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shrike and marital matters [Jun. 29th, 2015|08:54 pm]
Sunday I took Beatrice for a morning walk in which she enjoyed seeing (but not being able to reach) rabbits and a squirrel. I went to Weight Watchers at 9:30 a.m., where my weight was up two tenths of a pound. My effort to track food carefully has worked out well, as I expanded the list of things I eat without expanding my waist line. At 10:30 a.m., I went to Living Life Church, a satellite church of First UMC that emphasizes a casual, pop-song worship experience.
The minister, a good guy, came up to say hi and had noticed on social media that I like bird watching. His mom was a bird watcher, and he explained trying to get his kids to love birds.

Near the outset of the service, he explained how the United States Supreme Court ruling does not mean the church will conduct weddings with same sex participants yet. The matter will have to go before the next General Assembly. I prefer the Unitarian Universalists on this point, who have advocated for same-sex marital rights for years. The minister took a particularly appropriate tone about the whole thing. He surprised me a bit by explaining that his brother was in a same-sex marriage, and challenging everyone to respect and dialogue, no matter one's position. Then he preached the Prodigal Son parable, and talked about the concept of grace. I liked his approach. I liked less that the service ran 90 minutes instead of 60. But sometimes you have to give an extra half an hour when a fellow's heart is in the right place.

I went for lunch at Subway sandwich. Then I went for a walk at Harold Bacchus Community Park.
I found that this ballfield park now links up with the Taychas Trail, which I usually hike from the other end, at Limestone Quarry Park. This means that I could bring a bicycle and have a good, long ride. I listed the birds I saw, and thought I was not seeing anything new for my eBird list. Then I saw a Eurasian Collared Dove, a common bird but one missing from my list. That made me happy. I wish I had seen the Painted Bunting whose song I heard, but I count blessings rather than buntings lost.

I stopped by to see my brother. I presented him with a used copy of the CD "Uriah Heep Live, 1973", which I bought at Forever Young records the previous weekend. He had been a big Heep fan when he was a young teen, so I knew he would enjoy it. I had listed to it several times since I bought it, and enjoyed it. He was glad to get it. We walked together as he walked his dog Arnold, a charming Chihuahua mix. We talked of our upcoming vacations, and his wife's love for K-Pop.

In the late afternoon, I did organizing things, which always feels like accomplishing nothing to me but actually is quite useful. I will do more tonight. I spent the evening quietly.

Today I got a lot done at work. I took a walk at lunch at Heritage Park in Sachse, where I took a picture of a Loggerhead Shrike and of a Cottontail Rabbit. I picked up roasted chicken on the way home at Golden Chick, as my wife is studying for something work-connected. I took a walk on the Chisholm Trail and am now relaxing at home.

Our state attorney general issued a press release encouraged public officials to ignore a ruling of the highest court in the land regarding the right to marry. It was a sad thing.
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(no subject) [Jun. 27th, 2015|10:55 pm]
I walked Beatrice in the temperate morning air. She liked seeing rabbits at close hand. I spent the morning trying to install Puppy Linux on the hard drive of an ancient Pentium M laptop. Puppy Linux is great on USB sticks but I found it hard to install to an HDD. I finally just re-installed Porteus, which installs without issue. If I ever created GurdonarkOS, it would run on ancient equipment but have an easy to use installer.

As our upcoming vacation involves a place with different shaped electrical plugs, I want to take a second-string used laptop on that trip. I installed Linux Lite, an Xfce Ubuntu derivative to dual boot. I prefer PeppermintOS as it has the full Ubuntu Software Center. LinuxLite, aimed at newbies, has a much smaller one. Its base package set is, on the other hand, just ehat I like: Libre Office, Firefox, VLC and other good software.

I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. I liked the sun-bathing turtle by a tiny dam. In the afternoon I watched womens' soccer on television. Tonight I heard a cloudcsst by vuzh of releases on netlabels. Now I intend to read a novel.
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week of sweeping change [Jun. 26th, 2015|10:18 pm]
The week brought major United States Supreme Court decisions , perhaps the most decisively important decisions since Bush v. Gore. The decision upholding the Affordable Care Act from a challenge based on one section of the act impressed me, as Chief Justice Roberts put aside partisanship and engaged in standard statutory construction. The decision that fair housing cases may be proven through disparate impact rather than merely disparate treatment made that area of the law a bit clearer. The decision finding a constitutional right to marriage equality completes a progression in the law begun years ago. I read diatribes grumbling about the justices similar to those issued when the 1960s United States Supreme Court took steps to implement its decision on school desegregation. Then folks quoted scripture to argue that it was pre-ordained that racial segregation be enshrined as an institution. Now folks quote scripture to argue that roughly ten percent of the population should be denied the right to a civil marriage. I personally look to the Good Samaritan and the Golden Rule for inspiration,and find in them nothing to require a denial of civil marriage to ten percent of the population.

When I was a teen, I thought a bit differently about how the laws should work on this point. Even in recent years, I thought perhaps civil union would avoid a lot of heated angst. But then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church went out of its way to spend money and effort (see this Mormon Newsroom piece) in California to pass Proposition 8. I like a lot of things about the LDS church, but extreme political activism to achieve a legislative end by referendum did not sit well with me. This extreme effort to deny a civil marriage seemed to me an imposition of religious values by legislative fiat. Then I came to favor marriage equality, rather than merely civil unions which grant equality in everything but name.

