans, and almost all other feathered creatures were widely consumed. This wasn’t so much because swans and other birds were fantastically delicious—they weren’t; that’s why we don’t eat them now—but rather because other, better meats weren’t available. Beef, mutton, and lamb were hardly eaten at all for a thousand years because the animals they came from were needed for their fleeces, manure, or muscle power and thus were much too valuable to kill."

Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life (p. 53). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

tcrosse said...

The swans in the River Thames all belong to the Crown. Which makes them none the less delicious. Just don't be stuck with the neck.

Big Mike said...

Seven swans a swimming
Six geese a laying
Five golden rings

chickelit said...

Swan-themed music about hard-to-get women.

Freeman Hunt said...

New house, new challenges. Researching various drainage solutions for keeping water away from a foundation. Good times.

Tank said...

Tavis Smiley?

chickelit said...

New house, new challenges. Researching various drainage solutions for keeping water away from a foundation. Good times.

Well worth doing. I spent last weekend building a new wooden fence whose posts had prematurely rotted because of poor drainage. Next month I have to reroute some drainage and level some ground.

tcrosse said...

The Maenads are loose ! Maggie bar the door !

Big Mike said...

@Freeman, congratulations on your new home. Merry first Christmas in your new digs! Is it brand new?

Original Mike said...

"Next month I have to reroute some drainage and level some ground."

You obviously don't live in Wisconsin.

chickelit said...

You obviously don't live in Wisconsin

Correct! It's remarkable that these problems even exist in Southern California.

Freeman Hunt said...

"@Freeman, congratulations on your new home. Merry first Christmas in your new digs! Is it brand new?"

Thanks, Big Mike! We did not build, but it is a house I love and did not think would ever go on the market. Will probably wait to move in until after Christmas. Doing some things to it first.

Big Mike said...

Eighteen months ago we moved into a new home in a new development. They misgraded the back yard and we’re still trying to cope. The back yard is like a bowl right now. I am considering s dry well. Anybody have experience with a dry well?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My poor daughter. I don't know what the hell is going on with schools these days; everything is so dumbed down. She's taking AP English, as did I in high school, which I remember being: A. write essay about favorite book in the spring and wait to see if you're accepted or not; B. read two challenging novels over the summer and write essays about them; C. read more challenging novels during the school year and write some more essays. We were expected to read, think, and write, at an advanced level, the end. Well the poor girl in the year of our Lord 2017 is reading The Scarlet Letter which pleases me immensely, but the final assignment/largest grade for the unit is described thusly:

"Unlike Hester who had to confront her sinfulness every day thorough her letter, we will focus on a special virtue/strength we have. Choose a quality/talent that makes you special. Ask your family and your friends if you are puzzled. Then use the first letter as the item of your project that you will embellish. Your virtue will be expressed as an adjective or a noun. You may decorate the letter in any way you like, even 3D, but without glitter. You need to do a great job so you can be as proud of your work as Hester is of her beautifully embroidered A.

Scoring rubric:

Clever and fitting choice of virtue
Appropriate product: no play-dough, no edible art, no glitter, no pencil, no leaves/flowers
Level of effort
Lever of creativity"

So they are making elementary school level art projects for a "college" level class. What a fucking waste of time. Those of you who have young children, stay away from public school! Turn back now before it's too late!!!

Original Mike said...

Well, you could do it in Wisconsin. With dynamite.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Anybody have experience with a dry well?"

I would also be interested in reading about it.

Sorry they misgraded your yard. What a pain. Our problem is different. The house is fifty years old and has settled a bit. Things are pretty flat from the front of the house to the street, so the water stays too close. Two different guys suggested running a pipe underground from there all the way across the yard and under the driveway to the backyard which slopes away. Passes too many tree roots for my comfort. (Save the trees!) So I'm looking up other possible options.

chickelit said...

Anybody have experience with a dry well?

Isn't that the sort of thing that people and animals fall into? Cold Comfort Farm

chickelit said...

@Freeman: Isn't that called a French drain?

Original Mike said...

Drainage problems. Oy.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Unlike Hester who had to confront her sinfulness every day thorough her letter, we will focus on a special virtue/strength we have. Choose a quality/talent that makes you special. Ask your family and your friends if you are puzzled. Then use the first letter as the item of your project that you will embellish. Your virtue will be expressed as an adjective or a noun. You may decorate the letter in any way you like, even 3D, but without glitter. You need to do a great job so you can be as proud of your work as Hester is of her beautifully embroidered A.

"My letter is B because I can spot Bullshit. This assignment, for example, is bullshit. I've made my B out of brown clay to look like feces. You will also notice that I have embellished it with spots. I am a Bullshit-Spotter. Thank you."

