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Yellowstone’s Winter Wildlife January 22, 2012

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Photography, Travel, wildlife.
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Yellowstone National Park is spectacular anytime of the year but especially stunning in the winter. The crowds are gone and the wildlife and landscape are a snowy sensation.  Here is Part One of my photo montage/homage to Yellowstone’s winter wildlife.  For reference, the photos include the ever present bison (who have the right of way on the roads), pronghorn, big horn sheep, Barrow’s goldeneye ducks, a Dipper bird, Trumpeter swans and elk.

A New York State of Mind February 28, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Links, Politics, Travel, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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It is a tossup between the massive snow storm (hey, it is WINTER) that fell on New York and the devastating earthquake in Chile (hey, Chile is located on a major Fault line) but I noticed that our coifed and silly local news stations did not get around to announcing that our two year Governor, David Paterson, has ended his campaign for another term.  In fact, it was 16 minutes after the hour that this big story was featured on the telly.  Is another snow storm in winter that BIG a deal that our Governor’s quitting the race was not first in the TV evening news line up?

–  The state of our State is in a shambles.  The impotent ass-wipes in Albany have until the end of March to come up with a budget. Raise your hand if you think that is going to go smoothly.  Our Lt. Governor, Richard Ravitch, who was appointed by Paterson, may just wind up in the Governor’s seat if Paterson’s incompetency goes any deeper and the investigation into his shenanigans with the State Police uncovers more corruption.

–  Our clever and coy Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo (I refer to him as the Guv in Waiting) is still stalling for that perfect moment when he decides to throw his hat in the ring.  Of course, he is now in charge of investigating Paterson and the State Police.

–  How many out there miss Eliot Spitzer? Sigh.

–  Of course, we also have Charlie Rangel who continues to wield his Chairman’s gavel in an unrepentant fashion.   Do not forget about Harold Ford, Jr, who is also dicking around with the idea of running for the uber-protected Kirsten Gillibrand‘s seat.  Oh Hillary, where hath you gone?

This is how I visualize the New York Gang in Albany – slowly screwing all of us:

For a sweet change, take a look at some fabulous faces from my recent visit to the Miami Metrozoo.

Vacation Mode February 17, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Travel, Videos, wildlife.
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It is that time again. Time to take Benny the dog to his Godmother’s house for the week.  Time to get my own place ready for the best house-cat sitter in the world.  Time to pack the camera gear and go through the same pre-travel routine.  What to wear on the plane?  What to pack?  Do I have enough maps, addresses, chargers, batteries, memory cards – you know the drill. Sigh.  Those National Parks are calling our names.  Be back in a week unless something like this happens along the way. Ouch!

A whole lot of shakin’ going on January 10, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Travel, wildlife, Zoos.
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It’s always something.  We are visiting family on the left coast.  While watching the movie ‘Up’ with the kids last night, unbeknownst to us there was a 6.5 earthquake in northern California.  Ignorance is bliss, I say.  We felt nothing and enjoyed lots of laughs while a bit north of here there was a whole lot of shakin’ going on.

I lived in Southern California in the late 70’s and remember my first earthquake.  We were visiting with cousins, who lived near Pasadena, on New Year’s Day (hi Judy and Steve).  At the time, they lived in one of those houses on stilts on a hillside.  Yes, we were partying and yes, we were not entirely sober.  When the shakin’ and the movin’ started – all I can tell you was that I scared to death.  Do you get used to earthquakes?  I lived in California for seven years and was never comfortable with the idea.  Living in NYC seems much safer.  Yes, that sounds odd, but to me, it feels all warm and fuzzy.

I took the above photo yesterday at the San Francisco Zoo. It cracks me up every time I look at it.

Throwing in the Towel and Getting Out of Town January 6, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Links, Photography, Politics, Travel, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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It is that time of year when your Congressperson or Senator looks at the numbers, looks at the competition, looks at the back account and decides whether it is time to mount another race or throw in the towel.

Chris Dodd decided to throw in the towel and is not seeking re-election in 2010.  He was facing a tough race in 2010 and would have most likely lost.  Unlike other Connecticut politicians – that would be YOU, Joe Loserman, he has the  grace to know when to step down. The New York Times has an easy to view time line of Dodd’s interesting and at times juicy gossip career (including a time when he was in-between marriages and dated such celebrities as Bianca Jagger and Carrie Fisher). The good news is that attorney general Richard Blumenthal, a democrat, will probably run and is very popular.

Sadly, the same can not be said for North Dakota, as Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat, is also stepping down.  There is not a chance in hell that the Dems will retain this seat.  If the Democrats want to have that 60 seat vote on any other major legislation they had better get cracking because it is sure to be gone in 2010.  FYI – Senator  Dorgan’s surprise announcement came as news to his own staff whom he informed — via email — just 15 minutes before releasing a public statement announcing that he wouldn’t seek reelection.

