Friday, March 09, 2007

Random thoughts...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the sight of an Eagles *baseball* jersey left me with a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Well, that's not the only clothing-induced "what's wrong with this picture?" moment that I've experienced. Have you seen little preschool girls in shades-of-pink, camouflage-pattern parkas? I have. I'm still trying to decipher that particular fashion statement.

I've noticed that the trees are starting to go into "yawn and stretch" mode. The tiny little leaf buds that have sat on the branches all winter, barely noticeable, have noticeably increased in size. It shouldn't be long before we start to see them open up into leaves. Hallelujah, I'm looking forward to it. Spring can't get here soon enough, especially after the nasty cold snap we've had over most of the past few weeks.

I've seen several red-tailed hawks over the past few weeks. To my surprise, one of them was perched on a streetlight at 16th and Oregon in South Philly. If you haven't seen that intersection, trust me: it's about as citified as you can get. (Karla: remember that spot where, every time I had to make a right-hand turn from Oregon Avenue onto 16th Street, it seemed like some knucklehead or other was double-parked in the right-hand lane and I had to go around him? THAT intersection.) I couldn't have been more surprised at thee sight of a hawk landing on that streetlight. But I think it's a good thing if they're starting to increase their range and populate more of the city. That should help keep the numbers of other birds, including pigeons, in check.

It's much less surprising when I spot a red-tailed hawk out where I work. The landscape is so much more wide-open and it just LOOKS like a more natural habitat for a hawk. But while I was waiting for the train a couple of evenings ago, I saw something I've never witnessed before: there was a hawk actually hunting, right over the train station. The first thing I saw was the hawk fly overhead. He went out of my line of sight when he flew right above the train station, and I figured he'd just keep going in whatever direction he was headed. Smaller birds were upset at the sight of the hawk, and started heading in the opposite direction as quickly as their wings could carry them.

Suddenly, I saw three little sparrows flying in a bunch, full-speed ahead. To my surprise, a few yards behind them was the hawk, who apparently had circled back toward the train station. I wasn't sure if the hawk was actually trailing the three little guys until they started to take evasive action. Everywhere they turned, the hawk followed. Some of this drama took place above the train station, so I couldn't watch them constantly, but I wondered if I was going to actually witness a hawk catching its dinner.

I didn't. After a couple of minutes' worth of chasing, the hawk apparently gave up and flew away, in the direction of the various office buildings in the area. Maybe a minute later, I saw the three little sparrows flying together, heading nowhere near the direction that the hawk had gone. I thought, "If birds have nine lives, those little guys are all down to eight lives apiece."

In other news, we finally had to take my car to the mechanic, because the "refusal to start on the first try" and the "stalling at inopportune moments" became a major issue. I'm lucky that there's minimal traffic early in the morning on Broad Street, because on Friday, the car stalled as soon as I made the turn onto Broad Street. Had that happened during rush hour, I'd have been lucky to avoid being hit by another vehicle. So Mark retrieved the car from the Spectrum parking lot and drove it to the mechanic on Friday evening. The problem turned out to be twofold. First, it desperately needed a tune-up, which it got. Second, the spark plug wires and the distributor cap were all original equipment. Uh, yeah, I'd say that 18 years of faithful service from those particular car parts is more than plenty. The wires and cap were replaced, and now All Is Well. That's a relief.

OK, lunchtime's nearly over. Time to hit "send" on this post.

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