Thursday, December 29, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Shoebill has been called many different names over the years, including Whale-headed stork, abu markub (Arabic, father of the shoe), and Schuhschnabel (German). The bill which is its namesake is about 9 inches by 4 inches with a hook on the end to help kill its prey. Although it feeds primarily on lungfish, it has also been known to eat a variety of lizards and mammals.
Their feeding spots change over time. The Shoebill is native to papyrus swamps of the interior of central Africa, ranging from southern Sudan to northern Zambia. It is most often seen in Uganda. Although they are mostly likely to be spotted in pairs, they sometime range as vagrants or flocks. The Shoebill is listed as "Of Special Concern" in the African Red Book.
African Bird Club
Bird Families of the World
Friday, December 23, 2005
I'm still working my way through the thousands of photos I took at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park last month. Today, I processed the meerkat photos. There was one older meerkat that kept a general watch. There were also two very cute baby meerkats in the display. One was eager to gain dominance and defend his territory. Even hissing, he was still very cute. I also caught one in a pose that makes him look like he's praying.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Yesterday, I visited the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch with my Dad on the way to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It is one of my favorite stops between Tucson and Phoenix. I had heard unsettling rumors that the ranch may be shutting down and asked them about it when I was there. Recently, a new horse ranch moved in next door to the ostrich ranch. One day, the new ranch allowed a hot air balloon to take off from their land. It scared the ostriches into a stampede. The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch lost 1000 of 1600 ostriches, miles of fencing and millions of dollars in contracts. The new ranch's insurance comany was unwilling to pay for damages, so they sued the new ranch, but lost in court on the argument that the balloon took off safely. The verdict is under appeal. I hope that the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch ultimately wins or is able to come to an agreement over the damages and future use of neighboring land. They have been a fixture in the community for many years and a pleasant diversion. It would be a great shame to lose them.
Monday, December 12, 2005
As the name implies, Fleming's is best known for it's steak and wine, but they also have excellent appetizers, salads, soup and desert. Everything at Fleming's is a la carte. It's hard to go wrong ordering at Fleming's, except for the price. Although you can get out cheaper, expect to spend at least $75 per person, not including wine to avoid sticker shock. However for the gourmet, the price is worth every bite. We hadn't found a better steakhouse in the Phoenix area since Bistecca went out of business in Scottsdale.
The food at Fleming's is delicious. The dining experience starts with a complimentary relish tray which includes celery, radishes, bread chips and two types of cheeses, a goat chease and chedar cheese each blended with a different wine. As appetizers, Jim and my Dad had the seafood chowder, which Jim orders every time, while I had an appetizer special, Dungeness Crab Cocktail. My favorite appetizer at Fleming's is the Seafood Stack. They had taken it off the menu, but it has reappeared. It's pricy, starting at $45 to serve 2, but I'll probably order it if we go back to Fleming's for my birthday. This night, we all ordered the Porterhouse special for our entrees. Jim usually has the bone-in ribeye and I often have the filet mignon. All of their steaks are prime and grilled with salt and pepper. You can choose a side of sauce to go with your steak if you'd like. I had Bernaise and Jim had Madiera sauce this evening. We also chose a selection of sides to complement our dinner, creamed spinach, chipotle macaroni and cheese, and shoestring fries. For desert, we all shared a lava cake, chocolate with melted chocolate in the middle, which takes about 20 minutes to make. The lava cake at Fleming's is tasty and comparable to similar deserts that I have had at other upscale restaurants. Fleming's also generally has a selection of ice cream that they make in house. Last time, I loved the coconut ice cream. Also, the deserts are delicious, but the fresh whipped cream is so good, I'd order just that. With the family sized side and large meat portions, we had plenty of leftovers. I finished the other half of my steak and the chipotle macaroni and cheese for lunch the next day. I'm already looking forward to going back to Fleming's for my birthday. Yum!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
DSCN0249, originally uploaded by mandyMoore.
Following up on Flickr celebrity hunting, it's debatable whether Mandy Moore has an active Flickr account. There are at least two accounts on Flickr that claim to be Mandy Moore, mandyMoore and TheREALMandyMoore. The former has a few photos posted with comments and is linked with mandymoore.com. Every photo has a comment left by TheREALMandyMoore claiming that mandymooremusic.com is her only official site and to listen to a message on the site. On that site, there are two recordings. The 2/14/05 recording does complain about others claiming to be her on the Internet, but doesn't specifically mention Flickr. TheREALMandyMoore has no photos posted, only a profile and link to her web site. What makes me believe TheREALMandyMoore is that mandyMoore has only posted a few photos which all include Mandy Moore. This is not an avenue for self expression like most Flickr accounts, including Frank Smith and Rosie O'Donnell. Most people appear in their own photostream occasionally, not in every photo. The photos on Flickr are likely to have been harvested from other sources, but I don't know enough about Mandy Moore to be certain.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
dinner, originally uploaded by mingchen.
Apparently, Rosie O'Donnell isn't the only celebrity sharing their life on Flickr. With a minimum of searching, I found what is reputed to be Frank Smith's Flickr account. As an actor, Frank Smith is best known for his screenwriting and portayals of Silent Bob. He has directed and produced a significant number of films, including Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting. More information on his film career can be found on IMDB. He also has a blog, My Boring Ass Life.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
v n me, originally uploaded by Rosie O'Donnell.
I'm not usually a celebrity watcher, but I couldn't resist adding Rosie O'Donnell of comedic and television fame to my contacts list on Flickr when I saw her photos passing through the "Everyone's photos" section of the Flickr home page a few weeks ago. At first I was dubious, but the continuing stream of family, friends and business photos featuring Rosie O'Donnell and her family convinced me that this is indeed Rosie O'Donnell's account. Whether you're a Flickr addict or just curious about Rosie O'Donnell, you too can peruse her public family photos. Oddly, you won't be able to view her profile because it is private, but her photostream is public.