Freeman Hunt said...

"@Freeman: Isn't that called a French drain?"

Not in this case. It's collecting from a certain spot and running through a solid pipe. I am wondering if a French drain going far into the front yard would work. Or dry wells.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Cold Comfort Farm"

LOL I had forgotten all about that book. That was a fun one.

Meade said...

Congrats on your new house, Freeman. Very smart to give priority to solving drainage issues.

Freeman Hunt said...

Thanks, Meade. Yes, that it priority number one.

Big Mike said...

Good idea, Freeman. Christmas is hectic enough without moving to a new home. We moved in and then made changes (like building a linen closet because the architect left linen closets out of the blueprints) and putting up shelves in the storage area of the basement and it was a mess. Good luck to you and your family.

One note. We dawdled about getting a “First Christmas in Our New Home” last year and then they were sold out when we went shopping. Just sayin’

Freeman Hunt said...

"We dawdled about getting a “First Christmas in Our New Home” last year and then they were sold out when we went shopping. Just sayin’"

Good tip!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My daughter now wants to know if the Freeman Hunt Academy is enrolling high school juniors with great work ethic and low tolerance for crafting.

Freeman Hunt said...

"My daughter now wants to know if the Freeman Hunt Academy is enrolling high school juniors with great work ethic and low tolerance for crafting."

Ha ha! That would be fun.

Ken B said...

Test

gnome said...

I think those must be geese. Swans have long curved necks, fluffed feathers around the back end and are either white or black.

Big Mike said...

@chicklit, French drains are perforated. Water pressure in the surrounding soil forces the ground water into the perforated pipe and the pipe then routes the water away.

@Freeman, it will take time and planning to minimize damage to the tree roots, but PVC pipes routing water from downspouts to sloped part of back yard is what worked for us in our front, which used to be a problem. We could hear water literally gushing into the sump after a rain. I am not exaggerating.

Original Mike said...

I had to bury a water drain from the backyard downspout all the way to the front, as well as build berms and a deck to block water reaching the house. I also have engineered a couple of small depressions in the yard.

Unknown said...

I also have engineered a couple of small depressions in the yard.

That is what I would put on my itemized bill if I dug two holes..

Henry said...

gnome said...
I think those must be geese.

You gonna argue with a gnome, Meade?

And the real Canadian geese are like, "we don't know you from ugly, ducklings."

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"That is what I would put on my itemized bill if I dug two holes."

Well, you have to grade the garden to feed those holes. And this spring I lowered a flagstone path so the overflow would drain to the front.

Meade said...

"You gonna argue with a gnome, Meade?"

Hey I'm the guy who was absolutely sure the Springer Spaniel I was walking was a Brittany. So no, I will not argue with a gnome.

Fabi said...

"... a house I love and did not think would ever go on the market."

A pleasant surprise -- enjoy it in good health!

Fritz said...

I haven't seen the Tundras which winter up the beach yet, but I'm sure they'll get tired of Wisconsin soon enough.

We also have a few Mutes, despite the best efforts of DNR to get rid of them. They're a non-native, and are blamed for destroying sea grass. Nasty beasts. One attacked a boat I was using.

Trumpeters were spotted at least once up the Bay last winter.

There were a few Black (Australian) Swans over on the Patuxent River a few years back, but I don't know if it's a reproducing group or not.

virgil xenophon said...

When my parents built their first home in '51 it was finished just prior to Christmas. My parents had bought an entire house-full of new furniture at the Furniture Mart in Chicago
and one of Dad's best friends unloaded the truck, placed the furniture and hung the drapes (and put up and decorated the Christmas tree) early on Christmas Eve as a surprise and took us over to the house and handed us the keys. Once in bed later that night my Mother exclaimed: "If I die tonight I'll die happy." LOL.

Trumpit said...

The Ugly Duckling was a favorite fable when I was a kid. Swans are closely related to geese and ducks. I walked into a disgusting bird butcher shop in L.A.'s Chinatown. It was disgusting because you got the sense, and smell of impending death. You could hear birds screaming bloody murder. The man wanted to sell me a live goose for $20. The goose stared at me as if to say, "Save me!" I so badly wanted to. My thoughts were on how I'd let it go in a pond somewhere. Where and how? I left the store rather shook up knowing he'd be served on a plate to disgusting gluttonous humans like myself.

I did save a cute shark once. A heartless fisherman reeled in a juvenile shark at the end of Santa Monica Pier. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica_Pier
I asked the gruffy, bestial, unshaven man what he was going to do with it. He was going to let it die then make bait out of it. I asked him how much he wanted to throw it back into the ocean. The poor thing was struggling to breath. He said that he wanted $20. So, I found an ATM near some arcade games on the pier, and saved the shark's life. I felt good about it.

