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Red-Tailed Hawk Rescue and Shipping A Clay Orange Tree
plus milestones along the highway of life: Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and the United States Constitution

Debbie Reynolds Died
December 28, 2016

I loved Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain (1952) and the Albert Brooks movie Mother (1996), with many movies in between.

She was an actor, a singer, a dancer, with tenacity and a sense of humor.

I can think of no greater compliment to her than her impact on hundreds of thousands of girls who were named after her. In the 1950s and early 1960s, American girls were being named Debbie. In just 1954, 54,646 baby girls were named Debbie. You might think in the 1990s there were many Britney babies, named after Britney Spears, but the peak was less than 2,500 babies.

The funny part was: Debbie Reynolds was not born Debbie Reynolds. She was born Mary Frances Reynolds and was renamed by the people at Warner Brothers.

Debbie and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died a day apart.

Music Association: Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs Henderson (from Mother)

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Carrie Fisher Died 
Drowned In Moonlight, Strangled By Her Own Bra

December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher died today.

In her 2008 book, Wishful Drinking, she said, “... no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” She was the ex-fiancée of Joliet Jake Blues. She was Sally and Harry's friend Marie. She was Princess Leia. She was 60.

Princess Leia died today

Music Association: John Williams - Leia's Theme

Movie Review
Rogue One
December 22, 2016

Several days ago, in a theater not so far away...

                             Rogue One
It was a STAR WARS movie without an opening crawl,
taking place before the 1977 movie and after the 1999 movie
with planets and locations clearly labelled like some Star Trek film.

Characters new and familiar and ANIMATRONIC carry us
to places new and familiar with style true to cornball-free canon
but lacking the richness of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

This single ROGUE movie could open other non-serial options,
if only they hadn't ...
3 star wars out of 5

Music Association: Madonna - Rogue

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How To Box A Fragile Clay Orange Treeclay orange tree
December 8, 2016

So you spot a little orange tree made with great artistry out of clay, and it's for sale. You wonder how to ship it to another part of the country... somewhere missing all the artisans of Minnesota.

The problem is some shipping people think FRAGILE is an acronym for Freely wReck Any Glass Into Little Ends, or something.

The trick is to make packaging worthy of the object being packaged. Specifically, secure the clay pot so it doesn't damage the clay tree.

Here's a set of boxing instructions (pdf).

Music Association: Box Tops - The Letter

Free E-Book on AmazonHopes and Dreams e-book
November 16-20, 2016

The e-book version of Hopes and Dreams: Stuck on AutoDrive is free on Amazon from November 16-20, 2016.

It's a novel about inventing a better American Dream.

Get into the mind of the inventor of the self-driving car (AutoDrive), as he learns about guiding the future, living happily ever after, and getting into trouble without really trying.

Music Association: Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love

November 9, 2016

I just started watching the TV series Lost, having never seen it before. The music over the closing credits is hauntingly similar to the opening credit music of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They are also both kind of xylophony.

Music Associations: Drive Shaft - You All Everybody & Lost - End Title

Damn you all to hell!

Hopes and Dreams

“Holy Cow!”
Chicago Cubs win
Cubs Win - Chicago Tribune 11-3-2016
first World Series since 1908 with 8-7, rain-delayed, 10-inning Game 7 victory!
November 3, 2016

In one of the top two epic battles of the season, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, in a 4 hour 28 minute - rain delayed, game seven in Cleveland.

Just the concept of the Cubs winning the series is near-unfathomable. It doesn't happen. It's weird. This is going to take a while to get used to. Chicago will have a spring in her step for some time.

Starting from a 3-1 deficit in the series, the Cubs won their last two games prior to game seven. They started game seven by dominating Cleveland with a four run lead, making the road to victory look easy. The road is never that easy, so Cubs manager Joe Maddon stepped in to spice the game up. Maddon pulled starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks in the bottom of the fifth with two outs after Hendricks walked Santana with the help of a miss-called ball. Cleveland reduced the Cubs lead to a 6-6 tie at the bottom of the ninth as the rain started. Nature stepped in with a rain-spitting storm moving straight west from Chicago. The tarps came out to cover the field for about 17 minutes.

The Cubbies regrouped and returned to close the game with a score of 8-7.

Music Associations: Blues Brothers - Sweet Home Chicago & Harry Caray - Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Wonder Woman at 75
October 21, 2016

Wonder Woman was first published in All-Star Comics on this date in 1941. The United Nations made her an honorary ambassador today and that bothered some people. Her swimsuit-like uniform also was a point of discussion.

To me, her costume is a way she is recognized. It has evolved and should continue to evolve, but she is more.

Wonder Woman is a symbol. She is an ideal seeking an ideal world.

A warrior fighting for peace, love, and truth.

Wonder Woman at 75

Wonder Woman logo, registered USPO 1942

Music Association: Louis Armstrong - Wonderful World

Wonder Woman by Darwyn Cooke
Hopes and Dreams

October 20, 2016

At the heart of the United States is the U.S. Constitution. The heart of the Constitution is not free speech or guns or any other amendment. It is the vote. The vote is the great responsibility of the people.

