Eagle Drama Playing Out In Live-Time—Watch With Link–Intruder Female Eagle On Branch, Male In Nest

Awesome Eagle Cam  (As of this posting there is tension mounting at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens)

The following is a quote from a journal entry by Brooke Pennypacker of Operation Migration (whooping cranes) commenting on being asked to speculate about wildlife. It would seem to apply to the NBG nest as well. “But if we can be certain of anything, it is that Mother Nature is the consummate magician with an infinitely deep bag of tricks with which to dazzle and surprise and fill our lives with unending wonder. Perhaps rather than spending our time trying to figure out just how she does the trick, we should just kick back, put our feet up and enjoy the performance.”

Update–Viewers of the cam might want to know that the male eagle has not mated with #4.  For background on this soap opera please read here.  In case you need a scorecard,  everyone wants #3 to come back and be the mate to the male.  #4 is an interloper and though this is nature and no one knows what will happen there is great hope for the return of #3 female.  The nest is approximatey 6 foot in diamter, 400-600 pounds, and 4-6 feet in depth at the center.

No one knows the age of the male. He is at least 15 years old – adding the five years for maturity and how long he has been observed nesting here. Judging by her plumage she is a young eagle around 5 years of age.

At this time we are unsure what female will end up with the NBG male. He has been with 4 females that we know of since early fall. #4 just came into the picture a couple of days ago. She and female #3 (whom we felt was bonded with the male) locked talons in an aerial altercation. The male has also kept this female from the nest itself. #3 female has not been seen since the morning of the 8th. We don’t know what will happen – we are just observing.

Remember – these are wild birds. They don’t handle relationships like we think they should. They are surviving  – and this female is trying to survive too. We can’t lose sight of the fact they are doing what comes naturally to them. We don’t know what will happen – but we are seeing nature as we have never been able to see it before.

You are extraordinarily fortunate to be able to observe something that is very, very rare – the possible replacement by yet a fourth 5 year old female at the NBG nest. NO ONE has ever seen this happen before. The moderators and I are trying our very best to provide you with accurate information and data about what you are seeing. No guesses or rumor but FACTS. Not one of us knows just what is going to happen next. Stay tuned.
Some asked  if the male would ever abandon this nest to the intruder and build a new one.   The professionals commenting state  this is his home so he will defend it the best he can.   In nature anything is possible – but he has been defending this nesting territory since 2004 – I don’t think he would give it up that easily.
Female #4 on back branch is showing great patience in her effort to earn her way into the nest. The male has been through this 3 times already this season, and taking his time with her.
Why did #3 give up SOOOO easily????? We don’t know that #3 has given up.

Best One-Liner About Rick Perry

There are times when a line jumps off the page and demands an audience.  Such was the case in Ryan Lizza’s article “Life Of The Party” which tries to make some sense of the nominating process now playing out in the Republican Party.

But sometimes activists don’t have a candidate like that, and they’re willing  to risk defeat by backing someone far outside the mainstream. (This strategy can  have its own payoff: in 1964, Barry Goldwater lost in a historic landslide, but  he changed American politics.) “Parties want to be optimally extreme,” Zaller  says. “They are like the frequent air traveller who believes that if he never  misses a flight he is getting to the airport too soon.”

This dynamic may help explain the ups and downs of the Republican primaries.  Backing Mitt Romney is like showing up four hours early and sitting at Cinnabon;  backing Rick Perry would have been like arriving at Newark International in the  early evening for a flight that left LaGuardia at noon. And maybe, just maybe,  backing Rick Santorum is like getting on the plane right before the doors  close.


“Watergate” Novel By Thomas Mallon Sounds Intriguing

The title of Thomas Mallon’s new novel caught my attention at once.  “Watergate” evokes all the images of politics and scandal from the presidency of Richard Nixon which never ceases to entertain and anger.

The book is a work of fiction, and yet is aimed to read like a work of history.  That whole style of writing is one which I find intriguing, and from this review sounds as if it has been successfully done.

Historical novelists have to craft their books with care, and spend as much time with the facts as they do with creating a new way to weave the characters and events into a context which then allows readers a broader understanding of historical moments.  I still view the work of William Safire with “Freedom” as perhaps the best effort at this type of writing.  Am looking forward to bringing Mallon’s work home in a not-so-distant shopping trip.

What Mallon captures particularly well is the fundamental weirdness and mystery at the center of the scandal. Who was trying to achieve what with those break-ins? And why? Given how ineptly they were carried out, could the sloppiness have been intentional — either as a result of double agentry or as individual self-­sabotage? In these pages, even those closest to the events remain bewildered by their smallness — their ridiculousness, even — and their contrastingly outsize and ruinous consequences.       