In another Senate race it looks like Scott Brown, a Republican, is just nine points behind Martha Coakley, a Democrat,  in the Massachusetts Senate fight for 2010. How strange would it be if Ted Kennedy’s seat fell to a Repugnant?  Talk about turning over in one’s grave.

–  Getting out of town – that would be me.  I am off to the Left Coast for a short while.  I will get to see first hand how things have changed at the airports since the Christmas Day botched attempt by that 23 year old wacko. I always get an aisle seat – but, as you know, the airlines are crazy these days and this could happen to me.

March of the Senators:

Travel Travails December 28, 2009

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Politics, Travel, Videos.
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Raise your hand if you know how much I hate to fly?  This grumpy old woman who complains to all who will listen, travels a lot, considering how much I hate to fly.  I have two trips coming up – one in January and one in February.  Thankfully, both trips are within the continental US so I do not have to suffer the new indignities of flying abroad.  Not only is the dollar worth crapola these days, you also are now being made to suffer more while experiencing travel to foreign lands because of the nut job who tried to blow up a plane as it landed in Detroit on Christmas Day. He ended up being tackled and probably now is suffering from a severe case of fried testicles.

The overlords who figure out how to impose new indignities on travelers have now tightened rules.  Apparently you are not allowed to get out of your seats within an hour of landing.  How dumb is that?  Do they think if some whack job is going to blow up a plane he is only going to blow it up an hour before landing?  The overlords do not want you to have anything to do for an hour before landing.

Other tightened security measures include: ‘Extra pat-downs before boarding. No getting up for the last hour of the flight. More bomb-sniffing dogs.  Air Canada also said that during the last hour passengers won’t be allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps. The official said passengers travelling internationally could see increased screening at gates and when they check bags, as well as other measures on flights such as stowing carryons and personal items before the plane lands. Passengers on a flight from New York to Tampa on Saturday morning were told they must remain in their seats and couldn’t have items in their laps, including laptops and pillows. Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Washington were not allowed to have anything on their laps during the descent into Dulles, or to open the overhead bins an hour before landing’.

But what really pissed me off was when I heard that you could no longer watch the little map that showed your flight progress.  The little map is my favorite thing about flying.  It occupies this restless mind through the numbing experience of flight.  I study geography with the little map.  I think about my experiences visiting the places we are flying over.  The little map actually calms my nerves.  The overlords think that getting rid of the little map will confuse the whack job would be bomber because he will not know where he is – so therefore will not blow up the plane?  (A big sigh can heard from Lobo).

Nate Silver from fivethirtyeightcom did a little math on the probability of your plane being blown up. Very interesting reading.’There have been precisely three attempts over the last eight years to commit acts of terrorism aboard commercial aircraft. All of them clownishly inept and easily thwarted by the passengers. How many tens of thousands of flights have been incident free?’

How about we all calm down and figure out how to make that ‘watch’ list more effective and the ‘no fly’ list more accurate? Just sayin…

On the road again… November 4, 2009

Posted by judylobo in Photography, Travel, Videos.
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where toWhere are you going this time, Mom?  That’s what my dog Benny and cat Madison seem to be saying as they look at me with that ‘doesn’t this make you feel guilty’ look again.

Raise your hand if beach vacations are on the top of your list?  Hmm – I see lots and lots of hands.  I too, used to long for an empty beach, a good book and a drink with an umbrella in it.  So, what happened to that fun in the sun babe?  I am guessin’ the ravages of time and tide have altered my longing to be seen on a beach. Anyhow – I am off for a week – for a fine beach vacation with good friends.  Now where did I put that old lady bathing suit?
I am not taking my computer.  My goal is to not listen to much of the post-election poppycock and blathering.  I plan to unplug, de-rant, enjoy my good buddies and maybe even use their boogie board again. Gasp.

So I once again will suffer the indignities of being poked, sniffed and prodded at airports, gag at the awful smells and be forced to breathe the foul air on the plane and generally try to steer clear of anyone who is coughing, sneezing or wheezing. Alas, no matter how many times I leave for an airport the same nagging questions come to mind.