Char Char Binks said...

Why can't I hear the call of the mute swan?

Unknown said...

Why can't I hear the call of the mute swan?

Columnated ruins domino

Howard said...

I wouldn't recommend dry wells. For the depression, strip off the top soil and save it. Place high quality fill into the depression and compact with Vibratory Plate Compactor in lifts of 4 to 6 inches. For most soil, shoot for a 15% moisture content for optimum compaction. Shape backfill to route runoff into drainages. Replace top soil.

Like OM said, install downspout drain lines
https://www.homedepot.com/p/4-in-x-10-ft-Triplewall-Pipe-Solid-4550010/100135310
Keep your gutters clean and the drain won't plug.
https://www.thesmartscreen.com/

walter said...

Running to an Atm to buy and release a shark.
Just like nature intended..
"I felt good about it."

walter said...

But "saved" from the gruffy, bestial, unshaven man...

rehajm said...

And the real Canadian geese are like

If you’re referring to the species they are Canada geese, not Canadian. There could be Canadian geese based on their geography or citizenship.

walter said...

"Canada geese" are undocumented

Trumpit said...

The bestial Roy Moore, who Trump campaigned for, lost. Blacks, especially black women, voted overwhelmingly for Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Thanks to all who worked and voted to defeat an alleged child molester.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress just voted to destroy the working people of America and the middle class to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy, and corporations. All Republicans who voted for these dangerous Senators and Congressmen(mostly male), should choke on their Christmas dinner as Jesus would have wanted.

James 5:1-6 ESV
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. ...

urbane legend said...

walter said...
Running to an Atm to buy and release a shark.
Just like nature intended..
"I felt good about it."

I bought a gray and white swimsuit one year. Fell asleep at the edge of the water. Woke up to find five kids and their science teacher trying to roll me back in.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fritz said...

walter said...
"Canada geese" are undocumented


And much like some other undocumented aliens, a lot of them have decided to stay in the US permanently.

Controlling Conflicts with Resident Canada Geese in Maryland

Fritz said...

I did save a cute shark once. A heartless fisherman reeled in a juvenile shark at the end of Santa Monica Pier. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica_Pier
I asked the gruffy, bestial, unshaven man what he was going to do with it. He was going to let it die then make bait out of it. I asked him how much he wanted to throw it back into the ocean. The poor thing was struggling to breath. He said that he wanted $20. So, I found an ATM near some arcade games on the pier, and saved the shark's life. I felt good about it.


That was me. I caught another shark, and still had $20.

MadisonMan said...

So they are making elementary school level art projects for a "college" level class. What a fucking waste of time. Those of you who have young children, stay away from public school! Turn back now before it's too late!!!

Sounds like a teacher doesn't want to read essays, and I suppose I can't blame the teacher -- but if you don't want to evaluate your students' abilities in an AP class, why the heck are you teaching?

(Freeman's -- congrats on the house!! -- solution of the brown clay B is perfect, btw)

Fabi said...

"All Republicans who voted for these dangerous Senators and Congressmen(mostly male), should choke on their Christmas dinner as Jesus would have wanted."

I won't choke on anything. Instead, I'll enjoy every morsel with the hightened pleasure of your discomfit.

tim in vermont said...

Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Ha! He used that same bit in his Shakespeare book, which wasn't bad.

rehajm said...

Two different guys suggested running a pipe underground from there all the way across the yard and under the driveway to the backyard which slopes away. Passes too many tree roots for my comfort.

My new home just got this treatment. Our lot slopes front to back. Sewer type grates scattered about and lots of pipe in the front yard to direct water away from the front and around to the back. They used specialized digging equipment that digs a trench only slightly wider than the width of the pipe. My trenches weren't very deep- four feet, maybe less, but I'm built on slab, so maybe they didn't need to go deep. Perhaps with the correct equipment you can spare the trees?

tim in vermont said...

And much like some other undocumented aliens, a lot of them have decided to stay in the US permanently.

You need coyotes to keep them under control. Foxes can't handle them, but coyotes, and coy dogs can rob their nests. The only resident geese we get in Vermont are in places where the coy dogs won't go. It's nice to see them and the snow geese pass through, but familiarity breeds contempt.

Phil 3:14 said...

A GOOSE!

Phil 3:14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

All Republicans who voted for these dangerous Senators and Congressmen(mostly male), should choke on their Christmas dinner as Jesus would have wanted.

LOL, I think that Jesus said "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" and wouldn't have had a problem if Caesar had passed a tax cut. But maybe your education in his teachings is better than mine.

