Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring

 

April first and Spring has definitely arrived at the Boggy Thicket.

Can’t really explain it, but here is the thing

Eighty degrees just feels different in spring

By the middle of August, I know that you might

Be praying for sixties on a hot summer night

But a warm day in April can make your heart sing

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Right to be Wrong

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  ( Amendment 1 – US Constitution)

indianaAll Hell is breaking loose in the press over Indiana’s recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act by folks who see it as an attack upon gays.  As I see it, the main thing wrong with the law, if there is one, is timing. 

The Indiana law is almost identical to laws in 19 other states, and a federal statute passed back in the Clinton administration.  So far, none of those laws has been used  to limit the rights of homosexuals. The law applies a "balancing test" in judicial proceedings, where states have to prove a compelling state interest before burdening the practice of a religious belief.  There's little historical evidence to suggest that Indiana's RFRA could be used in a general way to deny service to customers who are gay. RFRA statutes in other states have never successfully defended a proprietor from an anti-discrimination suit.

On the other side, it is rather easy to compile instances in which the RFRA produced outcomes even the most liberal would applaud. There's the example of Kawal Tagore, a Sikh who was fired from the IRS for carrying a small knife that is the religious duty of all Sikhs to carry. She won recompense for her unlawful firing, thanks to the RFRA. Then there's Abdul Muhammad, a prisoner in Arkansas who won the right to grow a beard while in prison, in accordance with his religious belief.

Should the owner of a bakery refuse to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding?  Of course not – it’s bad business!  Should he have the right to do so based upon his religion?  Absolutely!

Part of the greatness of America lies in its citizens having the right to exercise their freedom of conscience.  We have a  guaranteed right to our beliefs, however outrageous they might be. 

We have the right to be wrong!

refuse sign That's part of American greatness, is discrimination. Yes, sir. Inequality, I think, breeds freedom and gives a man opportunity.  (Lester Maddox) 

History has determined that Lester Maddox was wrong to stand at the entrance of his Atlanta restaurant with an axe handle denying entrance to blacks.  The federal government took him to court, and in Willis v. Pickrick Restaurant, he was ordered desegregate within 20 days.  Rather than comply, he sold the place, and later went on to become the governor of Georgia.

Was he wrong?  Absolutely!  Did he have the right to exercise his misguided beliefs?  I’m not so sure that he did not. 

50 years later, he’s probably chuckling in his grave.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Attaboy, Canon

canon-rebel-xti

Back in January I reported on the problems I was having with my camera.  Once I got it back from the camera shop, my pictures looked better, but it had developed a weird symptom that I had never seen before.  Often, when I switched the camera to OFF, it would either stay on or turn itself back on when I set it down.  The battery, which used to last for months, was nearly dead every time I turned the camera on.

Pretty sure their technician had caused the problem, I called the camera shop.  They wanted another $28 just to look at the camera!

That was certainly not what I wanted to hear, but I had heard good things about Canon’s tech support, so I thought I would give them a try.

helpdeskI went to the Canon USA website, scrolled through about a half-dozen screens to locate my model, then emailed their help desk a description of my problem.  I got an immediate (automatic) response saying that they had received my email and would try to get back to me in 24 hours.  About six hours later, I got an email from from Rodney, one of their help desk technicians, with step-by-step instructions on how to solve the problem.

FAST, FREE, and IT FIXED THE PROBLEM! 

You couldn’t ask for better service than that.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

First Camper?

caravan A Danish website has just published this picture of what they claim is the first Recreational Vehicle – or, as the Europeans call them, the first Caravan.

Certainly not the first wagon ever built to travel and sleep in - it was modeled after Gypsy wagons of the time – it may have been the first built strictly for fun. 

Designed and built in 1885 by a Scotsman, Dr. William Stables, it was called the Wanderer.  It was a heavy rig, made of maple and mahogany, and employed a boy on a bicycle to warn other travelers off the road.

Last used in 1960, it is currently on display at the Cotswold Caravan Club in England.

Friday, March 27, 2015

There’s Always One

We put up one of those sock type Finch feeders this winter.  It just sat there for the first few days – long enough for me to wonder if I had wasted my money – then it stayed extremely busy for a couple months.

finch2We often had as many as 20 birds at a time, and I was refilling the sock at least once a day. 

Then, one day about two weeks ago, they were gone.  We didn’t see any finches, and the level of seed in the sock didn’t drop at all for over a week, so last Tuesday I replaced the sock with a Hummingbird feeder. 

Yesterday, I saw that we had one straggler.

finchOf course, I had the wrong lens on my camera (and no time to run back to the bedroom for the other one) so if you blow the picture up big enough to see him well, you lose a lot of definition.  Still, you should be  able to tell that he is turning bright yellow, beginning to sport the summer plumage that we almost never get to see this far south.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

That’s No 4-leaf Clover

If you are actively searching for a four-leaf clover, and see what you think might be one, it almost never is.  Far more often, a lobe from another leaf has gotten tangled with a three-leaf clover, giving the appearance of four leaves.

That’s what I thought had happened here.  I first saw this clover leaf almost a week ago.  I thought it might be a four-leaf, but the lobes did not make a symmetrical cross, so I ignored it.

Finally, yesterday evening, I actually leaned down and picked it, only to discover that it had not four, but five lobes.

clover2According to the 4-leaf Clover Website, 5-leaf clovers are much less common than 4-leaf clovers, and are supposed to bring even more good luck.  Now, that would be nice.