–  Is the dog sitter available?  –  Is the cat sitter available?  –  Should I pay my bills before I go away or wait until I come home? – Did I stop the newspaper from being delivered?  –  What book should I take?  What if I don’t like the one book I brought?  – Should I leave my windows open? –  How much cash should I take?  –  Did I forget my passport?  (you now need a passport to go to the Virgin Islands) –  What time should I call to have the car service pick me up?  –  Is the weather going to be good for the flight?  –  Will there be turbulence?  –  Will we make the connecting flight?  – What about swine flu?  –  Will some rat bastard diseased carrier be sitting next to me on the flight?  –  How many pairs of socks should I take?  – Underwear?  –  Will everything fit in my carry-on luggage? –  Do I need a winter coat for when I come home? – Did I pack my Xanax? –   Should I set an alarm clock?  I never need an alarm clock but I always set one before a trip.  I do not even know if the alarm clock works.  I am always up before it goes off.  Now I have to worry about that too. These are just a few of the things that are running through my brain. Mwah!

See you soon.

Pre-Vacation Post April 27, 2009

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Travel, Videos, Zoos.
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vacationblogMentally I am already on vacation even though physically I do not leave until very early tomorrow morning. The thrill of a vacation is knocked for a loop with getting ready to go on a vacation.  Is the dog sitter available?  Is the cat sitter available?  Should I pay my bills before I go away or wait until I come home?  Will the new plants I just planted this weekend on my patio survive for a whole week?  Why did I plant them so early?  Did I stop the newspaper from being delivered?  Can I eat the food in my refrigerator today?  Or do I have to throw it all out?  Should I leave the windows open? How much cash should I take?  What time should I call to have the car service pick me up?  Is the weather going to be good for the flight?  Will there be turbulence?  What about swine flu?  Will some rat bastard carrier be sitting next to me on the flight? Should I buy my lunch today or wait until I get to the Jet Blue terminal tomorrow?  Is it going to be cold?  Is it going to be hot? How many pairs of socks should I take?  How many gigs of memory cards? Did I pack my Xanax?

Getting through the day before a trip is the hardest thing to do.  Should I set an alarm clock?  I never need an alarm clock but I always set one before a trip.  I do not even know if the alarm clock works.  I am always up before it goes off.  Now I have to worry about that too. These are just a few of the things that are running through my brain at 7 in the morning.

–  This is going to be another big week in the world of politics.  The Obama Administration is crossing that ever so hyped 100 day mark and the TV Yakkers and the columnists are having a field day comparing him to every other President.  The week promises to bring every doctor, pseudo doctor and pandemic expert out in front of your TV screen to talk about the possibilities of your coming down with this new alarmist swine epidemic. There are a few things you can do to avoid getting sick in general (forgetting about this latest flu).  Wash your hands often, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, run as fast as you can from sick people and avoid crowds.  If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home and call your doctor.

–  I am planning to tune out and enjoy my west coast adventure.  My zoo buddy and I have planned an almost impossible agenda but are determined to visit seven zoos and aquariums in seven days.  I am sure it is not everyone’s idea of a delightful relaxing vacation but we love it and those venues are some of the only places that allow me to forget about the rest of the world and enjoy those wonderful creatures.

–  There is lots going on at the Central Park Zoo. So much so – it was a two montage week.  The snow monkeys were chomping on some delicious magnolia petals, the lambs were just being darn cute and the polar bears were very frisky.  Check out some of the above and more here and here:

–  My local Park, Madison Square Park is ablaze with color.  My dog Benny and I take longer and slower walks enjoying the smells and the color.  See you all soon.

msqpkblog

Knock, knock. Who’s there? January 7, 2009

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Links, Photography, Politics, Travel, Videos, Zoos.
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alWhy its Roland – Roland Burris. Sorry Roland, we hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in. Poor Roland Burris. He can’t seem to get a break. The Senate Democrats are not letting him in the front door. The same Democrats unanimously reelected Nancy Pelosi as their leader. I would not have voted for her. However, I would have let Roland in – and I think sooner, rather than later, they will. The Democrats do not want to recognize an appointment from Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell the seat to replace President-elect Barack Obama. Burris attempted to be sworn in on the first day of the 111th Congress, but was told by the Secretary of the Senate that his credentials “were not in order.” Nancy Erickson, the Senate secretary, initially cited the absence of the signature of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White as the reason for rejecting the appointment. Burris is trying to get the Illinois Supreme Court to order White to sign the form. White has no authority to refuse his signature and is claiming the right to unilaterally block an appointment because he simply does not like or is suspicious of the appointing governor. No one has claimed that Burris bought this seat and indeed he would have been on the list of likely candidates for any governor.  The Democrats have an uncanny ability to self-destruct. They are allowing this side show to distract attention from the important business at hand. The appointment is only for two years. Let him have the darn seat. I understand they think he is unelectable in two years – but as we know, two years in politics is a very long time. A hearty congratulations to my guy, Al Franken, (above) whose campaign called my house every day after I donated to his campiagn. He will be showing u knocking at the Senate door eventually too.