How is getting child rapist and patron of human sex trade trafficking Senator Bob Menendez (D - New Jersey) out of the Senate going, BTW? And what was Bill Clinton doing on those same Lolita Express flights that Menendez used?

Your deep concern for child molestation is noted. As is noted that overwhelmingly Republican Alabama rejected Moore, and overwhelmingly Democrat New Jersey looks the other way.

AllenS said...

Trump is a winner no matter who wins elections --

LINK TEXT

AllenS said...

Also, here's the latest from the St Paul (MN) Pioneer Press --

U.S. SEN. AL FRANKEN
“Tina Smith will make an excellent United States Senator. She is a dedicated public servant who’s worked tirelessly on behalf of Minnesotans, and Governor Dayton couldn’t have made a better choice for this job. Her record of accomplishment as Lieutenant Governor demonstrates that she’ll be an effective senator who knows how to work across party lines to get things done for Minnesota. I look forward to working with her on ensuring a speedy and seamless transition.”

So, it looks like he will resign.

tim in vermont said...

BTW, I could have lived without the tax cut, but working people who actually go to a job and bring home wages and pay federal taxes who make a lot less than I do will appreciate their tax cut a lot more than I will appreciate the minor difference in my tax bill. Same as cheap gas. Means nothing to me, I still buy premium at $3+ per gallon because that's what it says on my car's gas hole to put in it.

The Chinese are freaking out at the corporate tax cut, BTW, since our corporate taxes were the highest in the world of any developed nation, the Chinese are. freaking out because between the cheap energy that fracking provides (my brother, pre-retirement, was a plant manager, and he said that fracking had saved his factory a million dollars a year in overhead) and lower tax rates on corporations (whose shareholders pay taxes on the earnings anyway as soon as they are paid out) means that suddenly China is less competitive with their slave labor markets.

So, like Jesus said "Render unto Caesar."

tim in vermont said...

Looks like he will resign

Just like people said here, he was hoping Moore would win to give him the cover to hold on.

Michael K said...

" Those of you who have young children, stay away from public school! Turn back now before it's too late!!!"

MY grandkids are in charter school, which I hope is better.

College is not a hell of a lot better. My youngest daughter took "US History Since 1877" where her final exam review guide included the information that "The Silent Majority was made up of white people who rejected the 1964 Civil Rights Act."

No mention of Vietnam or Nixon.

We bought our Tucson house a year ago last month but let the seller live there rent free until New Years after which we had the whole place painted and did some other work. We didn't move in until January 15.

I put French drains in the yard of a house in the mountains about ten years ago. A neighbor had built a new house that diverted the drainage from the hill next to it. I discovered this when a huge tree fell over, fortunately not on the house. Resort community with very poor building codes.

AllenS said...

Tim, most people from MN didn't think he would resign. I read the St Paul and Minneapolis papers every morning.

Jersey Fled said...

Trumpit:

Black women also voted overwhelmingly for John Conyers.

Fritz said...

And much like some other undocumented aliens, a lot of them have decided to stay in the US permanently.

You need coyotes to keep them under control. Foxes can't handle them, but coyotes, and coy dogs can rob their nests. The only resident geese we get in Vermont are in places where the coy dogs won't go. It's nice to see them and the snow geese pass through, but familiarity breeds contempt.


We have a few coyotes now, but I don't see how they survive heart worm, which will get any unprotected dog within a few years.

Hagar said...

@AllenS,
Shouldn't that be "do not think he will resign"?

AllenS said...

Damn, Hagar, I'm not all that fluent in English, even though it's the only language that I speak. I sure thought that I made myself clear, but maybe not.

Hagar said...

Despite his statement lauding Ms. Smith, I will believe Franken has resigned when he has actually done it - with video.

AllenS said...

Hagar, did you read my comment at 6:47?

Curious George said...

"AllenS said...
Hagar, did you read my comment at 6:47?"

Franken stole an election. I don't think he would blush at going back on his statements.

Henry said...

Hagar said...
Despite his statement lauding Ms. Smith, I will believe Franken has resigned when he has actually done it - with video.

I really suspected that Franken's resignation was a temporary fix to take pressure off the Alabama Democrats and once that election was over he would have a change of heart.

But I think Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton squashed that by quickly naming a replacement -- and having that replacement be a woman, Lt. Governor Tina Brown.

Both the way Franken was keelhauled and the quick naming of his replacement makes me suspect that he is not liked behind the scenes.

AllenS said...

Alfranken's people stole the election. He's not that smart to accomplish it by himself.

Amazing Quotes said...

Very amazing and interesting post

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320Busdriver said...

Sooo Comey's report clearing Hillary is dated late May? And she was interviewed on July 4 weekend? And the edits showing gross negligence to extremely careless are exposed..

Lucy, you got some splainin to do