Pink Flamingo on Downie 8/30

Photos by talented Ornithologist Paul Guffin

From the Lookout 8/16/17

Yellow Belly Marmot at the base of the Sierra Buttes Lookout waiting for Lookout hikers to give him/her some food. Photo by David Marshall (Click on photo to enlarge) 

Carol’s Photo Gallery 7/26/17

Carol was in the shower and looked out the window and saw the bear first thing this morning. Then they went to Webber Lake. Near Sierraville way. And a squirrel and still snow on the ground. Waterfalls There is a tree here that has fallen down and it looks very artistic.

Late to Appt Excuses 2/1/17

Photos of Hwy 49 slide by Carol Marshall – Click on photo to enlarge

From The Bench Photos 1/18/17

From the Bench while on the Road – Carol & Dave

Yosemite Fal- no! The falls by Indian Valley. 3rd photo is before cleanup.

Complete Shopping List 1/11/17

Paul Guffin

The Twelve Days of Christmas Reconsidered – by Paul Guffin  January 5, 2017

The Christian season of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and ends on January 5 — a total of twelve days. Thus, we have just recently completed the Christmas season for 2016-2017, which makes this an ideal time to take a closer look at the suggested gift-giving contained in the holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

The earliest known version of the song’s lyrics was published in London under the title, “The Twelve Days of Christmas sung at King Pepin’s Ball”, as part of a 1780 children’s book, Mirth without Mischief. Over the years, there has been variation as to which gifts are to be given on days eight through twelve. For my purposes here, I will use the gifts and their order taken from that 1780 book, partly because, when using this order, you don’t have to deal with quite as many useless ladies and lords — as will become evident later.

Most of us know the lyrics in a general fashion. We know that each day “…my true loves [gives] to me…” a gift. According to the 1780 book, those gifts are, in successive order: 1 partridge in 1 pear tree; 2 turtle doves; 3 French hens; 4 colly birds, i.e., blackbirds (which later got changed to “calling birds”); 5 gold rings; 6 geese a-laying; 7 swans a-swimming; 8 maids a-milking; 9 drummers drumming; 10 pipers piping; 11 ladies leaping; and, 12 lords a-leaping. We also know that on each successive day, the previous days’ gifts are added to each day’s new gift. Thus, there is a cumulative amount of gifts throughout the twelve days.

One thing that becomes evident quite early in the twelve days is that your “true love” obviously has a lot of money to spend (or else has some really interesting connections and resources). I have read estimates of what the total amount of gifts would cost in today’s money. However, that is not my interest here — except in an oblique fashion.

So, assuming that your true love carries out the complete shopping list for the twelve days, you will end up with quite an assortment of gifts — and the headaches that come with them. To summarize, at the end of the twelve days you will have: an orchard of 12 pear trees; a barnyard consisting of 184 birds (224, if you subscribe to the theory that the gold rings are actually ring-necked pheasants); a dairy herd of 40 cows, each accompanied by its own milk maid; 780 gallons of milk (based on Purdue University’s average production estimate of 6.5 gallons per cow per day), and an additional 260 gallons of milk on each day to follow; 168 goose eggs (assuming one egg per goose), with an additional amount of 42 goose eggs per day; possibly 30 hen eggs per day from those French chickens; a marching band composed of 36 drummers and 30 pipers; and a whole bunch of ladies (22) and lords (12) doing nothing but dancing and leaping around. If you don’t subscribe to the ring-necked pheasant theory, you will also have 40 gold rings.

As to the headaches with which your true love has gifted you, they are ongoing and costly. You will need to provide shelter, feed, and veterinary care for up to 264 animals. You will need to provide refrigeration for the milk and eggs, and come up with a plan for what to do with them. You will need an annual harvest plan for your pear orchard, followed by a marketing plan for the pears you have harvested. You will need to provide lodging and meals for 140 people. (Perhaps, the milk, eggs, and pears will come in handy here.) And, you will need to provide storage for 30 pipes and 36 drums. At this point, you may be hoping that the gold rings are exactly that (and not birds), for they will give you something to sell or pawn to help provide everything for which you are now responsible.

I’m guessing that your headaches will be quickly exacerbated by those ladies and lords, who seem to want to do nothing but dance and leap. The other people given to you are all of the working class (milk maids, drummers, pipers), but these ladies and lords come from the class who believe that everyone else is supposed to provide for their maintenance, so that they might just enjoy their leisure as they wish. So, don’t expect any help from them in all the work that is now before you. They will take, take, take — and never give. You might be able to get the milk maids, drummers, and pipers to help with collecting eggs, harvesting pears, and processing all the produce; but don’t look for any help from the ladies and lords. They are the 1% in this scenario — and the 1% deem it their right to take whatever they want, and to be served by and provided for by the working class.

By now, you may be coming to the realization that your “true love” has not done you a big favor with all these gifts. How much better it might have been for you — and for everyone else — if all the money used to purchase and/or hire this multitude of gifts had instead been donated, in your name, to those organizations who fight injustice and inequality (e.g., ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center), and/or who advocate and work for preserving the environment and all who live in it (e.g., Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, a local animal shelter or rescue). If this had been the case, your life would have been so much easier, so much more peaceful — and so much richer.

