Palo Alto Baylands birding

I had a short and chilly stop by the Baylands on the way home from work yesterday to see what was afoot. It was only about 40 minutes before sunset when I arrived, so I didn’t get to complete my usual walk before it got too dark to bother, and I missed the area where a Eurasian Wigeon was recently spotted.

Winter is upon us – I dind’t see a single Egret in the palm trees by the duck pond and just a couple of lonely Black-crowned Night Herons. Raptors were out more than I’ve recently seen, with a Cooper’s(?) Hawk, which posed nicely for a few photographs, a White-tailed Kite, which did no such thing, and a buteo seen between the duck pond and the Palo Alto Airport.

Cooper's(?) Hawk at Palo Alto Baylands


The Blind Boys of Alabama @ Davies Symphony Hall

Sarah & I saw the Blind Boys of Alabama perform their annual Christmas show at Davies Symphony Hall in downtown SF yesterday, and it was a blast! We saw their holiday show a couple of years ago at the Masonic Auditorium, and this one was pretty similar. Unlike the last time, however, they had a…


“Casino Royale”

Daniel Craig’s debut as 007 is, in short, one of the best Bond movies in recent memory.  Interestingly, it goes back to when 007 earned his ’00’ (by killing two people), but doesn’t go backwards in time, with cell phones and instant messaging playing a prominent role (thank you very much Sony Ericsson). Less suave…


“Food Politics” by Marion Nestle

This 2003 James Beard Foundation award winner is a weighty examination of the role politics has played (and is playing) in the evolution of our food supply and its regulation (or lack thereof). Nestle (no relation to the same-named company), a nutritionist, exhaustively examines a number of aspects of food policy: dietary advice (the Food…


Calaveras and Alpine county birding

Sebby & I spent Thanksgiving with her parents (also avid birders) at my family’s cabin in the Sierras, and to our surprise, we actually saw some good birds. I’d been expecting to see little/nothing, since it’s getting very cold, especially at the higher elevations, and there’s even a dusting of snow on the ground from 6000′ upwards.


“1776” by David McCullough

I just finished this, the second of McCullough’s that I’ve read (the other being his also-excellent “John Adams”), and am now thinking that McCullough is one of the best history writers I’ve read. Like “Adams,” “1776” is engagingly-written, and very approachable. The title should give you a good clue as to the time period covered,…


Political Ads

So I’m extremely tired of political ads lately, like probably everyone else.  On the way home from work on NPR’s Marketplace, I heard an amusing sendup of negative ads.  You can hear it here: