Believe It Or Not!
August 18, 2004 I just returned from my vacation to South Dakota, the highlight of which actually appeared in last Thursday's Sioux Falls Argus Leader. If you're not a golfer, you should know that a double eagle is even more rare than a hole in one, nearly all of which are on par 3 holes and hence just single eagles. "Perfect!" I exclaimed, as the ball I hit sailed toward its improbable destiny. Perfect indeed. Never even having scored a "single" eagle before, I was utterly stupefied as I approached the green and found the ball in the cup. I saw my name in the newspaper two days later, and wouldn't you know it, the greatest athletic feat in my lifetime gets misreported! I called the Argus Leader to request a correction, but apparently such minor stories aren't deemed worth it. Oh well... At any rate, I was lucky to be playing that day with my father and two brothers, both of whom scored birdies on that same hole. I'm not big on luck and superstition, but there must be some cosmic significance behind that once-in-a-lifetime event.
Unlike our brief rain-curtailed jaunt to NYC last month, this time my intricately scheduled baseball itinerary worked flawlessly: while heading west I saw a game in Detroit (Rangers 2, Tigers 1), and on the way back saw one in Cincinnati (Padres 7, Reds 2). So much for home field advantage! That first game put Texas into first place in the AL West, and they are still neck and neck with the A's. San Diego overtook the Cubs in the NL Wild Card race, though [San Francisco now holds that lead]. Given that the total scores in the three games I've seen this year have risen in perfect geometric progression (1, 3, 9), I would expect the total score in the next game I see to be 27. Stay tuned for updates to three stadium pages, complete with photos, in the near future. (Yes, venerable old Tiger Stadium is still standing.)
In terms of birding, the highlight of my trip was seeing ten juvenile ospreys that have been relocated from Idaho to the banks of the Missouri River by Wildlife Experiences, a private non-profit organization dedicated to conservation. While at the Clay County Park site I also saw a couple bald eagles flying high, plus a variety of songbirds. Stay tuned for photos of the ospreys, as well as a common yellowthroat, red-headed woodpecker, sedge wren, marsh wren, cedar waxwing, and others, along with a more complete list. Also, my brother John is headed to the Great Northwest for yet another birding adventure, which will no doubt yield another super batch of photos.
Thanks to Phil Faranda for the link to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of former sailors who served with John Kerry in the Vietnam War. Why didn't more of those Navy vets speak out before? If what they are saying is true, Kerry will have been exposed as a complete fraud, and the whole "chicken hawk" line of criticism toward President Bush collapses. If not, it shouldn't be hard for Kerry to rebut them and lay the issue to rest, in which case his election would become a near certainty. I'm not surprised by the escalating tit-for-tat negative ads by organizations that are not affiliated with the official presidential campaigns, given that the Democrats have turned this election into a virtual holy war, but such a high-stakes challenge is unusual. Hang on, folks, it's going to be a rough ride for the next two and a half months!
In Venezuela, President-for-Life Hugo Chavez won the recall referendum by a 58% to 42% margin, and the results have been acknowledged as legitimate by the United States and international observers. While not unexpected, the referendum signifies yet another setback for the cause of freedom in the Third World. It may simply be that the uncommitted segment of the Venezuelan population was more afraid of what might happen if Chavez had lost the referendum and decided to stay in office anyway. Civil war would have erupted, most likely, shutting down one of our biggest sources of crude oil.