Carol’s Movies 12/21/16

The Hollars – A man returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery. Director: John Krasinski Writer: James C. Strouse (as Jim Strouse) Stars: Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins

Carol Says: We laughed from beginning to end (there are a few emotional spots, tho). First, the official description on the DVD cover is nothing like the movie. So don’t even bother reading it.

This guy goes home because his mother has a brain tumor and an upcoming operation. While home, you watch the inner actions of the family. Some funny, some emotional situations each person must work through.

The acting is superb. I found, even with the serious issues, an uplifting movie. So there you have it.

Manchester By the Sea – An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies. Director: Kenneth Lonergan Writer: Kenneth Lonergan Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler |

We just saw “Manchester By The Sea” and I will try not be to too negative. It is not a happy movie at all, and at the end of 2 hrs 17 minutes, I thought: that’s it? Mostly an unhappy movie with unlikeable characters, with very few slightly positive things in it. Again, very few positive things in it for the main character.

It also goes from present to past, present to past, and it was a little hard to keep up with. Some of the scenes are long to make sure we get the idea. Yes, I got the idea.

Lee goes home because his brother died. He has his own demons to deal with. He is named the guardian of his nephew. We are watching Lee’s tortured life and his dealing with it. The positive part is that he finally tries to do the right thing. End of movie. End of review.

Carol’s Movie 11/23/16

Arrival – A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), based on the story “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang
Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Carol Says – I don’t recall ever seeing a science fiction movie before. Not my kind of movie…but I LIKED this!! Not only is it sci fi, but there are philosophical questions to be asked and answered. Maybe not every day life questions, but questions that could come up.

My cousin didn’t understand the ending, and my sister didn’t like the ending. then I explained the ending, and my sister then loved the ending, my cousin understood and liked the ending, and it gave us discussion the rest of the night and even the next day. Also, the “oh, now I understand that line (in the movie)” and it was just fun.

I cannot tell you anything about the movie, as it is intricate and surprising. Some of the scenes were a little too long – like the first time she goes into the ship – we got the point she was scared – didn’t need to go on and on about it. But overall, not too many scenes too long.

Remember, it is just a movie, a science fiction movie, but good. In my opinion. Am curious what others think.


Carol’s Movie 11/2/16

Carol Says – 

The Accountant
We saw it today and it was very entertaining. Fast moving, good acting, humor, and for those of you who like “shoot ’em up”, there was a little of that. For those of us who are not “shoot ’em up” fans, it goes by quickly. The thing is, I couldn’t follow a lot of it – not put together well, but I think they want it that way – and at the end it all came together. So, I did like this movie. It is about an accountant that does something that leads to other stuff. No, at the end I didn’t have all my questions answered, but I liked the movie so much I didn’t care. And, I got most of my answers.

With all that, you are wondering if you should see it. Yes, you should.

Wiki says – The Accountant is a 2016 American drama thriller film directed by Gavin O’Connor, written by Bill Dubuque and starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow. The film follows an autistic, small-town certified public accountant who makes his living uncooking the books of dangerous criminal organizations that are experiencing internal embezzlement.

Carol’s Movie 10/26/16

Race 2016 -Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.

Stars: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree
Director: Stephen Hopkins- Writers: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse

Carol Says – It is the story of Jesse Owens and how he came to be in the 1936 Olympics which was held in Germany. Hitler’s Germany. The story is compelling and after the movie, I looked up the facts to see if the movie followed the truth. Yes, it did. Fascinating. The other thing you need to do, after the movie, is look up in Wikipedia about his life after the Olympics. You wish these athletes the best, but his life was a bit hard. Heads up – the story in the movie about his friendship with a German athlete is true. The German athlete paid dearly for becoming Jesse’s friend.

Which brings me to “Real Sports” on HBO. The same situation happened in the 1968 Olympics when an Austrailian, Avery Bundage, stood on the polium with John Carlos and Tommy Smith’s, who protested Apartheid and racial inequality. If you have HBO, be sure to see this segment. He also paid dearly for standing with them while wearing a badge for human rights.

Back to the movie “Race” – while it is 2 hrs long, it goes by very, very quickly.

Carol’s Movie Too 9/28/16

poster227x227After a long and explosive life in munitions, involving a number of the seminal moments and phenomena of the 20th century, including the Spanish Civil War, the Atomic Bomb, and Cold War espionage, Allan Karlsson finds himself – on his 100th birthday – stuck in a tranquil Swedish nursing home. Determined to escape the monotony, he hops out a window and kicks off a hilarious and unexpected comic-adventure by way of a stolen briefcase, a roughneck biker gang, and an escaped circus elephant named Sonya. Adapted from the runaway international best-seller, THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED is a charming, globe-trotting riff on world history and the highest-grossing Swedish film

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