Texas dandelion in sun and shadow

With my weekdays now so full and hectic, I look forward with utter abandon to the weekends when I can enjoy a leisurely walk at the lake.  If an opportunity arises during the week, I grab it with vehemence, yet too often I simply don’t have time until Saturday or Sunday to enjoy a bit of nature and a healthy dose of unwinding.

So it was yesterday morning when I headed toward the water theater to enjoy an area less common to my ordinary travels.  Being there early meant I was able to enjoy a bit of what I miss most about taking such walks daily: the absence of people.

I traveled throughout the area surrounding the Bathhouse Cultural Center and water theater.  During my aimless wandering, I photographed a great many of the wildflowers that flourish there.  I’ll post more photos at a later date, but today I wanted to share a brilliant yellow resident called the Texas dandelion (Pyrrhopappus carolinianus).

I think its more common cousin (seen at the end of this post) is anything but mundane.  On the contrary, I find dandelions magnificent examples of exquisite simplicity.  Nevertheless, that flower’s Texas relation offers a very different yet equally attractive visage.

Seen below are two different flowers taken at different times during my walk.  The first is colored brightly with sunshine, a lighted paint generously covering all but a tiny section of its beautiful offering.  The second came earlier in the day when the sun had not yet lifted its head above the trees, when the world rested gently under blankets of shadow.  The lack of illumination did not keep this dazzling flora from giving its best performance.

A Texas dandelion (Pyrrhopappus carolinianus) colored brilliantly with sunshine (193_9324)
A Texas dandelion (Pyrrhopappus carolinianus) softly glowing in shadow (193_9322)

[I must admit the larger versions are magnificent, especially the original sizes which I’ve made available on one of those rare occasions when I felt as though I’d be taking something away from you if I didn’t show you what I myself had seen]

Cats are nice

“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
“Cats,” he said eventually. “Cats are nice.”

— Terry Pratchett

Vazra lying on the bedroom floor with sunlight flowing in from behind him


Open thread

Don’t miss Weekend Cat Blogging #98.  You can never have too many cats, eh?

Because Carnival of the Cats #162 has even more feline merriment.  Be sure to check it out.

Sniff around Carnival of the Dogs for plenty of canine fun and news.

Also for the canine enthusiasts out there, Weekend Dog Blogging #83 offers even more pooch pleasure.

The pet food recall has expanded by several new brands and products.  See the FDA’s pet food recall page for more details.  It also includes some rather disconcerting news about how much of the tainted product has entered the human food supply and what little the government is actually going to do about it.  Basically: We’re on our own with this one.  Meanwhile, the whole thing continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the danger to animals is not yet over, the danger to people is only just beginning to come to light, and we’re quickly learning how uncaring and uninvolved our various government agencies are and want to be.  Pathetic.

On the same token, this article sheds even more light on how dangerous the situation is and why we should all be very worried about how much of these contaminants have already made it into our own food supply—let alone how much continues to enter without anyone paying attention or caring.

On a different note, fly over and check out Birds in the News 81 (v3n8) for a vast swathe of avian information from around the globe.

Day of blog silence

I want to express my heartfelt disgust and disappointment with today’s “One Day Blog Silence in honor of the victims at Virginia Tech.”

Before I say why, let me first admit I hold no ill will toward those participating.  I believe they’ve done so out of an abundance of heartfelt compassion and respect.


Unless I missed it, we didn’t do any such thing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina or Rita, for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Indonesian tsunami, for the thousands who’ve already died and the great many who die each and every day fighting overseas in the name of protecting America (even if they’ve been sent to die in one illegal war and another that’s been wrongfully ignored in favor of politics), for the victims of genocide in Darfur, for the victims of the Amish school massacre, or for any number of mass deaths which have taken place recently—or continue to take place around the globe.

Yet somehow fewer than three dozen college kids in a repressive and intolerant state deserve what none of these other people deserve?

Give me a break.  That’s so offensive as to make me puke.

But again let me say I do not doubt the intentions of those participating in today’s hushed blogosphere activity.  They do so with the best intentions conceivable.  Likewise, they’ve been misled into thinking it appropriate to mark this day while ignoring so many others.

To those who organized this event: You have shown tremendous selfishness by goading others into demonstrating a tactless disrespect for the nearly quarter of a million people just from the examples I cited above… and all for thirty-something lives cut short in an abhorrent act of violence.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

To those who participated in this event: I’m sorry you were tricked or dragged into this vile episode.  Many like me appreciate the sentiment you silently voiced today.  Nevertheless, it seems insulting at best to many others who apparently didn’t deserve any sign of respect or camaraderie.  Perhaps next time you can look deeper and touch more.