2020 The Year in Birds

January 1st, 2020

eBird tells me I saw a reasonable 346 species last year. There are probably a few here and there I didn’t report. 165 of those were in Kings County. That’s not awful given that I didn’t take any international trips or birding tours last year. Thanks to a Shearwater pelagic out of Monterey, I added 4 life birds to my list:

  • Black-footed Albatross Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 5/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Sabine’s Gull Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 3/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Red Phalarope Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 1/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Ashy Storm-Petrel Monterey Bay pelagic–inshore Monterey Harbor to Pt. Pinos (MTY Co.)
  • Black-throated Magpie-Jay Kit Carson Park US-CA 23 Aug 2019

That’s actually five species, but the Black-throated Magpie-Jay isn’t officially countable in the U.S. since it likely either is or descends from escaped pets and does not have an established population. Still a gorgeous bird though.

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Watchmen Post Episode 6 Hooded Justice

November 26th, 2019

Episode 6. Wow. Hooded Justice is the character I’ve wanted for decades and never, ever seen. Superman may have fought the klan, and Captain America fought the Nazis; but no superhero I can think of has ever taken on real, non-cartoon evil in their own society quite so directly. Indeed that’s the fundamental flaw of all the godlike beings like Superman, Captain Marvel, and Green Lantern. For all their power, they never turn it toward building a better world. The Joker is a psychopathic serial killer, but he doesn’t have a body count anywhere near a run-of-the-mill U.S. president.
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Watchmen Post Episode 5

November 23rd, 2019

Veidt’s in space. I had pretty much figured that out already, but now it’s confirmed. I didn’t recognize exactly where, perhaps one of the moons of Jupiter? I assume Dr. Manhattan put him there. I can’t imagine anyone else could have done it, but why?
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Watchmen Post Episode 3

November 9th, 2019

So Laurie Jupiter, now Laurie Blake, showed up and finally we have a character we can root for. That’s a big step forward. I don’t know why she;s using her father’s name now. He was a pretty bad guy and she was not fond of him to say the least. Perhaps this will be revealed later. Anyway, I’m still watching.

Watchmen Post Episode 2

November 2nd, 2019

Episode 2 didn’t answer many questions but it did reinforce my feeling that every adult in this series is a bad guy: cops, terrorists, “super” “heroes”, everyone.

One new revelation: Veidt has become a narcissistic psychopath. He was always a mass murderer, but thirty years ago it was at least possible to  read him as someone who had done the math and killed millions to save billions. Now, however, he apparently is willing to burn people to death for his personal amusement. Just maybe Mr. Phillips and the other servants are all some sort of robots or not fully sentient artificial life forms—they don’t exactly act like normal human beings—but even if that proves to be the case, the simulated subtraction of Mr. Phillips’s intrinsic field seemed pointless and cruel. Frankly I’m not thrilled with this development. It seems very out of character for him.

One new question: why did Laurie Jupiter decide to take her father’s name? Hard to believe she simply got tired of explaining how to spell Juspeczyk. Not hugely important, but I am curious. Possibly the name change was also mentioned in the previews, but if so I missed it until the end of this week’s episode.

P.S. I don’t consider Doomsday Clock canonical or worth reading, an opinion I apply to pretty much everything Geoff Johns is involved with. That’s the problem with non-creator owned properties. Even if a work is a recognized classic for 25 years, eventually some corporate bean counter is going to decide to milk it for a few more dollars.

Call the Midwife

October 27th, 2019

I watched the first season of Call The Midwife when it was first made available in the US, on PBS I think? I enjoyed it then and recently I noticed several more seasons were available on Netflix so I’ve been binging then. It’s a truly excellent show utterly unlike anything I’ve ever seen on American television. It is almost completely divorced from the usual tropes of TV drama, perhaps because it’s based very closely on the real memoirs of Jennifer Worth.
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