When I was first able to vote, I looked forward to learning about the candidates and casting informed votes. But when I looked up the candidates, my reaction was, “That's it?!? These are my choices?” I was disappointed. I figured it was a fluke and voted for the least-bad candidates. It was no fluke. Election after election, I have never agreed 100% with any candidate, no matter how high or low the office, not even close. Start with priorities. Their priorities have nearly never been my priorities. I vote, look at the results, and I wish more people voted across the country. Here in Minnesota, the turnout is much higher than the rest of the country. Even here, more people should vote.

The United States is a representative democracy. The people vote for others to represent them in making decisions for the country.

The single greatest achievement of the Washington presidency was his stepping down at the end. He set the precedence for the orderly transition of power.

Even Richard Nixon stepped down.
I Voted

Music Association: John Lennon - Power To The People

United States Constitution

Hopes and Dreams

Story in Pictures
Vikings v. Texans 31-13
October 9, 2016

With the giant doors open at the new US Bank stadium, the Minnesota Vikings won their fourth game (4-0) against the Houston Texans, and making the Vikings (5-0) on the season.

US Bank stadium, home of the Vikings

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford takes the ball

Vikings defense

Texans punter against Vikings defense

Music Association: Prince - Purple Reign

Hopes and Dreams

Story in Pictures
Previously on Project Runway
October 7, 2016

Curated Style fashion designers, who were previously on Project Runway, presented collections at the Mall of America.
        Kate Pankoke (Project Runway seasons 11 & 12)
        Layana Aguilar (Project Runway season 11)
        Michelle Lesniak (Project Runway season 11)
        Kini Zamora (Project Runway season 13)
        Sean Kelly (Project Runway season 13)
        Christopher Straub (Project Runway season 6)
        Joshua Christensen (Project Runway season 9)

Some of the models ran the runway!

Here are some highlights:

previously on Project Runway designers, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Layana Aguilar dresses, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Kini Zamora, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Kini Zamora dress, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Christopher Straub dress and bear, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Kate Pankoke dress, Curated Style in Minnesota 2016

Music Association: Aerosmith - Walk This Way

Hopes and Dreams

Nature People
Red-Tailed Hawk
October 3, 2016

A hawk looked over his shoulder at us while standing on a small mound of snow in St. Paul.

Let me count the ways this was weird. First, this was nine months ago, and it was weirdly warm in Minnesota at the end of January. The small mound of snow was not a snowbank. Weirder still, this was across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Paul in an area of industrial buildings right next to a mirrored glass building -- not the sort of area to expect a raptor to stand. Usually hawks stand on trees or lampposts and look down. Even weirder still was the look the hawk gave us... not so much the look as the shoulder he was looking over. That shoulder looked like an over-extended accordion.

The hawk hopped away.

You notice I didn't say flew away. This hawk was grounded. It didn't take an historical reinactment to guess the hawk flew toward an identical hawk and ended up hitting the building with the mirrored glass windows.

We watched the hawk from our car and followed him from a distance. He was covering some ground, walking and hopping, in good spirits, staying in bushes by buildings when possible. We called some friends for suggestions of what to do. Clearly this was a hawk with a broken wing. Our plans were chucked in favor of someone needing help.

Red-Tailed Hawk named Flipper

PSA - Hey kids! When you see nature seeming to be harsh and inhumane, try to leave it alone. The baby bunnies and baby squirrels may seem like they were left without supervision, but nature does that sometimes. It'll be okay.

Our friends suggested we take an old coat (we didn't wear coats... weirdly warm weather) and an old box (we didn't have a box), and cover the hawk and bring it to the Raptor Center between the State Fairgrounds and the University of Minnesota - St. Paul campus. We made arrangements for them to come out with the supplies.

We watched the hawk walking and hopping for an hour. Another hawk flew over, landed nearby, but very soon took off to perch in a large tree, as if to say, “You know what you should do? This is what you should do.”

Our friends arrived with a plastic kennel and an old blanket. We closed in on the hawk. The hawk's beak closed in on a thumb. Blanket over hawk and into the kennel. We made it look easy. Drove two cars to the State Fairgrounds where ice sculptures were dripping in the sunshine.

The Raptor Center allowed one of us to take the elevator down to the lab, because of a wildlife rehabilitation connection. The vet said the hawk looked to be in good condition. Usually when adult red-tailed hawks are brought in, they are in bad shape and have to be put down.

They said they would contact me if or when it could be released, but they should know more after an examination.

I contacted them a few days later and was told:
We are deeply grateful to those of you who have taken the time to help transport or rescue a raptor patient. The Red Tailed Hawk that you had brought to us is suffering from a broken scapula and a luxated coracoid (shoulder) and is currently undergoing treatment. We have it on pain meds and have a bandage to help stabilize the bones to give them time to heal. It will take time and physical therapy but the prognosis is good at this time. We do not have the resources to provide ongoing updates on every case but we are happy to notify you via email of the outcome when the case is resolved.

They went on to say:
The Raptor Center is 60% funded through donations. You can donate online or call 612-624-8457.
700-800 raptors are admitted every year and the length of stay depends on the injuries.

The red-tailed hawk made a full recovery and was released four months later.

Music Associations: Lenny Kravitz - Fly & Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle

Bloom County by Berke Breathed, June 1982

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