Friday, June 10, 2005


I really like National Public Radio. Really.

There was a great story on Morning Edition about a new Bach aria discovered in the archives of a German library. Listening to the aria, I thought to myself, "This isn't so great--stuff from, say, the St. Matthew Passion, is a lot more interesting and tightly woven." But then I realized that he probably wrote it in about 10 minutes (it possibly only took as long to write it as it took him to physically put it on paper). So that means it's pretty good, I guess.

Here in Chapel Hill, WCHL broadcasts The O'Franken Factor (officially its name was changed to the Al Franken Show, but I like the old name better) weekday afternoons. I initially thought I wouldn't like listening to commercial radio (and its eponymous commercials)--and I don't--but it is a great show, and better, at times, than The State of Things and Talk of the Nation.

I find that the best thing it does is expose the many lies, distortions, and other misrepresentations put forth on a constant basis by conservatives and Republicans. Even if it does cut to ads every couple minutes.

In other news, the squirrels finally got to our bird feeder, and we found it on the ground below, having been lifted from where it was suspended. How they did that, we still don't know.

Ah, squirrels and Republicans.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Ferocious squirrels

So for Mother's Day this year, my dad and brother got my mom a birdfeeder to hang over the back deck. They mounted it on a piece of wood angled out from the porch to discourage squirrels from getting to the birdseed.

But a few resourceful squirrels have done their best to confound us and get to that birdseed, and they've managed to do some impressive damage to the feeder.

First, they've chewed away at the plastic dish that serves as the lid to keep the squirrels away from the birdseed. Not all that impressive, until you see the size of the hole and realize that there is really no good way to get themselves there except by hanging over precariously.

Perhaps more perplexingly--and certainly more bizarrely--is the fact that the squirrels have gotten through, on the other side of the dome, and chewed down the edges of the top level of the main cylinder of the feeder. Because the whole lower part of the feeding apparatus is suspended from there, we decided to reinforce it with duct tape and some wire. But in the week since we put it up, they've chewed even the duct tape away! (Though it must be said that they're making little inroads against the steel wire.) To do this, though, they must literally bend over backwards above a 15 foot drop, with no obvious place to attach themselves. This is really weird.

Pictures are below. You've got to see it to believe it.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

The birdfeeder, suspended from our deck


A monster hole chewed away in the otherwise-round anti-squirrel lid to the birdfeeder


Duct tape on the lid, mercilessly chewed away by eager squirrels


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