Creek Jots ~ 2010-05-18

Rain-drenched black vulture drying its wings

☼ This buzzard probably weighed a few extra pounds from all the rain it soaked up Saturday night. His silhouette made for an eerie sight, perched atop the dead hemlock–carrion feeder sunning from a remnant skeleton tree whose demise was the result of an alien invasion of tiny tufts of white death.

☼ This Saturday, Barnes and Noble-Christiansburg at 7:00–I’ll be reading and signing books, the topic of focus is a 40 year retrospective: first wife, first camera and a snake in a box, all from June 1970. Looking forward to seeing a few of you there. Come for the latte; stay for the lit talk.

☼ I’ve mentioned we were down to two hens. So we asked our neighbors who supplied the hens back last fall for replacements. Turns out, not a few of theirs have been mysteriously dying like our one did. Another acquaintance of theirs whose birds are also dying took their dead hens to Virginia Tech’s Animal Science labs to determine cause of death. They can’t figure it out. So we’ll hold off a while on replenishing the lost livestock. And wash our hands well when handling anything to do with the birds.

☼ Why the alarming increase in ADHD (a diagnosis unheard of in my childhood years)? A recent study “dealt with one common type of pesticide called organophosphates. Levels of six pesticide compounds were measured. For the most frequent compound detected, 20 percent of the children with above-average levels had ADHD. In children with no detectable amount in their urine, 10 percent had ADHD.” Almost 100 percent of children tested had at least some pesticide in their blood. Evidence mounts (to no one’s great surprise) that we have been too cavalier in banning or at least monitoring carefully the man-made broad-spectrum products designed to kill weeds, insects, mold and bacteria.

☼ My son recently had an episode of back pain and  I was looking for some good, illustrated back, hip and abdominal exercises to refer him to. Go to the EXERCISES tab at this page, and be sure and also read the “exercise guidelines” before starting a new program of strengthening, flexibility or endurance exercises.

☼ This creeps me out: Satellites will issue speeding tickets from space. “The system – called “SpeedSpike” – figures your average speed between two points, captures an image of your license plate and reports you if you’re going faster than the law allows. And after your third violation, a drone missile flies in your car window, extracts your license from your billfold, and takes your keys.

☼ If you’re a vegetarian for “humanitarian reasons” a solution is at hand: pigs bred to feel no pain. They don’t suffer wading around knee deep in their own waste, so you are guilt-free to eat all the meat you want, as there are no other arguments for eating lower on the food chain. Duh! Who comes up with these “solutions”? What must their ethical framework be like? It brings to mind what was once called the “corps of engineers mentality”: if it CAN be done, it SHOULD be done.  Related: Industrial environmentalism vs. holistic environmentalism

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Very nice image of the vulture drying its wings!

    Is this for real about satellite imagery used as an aid to issue speeding tickets? People are starving throughout the world, the Gulf of Mexico is awash in crude oil, the planet is heating up and this is how our taxes are being spent. Outraged!

  2. Yep, this satellite surveillance seems to be legit–except for the drone silliness, which is my own invention. Mankind does seem to have a death-wish indifference by virtue of which he will be fiddling while Rome burns.