The decision this week was a close one, but reaffirmed one thing I believe about our Constitution. I believe that it is not mired in the attitudes and prejudices of the 18th and 19th Centuries, but instead lives and breathes and is interpreted by women and men who live in later times with later perspectives.

This morning I put Puppy Linux on a laptop via USB stick and got it working well. Tonight I tried to install it to the hard drive, and it did not take. But so it goes.

I saw cottontail rabbits lounging around. I ate dinner at Pollo Tropical. I am getting into non-ideal positions in my postal chess, but it is all fun. I love to learn.
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omitting the Purple Martins other than in the title [Jun. 25th, 2015|10:11 pm]
I found myself quite happy when the United States Supreme Court turned back a challenge to the Affordable Care Act today. At lunch I saw a Mississippi Kite flying overhead, a raptor with huge sparrow-like wings. I ate BBQ chicken breast for dinner. My sister and I had a useful chat this afternoon. I have things to do and things to get done. I have business travel upcoming to California and to Pennsylvania, as well as vacation coming up soon. On the other hand, I never heard the bells on Christmas Day.
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Pass Go [Jun. 24th, 2015|09:21 pm]
Yet another entrant joined the Republican presidential candidate field. They all fail to impress. Meanwhile the fast-track trade negotiation vote showed both parties are beholden to donors above all. I tend to favor trade deals but disfavor rushes to a result, particularly one which likely contains bad intellectual property terms.

I walked in Bob Woodruff Park where a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks wheeled in mid-air and issued their trademark cries.
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and I saw a blue jay in between [Jun. 23rd, 2015|10:41 pm]
Tonight I followed a productive work day with a productive evening of getting things slightly more organized. I want to keep at this pace for days on end. I fired up an old laptop tonight that I had replaced years ago. It was like time travel to the era 2006-2009. The fact that the computers then seemed so amazing with specs that are not amazing at all now reminds me how it is all about the pep talks we give ourselves (and bloated software which demands too much).
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Flag down and Dorothy Malone [Jun. 23rd, 2015|07:33 am]
I hope that South Carolina removes the Confederate flag from its display at one corner of its capitol. I heard a fellow from the Sons of the Confederacy complain that his "forbears fought and died" for that flag. I am a direct descendant of folks who fought for that flag, one fellow who fought for the Union, and one fellow who died a Confederate soldier. Yet it seems to me that the flag belongs in a museum rather than on a flagpole.

I thought I misplaced some keys yesterday but found I had just tucked them away the day before and forgotten them.

We watched Dorothy Malone in the Diana Barrymore biopic. My goodness. A sad story. I could not watch the last part.
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busy morning non-blues [Jun. 21st, 2015|08:23 pm]
At 6:30 a.m. I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. The overcast sky made everything dark for day break. I listened to a live Uriah Heep album from 1973 on CD. I took a video of a Snowy Egret foraging in shallow water. I stopped by Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco, where I took video of a lounging cottontail rabbit. I picked up bananas and light string cheese at Kroger, as well as peanut suet for the birds.

I went to the 9:30 a.m. Weight Watchers meeting, where I was down half a pound. Then I went to Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Plano for the morning service. The sermon was about new ways for fathers and sons to act. I ate lunch a Long John Silver's,where I had six pieces of shrimp, a corn cobbette and green beans, at a very workable Weight Watchers figure. I walked for a few moments in Celebration Park in Allen, where I saw immature American Robins foraging in large numbers.

My wife and I went to the Verizon store to sort out cell phone use on our upcoming vacation in July. I watched most of the first episode of Orphan Black. We ate a Mexican Chicken Bake for dinner.

The rain today was intermittent and kept things a bit cooler than is seasonal. All in all, it was a good first day of Summer.
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look up and before that [Jun. 19th, 2015|11:42 pm]
My wife and I ate dinner at Best Thai, where I had a great teriyaki chicken with brocolli and pineapple chunks. Prior to that, I walked for 90 minutes in Oak Point Park in Plano. I saw a Painted Bunting and also this Eastern Bluebird:

I walked on a slightly muddy little woodland trail called the Bobcat Trail, and seemingly had the whole trail to myself. So I thought, that is, until I looked up:

Before that, I worked one of those days in which I focused on complex and interesting problems, and typed on long documents. I dined on a turkey sandwich at lunch and read about Linux in a magazine.

Before that, I slept in by mistake, awaking at 8:45 a.m. I got to work at 9:30, when I like to arrive nearer 9:00 a.m. Before that, I woke very early and ate cereal and gave Beatrice her medicine and treat. Before that, I slept soundly. Before that, I was not tired at 12:30 a.m.
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contrasting woodpeckers [Jun. 18th, 2015|11:23 pm]
Acorn Woodpecker, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California 6 17 2015:

Downy Woodpecker, Breckinridge Park, Richardson, Texas, 6 18 2015

Tonight I went to the Garland Salvation Army to give free legal advice. The nice woman who runs the show asked me if I minded having a law student tag along. We interviewed the clients to assist with intake. Then I filled out her credit form, waxing about what a good job she had done.

This morning Beatrice and I walked together in the park.

We saw a Northern Mockingbird, Beatrice's friend Diva (whom Beatrice somewhat ignored while seeking affection from Diva's owners), and a blue sky. The news is filled with stories of a young domestic terrorist who mercilessly killed nine worshippers at an African-American church in South Carolina.

After a couple of inches of rain yesterday, today was a dry day. We have fresh grapes.
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