I’m thankful that I live in a country where change is possible, where Leadbelly can record a song like this when I was a child:

The Bourgeois Blues

Me and my wife went all over town
Everywhere we go people turned us down
Lord, in a bourgeois town
It’s a bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around

Well, me and my wife we were standing upstairs
We heard the white man say’n I don’t want no niggers up there
Lord, in a bourgeois town
Uhm, bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around

Home of the brave, land of the free
I don’t wanna be mistreated by no bourgeoisie
Lord, in a bourgeois town
Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around

Well, them white folks in Washington they know how
To call a colored man a nigger just to see him bow
Lord, it’s a bourgeois town
Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around

I tell all the colored folks to listen to me
Don’t try to find you no home in Washington, DC
‘Cause it’s a bourgeois town
Uhm, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around


Barack Obama

can be elected President.

Snow Geese

Monday’s trip also netted me a first, at least for photos. Though I’ve seen large flocks of Snow Geese in Skagit County, I’ve never managed to get close enough to get a recognizable picture.

When I arrived at Nisqually, I was pleased to see what appeared to be a large flock of Snow Geese in the large field right out from the parking lot. Closer examination, though, revealed that the it was a flock of sea gulls. It wasn’t until I actually started my walk and got closer that I could see that there was two Snow Geese mixed in with the flock of sea gulls.

As you can see from this shot, they seemed to be eating grass in the muddier sections of the field.

Snow Geese In Distance

I sat around taking pictures for nearly twenty minutes, hoping that they would come closer, but they never did. Even when I returned nearly an hour and a half later, they were a long ways away. It wasn’t until I returned to the parking lot, ready to leave that I noticed that they were now eating right next to the sidewalk. Needless to say, I returned for close-ups and I was glad that I did.

Snow Goose

It wasn’t until I looked at the pictures on the computer, though, that I noticed the remarkable saw-toothed beak on this bird.

Snow Goose Beak


Monday’s trip to Nisqually was anything but spectacular, though it had its moments. One of those moments came just as I was returning to the visitor’s center.

I came around a corner and there was an American Bittern staring me right in the camera:

Close Up of American Bittern

I think I was even more startled than it was, but that’s hard to judge, especially considering that look on it’s eyes.

I do know that he froze in one spot, and I had a hard time getting far enough away from him on the narrow walkway to get a full-frame shot:

Head Shot of American Bittern

It ducked into a clump of bushes, and I couldn’t see it at all, though it was clear it was still there. I had to move around the corner and come back to get this shot,


actually the next ten shots, because they were all variations on this pose as he held it for at least ten minutes, time enough for me to point it out to another visitor to the refuge, one who had no idea what kind of bird it was.

What Fools We Be

Every time I think I’m becoming technologically literate experience teaches me otherwise. This weekend was certainly a point in case.

When I was unable to link pictures I’d uploaded to blog entries, I had no real idea what could be wrong, though I knew it had to be related to my ISP’s transferring my site since that was the only unknown variable.

That made me suspect that somehow the permissions had been changed in the process, perhaps because I’ve had permissions changed when I’ve had to move files. I discovered then that some programs automatically set permissions, though they didn’t bother to tell the user that unless he read the program’s fine print.

I became doubly convinced when I tried to use WordPress’ upload feature and got the message asking “Is its parent directory writable by the server?” Questions like that usually mean that permissions aren’t set to allow writing to a file.

With that mind set, I set out to check all the relevant permissions, and spent much of the day reading WordPress Codexes. When I checked with my FTP program, Transmit, I found that most of the permissions were correct, but there were a few that were different from what WordPress suggested they should be.

So I used Transmit to change all the ones to the recommended permissions. Nothing happened. I never managed to get a picture to appear in a blog entry no matter how hard I tried. I was totally frustrated, at one point questioning whether I really wanted to blog enough to put up with this kind of frustration.

Finally, I broke down and asked Shelley Powers, Burningbird, to look at my site and see if she could see where permissions were wrong. She managed to set up WordPress’ uploading function, and I could post pictures that way, though it took considerable editing since it posted pictures in different sizes than I usually use.

Finally she told me that she couldn’t see the photographs I was trying to post. They were clearly there, at least if I were to believe Transmit, my ftp program. I sent her a screenshot showing the files. It’s then that she realized that Transmit was the problem. Transmit was apparently working from the cache, or something, and files it showed as being on the server weren’t there at all. Either they were on a different file at my ISP, or THEY DIDN’T EXIST AT ALL, except in Transmit’s cache.

Shelley’s ftp program showed what was actually there because it didn’t have a cache of earlier versions of my files. In other words, it didn’t presume that certain things were there because they had been there before like my version of Transmit did.

I suspect that I could have spent another 100 to 200 hundred hours working on this problem and never discovered the cause. When a program you use regularly and trust tells you something that’s not true, it’s nearly impossible to recognize that unless someone with more expertise shows you the error of your ways.

I shudder to think how many other imaginary truths I may be operating from.