–  Poor Roland. I would have let him in and thrown some of the other fools out.

– I think Leon Panetta as head of the CIA is an inspired choice. His record is great and he has come out loud and clear against torture. Not telling Dianne Feinstein ahead of time is a just way to tell her that she better get on board with Obama’s view on torture. She and Jay Rockefeller should hang their heads in shame for the carte blanche open door they gave to Bush and his thugs on all of their illegal activities.

–  Here’s a fun time filler. Just click on a Senate seat to see who is sitting there now and then click again to see who has sat in that seat before.

–  Whoa! It seems that Jeb Bush, despite his daddy’s yearnings is not going to run for the open Senate seat in Florida. Perhaps he is the only Bush with a brain. Jeb Bush has decided not to run for the Senate in Florida next year, according to former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. “He said it just wasn’t the right timing,” Rubio said, recounting a phone call he received this afternoon from the former Florida governor and presidential brother.

–  Follow up. Remember the guy who was kicked off of a Jetblue flight because of his t-shirt? Well, he just settled his lawsuit for $240,000.

–  Al Franken is finally the winner. A Minnesota board on Monday certified results showing Democrat Al Franken winning the state’s U.S. Senate recount over Republican Norm Coleman, whose lawyer promised a legal challenge that probably will keep the race in limbo for months.

– Now THIS is funny!

–  Speaking if buffoons. Is anyone going to miss this idiot? The malaprops and mangled statements are legendary. Try to find your favorite in this list. Here’s one of mine. “Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”

–  Seen the new Black and White Lemurs at the Central Park Zoo yet?

The Jewel in the Crown November 30, 2008

Posted by judylobo in Links, Photography, Politics, Travel, Videos.
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taj-mahalI have spent much of the last few days reading about India, perusing my personal India travel journal, looking at my photos of that trip, trying to remember my room at the Taj Hotel in Moombai and watching the nightmare unfold on the graphically nauseating CNN. I wanted to figure out what it was about India that captured my imagination when I was there in 1995. Why it is that I love films about India and essentially like ‘all things Indian.’  Would I return to visit? In a heartbeat.

What I loved about India was the chaos, the color, the sounds, the light, the food, the fact that over a billion people are animated and vibrant and it is one huge Democracy. The country has struggled since its independence from England. It is trying to undo their shameful caste system and for most Indians they still think the possibility of a good life is sure to be had with enough hard work. The City of Moombai reminded me of NYC – only with less rules and more people.

–  Check out the trailer for the great new uplifting film, Slumdog Millionaire. You will get an idea of the glorious chaos of India:

–  I do confess to snickering when newscasters were reporting in close proximity to the targets during the attack. They were incredulous at the fact that they were allowed to get so close to the action and at times were actually in front of the police lines. I snickered because one of the things that made us laugh while in India was the fact that there are very few rules. Tourists go to places with crumbling steps, no guard rails and danger lurking around every corner. We would look at one another and laugh that in the US none of the places we visited would be open to tourists until every safety precaution was fixed. Our fear of litigation apparently does not exist in India. I liked that.

–  The New York Times has had excellent coverage and analysis about the latest terrorist attack and I have read all of those article too. India is calling this their ‘911’ but they are far more used to terror on their own soil than we were. An excellent article in the OpEd section by Suketo Mehta in yesterday’s NY Times discusses why Moombai was attacked and why the author is booking a flight to revisit that City. The article was reminiscent of what we read right after 911. They attack because they hate all we stand for. Do not let them get away with this. He said “If the rest of the world wants to help, it should run toward the explosion. It should fly to Mumbai, and spend money. Where else are you going to be safe? New York? London? Madrid? So I’m booking flights to Mumbai. I’m going to go get a beer at the Leopold, stroll over to the Taj for samosas at the Sea Lounge, and watch a Bollywood movie at the Metro. Stimulus doesn’t have to be just economic”.

–  The targets that these cowardly terrorists struck were not random. They were symbolic of everything they hate. In a city of 20,000,000 Indians, they chose to single out the Chabad that served a population of only 4000 Jews and Jews that visit India. There seems to be a growing link between India and Israel. Read this very interesting piece by Samuel G. Freedman from yesterday’s NY Times called Between Israel and India, a Link Based on Culture and, Now, Terrorism- As an imitation news story on the Web site SatireWire put it: “Hinjew leaders today conceded the merger of Hinduism and Judaism has not worked out as planned, as instead of forming a super-religion to fight off the common Islamic enemy, they have instead created a race of 900 million people who, no matter how many times they are reincarnated, can never please their mothers.”

–  And who does not love Bollywood?