Wednesday, January 25, 2012
THIS 'N' THAT
You will have noticed that I haven’t been carrying on about “The Rock” lately. That's because it is still sitting patiently, waiting for the stars to align so it can begin its 100+ mile journey from here (Glen Avon quarry) to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Blvd. Now the scuttlebutt we hear is that CalTrans has changed their mind and now says the Country Village overpass above the 60 Freeway cannot support that weight (a 370 ton rock and a 200 foot long transporter equipped with almost 200 tires). Its first scheduled date for making the trek to Los Angeles was August of 2010. Its most recent date is set for sometime the first week in February 2012; whether it will ever make it to LA is anybody’s guess.
In yesterday’s newspaper a small article noted that Pepperdine University in Malibu once again has blocked a request for the formation of a GLBT group on campus, saying that GLBT’s mission is not compatible with the stated Christian values of the private university. A petition signed by some 4,000 students – more than half of the student body – was turned down for the fourth time. Now I attended the first iteration of that college back in the early ‘50s, then called George Pepperdine College. It only had 900 students. The founder was still living and was often a visitor on the campus. Students all understood it was a Christian college and were familiar with the religious emphasis placed on our activities, but even at that time there was tacit approval by many of the teaching staff to get around some of the “shall nots” that the religious denomination required. And there were plenty of gays and lesbians at the college then. It was no secret, but they were our friends and we didn’t give it another thought.
That was then, and these students are now, a braver and more open now. I am watching with interest to see this play out, but recognizing that if the university is truly privately owned and run by a religious denomination, the rules and regulations are set by that denomination and not by law, according to the latest ruling of the Supreme Court.
The large apartment complex where Jer and I live has lots of acreage and an abundance of trees. As novice birders, we wonder how it is that we don’t see more birds than the hummingbirds at our feeder, our resident phoebe, the sparrows and house finch in the spring and of course, Archie Grosbeak who comes yearly to produce his offspring and stay until they’ve fledged. Everybody here sees those birds; where are all the other birds I should be seeing?
Oh, there are crows, too. Mighty hordes of large, noisy crows making a nuisance of themselves by sitting 50 or so to a tree and cawing at each other all day long. I hate crows, because they eat other birds’ babies. (So do cowbirds and I hate them too.) However, a friend of mine suggested that perhaps they weren’t crows but ravens, since I described them as being huge birds. I looked in my bird book specific to this area (Backyard Birds of the Inland Empire) and it showed me the difference between crows and ravens. But discerning that difference depends on several things that are hard to see from a distance: their size, the shape of their tail, and how much they soar when they are in the air (ravens soar more than crows.) However, I think there is only one definitive identification: mine are crows because none say “NEVERMORE,” only “caw.”