It appears that Mallon’s primary goal, one he achieves with great finesse, is to make the portrayals of his characters as believable as possible. Like the rest of us, they aren’t simply moral or immoral but are both clever and defensive, selfish and self-pitying, sweet and loyal, generous and venal. Also, there are quite a lot of them.       

Mallon’s initial list of “The Players” in this book contains 112 names, perhaps an unnecessary resource for readers who lived through Watergate, but extremely valuable for those, like me, who did not. Yet Mallon’s control over his material, his ability to subtly cue the reader about what information warrants close attention, means that “Watergate” isn’t usually confusing, even to a younger reader and even though name-bestrewn passages like this one, which describes the night of Nixon’s landslide 1972 re-election, are common:       

“Nixon sorted through congratulatory messages and returned phone calls from Rockefeller and Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s tough-cop mayor, who made Agnew look like Elliot Richardson, according to Ehrlichman. When Haldeman reminded them of this line, Nixon asked, ‘Was Richardson on the platform at the hotel?’ ”       

With such a large cast, it’s no surprise that the characters who show up the most often emerge the most vividly: Fred LaRue, a gentle White House aide from Mississippi, haunted by a not-so-gentle secret, who deliberately flies below the radar of the public; Rose Mary Woods, the president’s tough and steadfast secretary (and yes, the eraser of those tapes — though not for the reason everyone thinks); Elliot Richardson, who serves as secretary of health, education and welfare, then of defense and finally as Nixon’s attorney general, hiding his own presidential ambitions behind a screen of self-­righteousness. (Hoping to be tapped as Gerald Ford’s vice president after Nixon’s resignation, Richardson makes an amusingly blunt list “of his rivals’ liabilities”: Gov. Nelson Rockefeller is “too old, pushy,” while Senator Edward Brooke is “too liberal, black.”)       

Tammy Wynette’s Name Stripped From Her Gravestone

Tammy Wynette in concert with your blogger in the front row.

I have always felt that the saddest story in the decades of country music has been that of Tammy Wynette.  From her young years, failed marriages, and health problems it seemed there was always one more sad tale to read about when it came to one of the richest and most poignant voices of the golden era of country music.

This week I read the latest–and hopefully–last sad story that will be written about the lady we all knew as Tammy Wynette.  .

CMT.com broke the news Monday (March 5) that the name on Wynette’s tomb at Woodlawn Cross Mausoleum has been changed from “Tammy Wynette” to “Virginia W Richardson.” At the time of her death in 1998, Wynette was married to producer and songwriter George Richey, whose original surname was Richardson.

“I guess I’m curious as to why it’s a story,” she said to CMT.com during a phone interview conducted shortly after the name-change article was published. “I can tell you simply [the change] was a decision made by her six children for reasons known to us.”

There were so many ‘helpers’ over the years who made decisions for Wynette that were more self-serving for themselves than any meaningful attempt to look after the needs of the singer.  One must keep that in mind now as this latest news is reported.    The last part of this article is the most telling, I think.

Communicating by email, Sheila Richey told CMT.com she was unaware of what prompted the name change.

“Sadly, I cannot tell you the reasons why my stepdaughter, Deirdre Hale, would have requested Woodlawn to desecrate the resting place of this world-renowned country legend. My late husband, George Richey, had the name her fans knew, Tammy Wynette, placed there after she died in 1998. Over this issue and others, Deirdre and I no longer speak.”

She criticized Wynette’s daughters for having their mother’s body exhumed after they had filed a lawsuit against Richey and Wynette’s doctor, alleging they had contributed to her death. An autopsy determined that the singer died of natural causes.

“I would like to apologize on behalf of my late husband and myself to all of Tammy’s wonderful fans around the world,” Richey concluded. “I’m truly sorry for another stain on ‘The First Lady of Country Music’ brought about by her children.”

“I can’t believe there is still so much acrimony over this poor woman,” said an industry insider who once worked closely with Wynette but who asked to remain anonymous. “Now someone has stripped her of her own celebrity. [Visiting her tomb now] would be like visiting Tony Curtis’ grave and seeing his real name — Bernard Schwartz — on it.”

Saturday Song: Punch Brothers (Chris Thile) “Brakeman’s Blues”

This week I read a magazine article in The New Yorker about the Punch Brothers, and it was so well written I turned to You Tube to find out what they actually sounded like.  BAM!

The music was fantastic making the Punch Brothers featured this week on Saturday Song.