Monday, February 26, 2018

Red Claws versus Bulls, February 25, 2018

After losing 8 straight over the past month, Maine got its 17th W of the season with a 112-109 win at home against Windy City. Kadeem Allen (28 pts), Daniel Dixon (24 pts), and Guerschon Yabusele (23 pts) led the Claws, with "Dancing Bear" Yabusele adding 16 rebounds. Maine hit 20 3-pointers on the afternoon, capped by Trey Davis's 27-foot jumper with 26 seconds left that defined the margin of victory.

The Bulls led only once, for a few seconds, but were never out of the game, thanks largely to the G League's leading scorer, Antonio Blakeney, who anchored his team with 37 points.

Read more in the Portland Press Herald.

Kadeem Allen (5), Guerschon Yabusele (42), and other Maine Red Claws gather around head coach Brandon Bailey during the third quarter.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Bird of the Year Poses Typographical Challenge

The American Birding Association's selection of the ʻiʻiwi as its 2018 Bird of the Year poses a typographical challenge: What to do about the ʻokina? That "single quote" at its start, and right between the i's, is one of two Hawaiian diacritical marks. It denotes a glottal stop, a quick throat-catch like that in uh-oh, so ʻiʻiwi is pronounced ee-EEvee.

The ʻokina appears once in the main heading of the Bird of the Year page, but is omitted throughout Nate Swick's explanation of why the honeycreeper was chosen. This inconsistency is avoidable and the omission is undesirable. The ʻokina is not optional punctuation but a purposeful letter.

The ABA isn't awkward alone. The Birds of North America account at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology spells ʻiʻiwi three ways (unique treatments in heading and citation, main text, and image caption). The American Bird Conservancy gives this bird two marks but resorts to the straight quote (prime) rather than employing the proper character. The Hawaii Audubon Society leans on the backtick (grave accent) on the web, but at least uses good-looking ʻokina in its printed handbook Hawaii's Birds. The American Ornithological Society checklist presents iiwi without any ʻokina, as does brilliant Bird of the Year artist H. Douglas Pratt in his Enjoying Birds in Hawaii. Pratt justifies his choice by stating the Hawaiian name has been adopted as an English name and so is acceptable without the marks. Maybe this reflects the thinking at the ABA and AOS, too.

On the other hand, here's Ted Floyd covering his bases on Twitter:

Years ago, cautious ʻokina workarounds may have been necessary in web publications, but the character needn't be misrepresented today. The Unicode standard identifies the ʻokina as being encoded U+02BB (modifier letter turned comma), which can be rendered in HTML by the entity ʻ or in Windows with alt +699. If all else fails, writers can find a correct character and simply copy/paste.

This nit is little and I'll admit my own long-held ʻokina consternation. What's more important is that the ABA is highlighting the ʻiʻiwi's plight. This charismatic icon persisted through an exploited past only to face a risk-rich future. Focusing attention for 2018 on the bird, however it's named, is a mahalo moment.

Update: No surprise this is far from unexplored territory: See the ABA blog on this very subject. Consistency, though, remains key.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Red Claws versus Swarm, January 28, 2017

Maine climbed to 19-11 with an easy 111-98 victory over Greensboro (9-20) in this Saturday night game with few dramatic moments. Marcus Georges-Hunt (27 points) and Ryan Kelly (22 points) led the Claws, with the latter delivering on a late-game alley-oop that brought the evening's loudest cheer. We had a chance to see Celtics rookie Demetrius Jackson (14 points), who has bounced between Boston and Portland all season and looked a little disoriented.

Greensboro nipped Maine on Friday night, but was never close in this one. Aaron Harrison (22 points) and Mike Tobey (10 points) were scoring leaders and Xavier Munford showed above-average spark. Overall, it looked like the team needed a charge but never amped up.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Peregrine and the Waning Gibbous

I kept my #ebird365 streak alive on Sunday morning by committing an hour to window watching. I gave most of my attention to the windows facing the feeders, alternating between the kitchen and the dining room to get good angles at all six feeders. As usual, the birds came in waves. Cardinals peaked at six, house sparrows at eight. Juncos, trees, white-throats, and chickadees were in and out in low numbers. Finches took stations when they saw openings, then stayed put. Jays roved at will, usually causing a stir wherever they went. A composed dove sat still, blending right into the dried grass where snow had receded.

On occasion, I went to the far end of the house, where a second-floor glass slider opens to a view of a broad back yard. My scans for movement in the bare branches of our looming maple revealed a downy, but not much more. By opening the door and poking my head into the cold, birding by ear, I added more jays, cardinals, and a crow.

On my last foray to the loft, I stepped up to the glass and spied a songbird flying across my view, silhouetted and quick. It was beyond reach too soon, but as I straightened my sightline, I saw another bird on the same path as the first. This one was much larger, fusiform, and beating long, tapered wings. A falcon. I managed to lift binoculars just as it passed and caught its black mask and white breast. A peregrine. With its strong and steady flight, the bird rapidly moved away.

At the improved angle, I studied the exiting rarity. I've never had such a leisurely posterior view. Against the clear blue sky, the peregrine's rolling quiver of a wingbeat was transfixing. As I kept it in binocular view, my bird entered the luminous semicircle of the setting moon for a second or two. An awesome intersection.

Happenstance is so rewarding. Hope in having the usuals punctuated by an unexpected is a potent force behind my birding. After the fact, dwelling on the surprise keeps the excitement alive.

This time, I went to Hawks in Flight to reinforce my ID and was moved by how Dunne, Sibley & Sutton described the flight of a peregrine falcon:

"The wing beat is fluid, rhythmic, elastic, and whiplike. The flap... seems to roll down the long wing in undulating pulses."


Photo: Falco peregrinus at Morro_Bay,_California by Mike Baird CC BY 2.0

Saturday, October 29, 2016

K Records Friends & Neighbors Report

Top 4 CDs in the set
A K warehouse-clearing deal put a big stack of CDs in the mailbox for less than the cost of one at retail. The friendly mail order department "miscounted," so I had 14 new discs to spin. First time through, I picked blind. Second time through, I better knew what was coming, but still had things to learn and opinions to form. As a result, I've made a keep-or-pass list that looks like this (rated against each other, not all of musicdom):

Sylvain Sylvain & The Criminal$: Bowery Butterflies (2000) Munster vogue
***** Not-too-raucous rock'n'roll straddling the boppin' '50s and punk '80s.

Various Artists: Shipwreck Day (2002) Knw*Yr*Own web
***** That original What-the-Heck-Fest musta been some kind of fun.

the Weeds: The Faraway Flying of Broken Beating (2004) independent? web (arc divers)
**** Emily Ana Zeitlyn leads. Some genre hopping. Most works.

Landing: Oceanless (2001) Strange Attractors Audio House web
**** Dark sonic ecosystem with layers of rhythmic space noise.

The Gift Machine: …don't turn me off (2002) Knw*Yr*Own web
*** Hooky rockin-pop with an uplift and a wink.

Supersnazz: The Devil Youth Blues (1996) Time Bomb info
*** Pop-punk out of Osaka. Starts strong but fades.

Sarah Dougher: Day One (1999) K web
*** Easy on the ear. Bella Abzug and a couple more rise above the neutral.

le ton mité: Tickets to Real Imaginary Places (2006) Zicmuse, Richmond County Archives, K
*** Striving, occasionally achieving. Voice straining, instruments stabler.

Bryce Panic presenta… Better Bizness Bureau (2006?) self
** Infrequent clicks in this vocab-rich hip-hop shtick.

Josh Bucci: Pan Da Mix Tape II (2005?) self-produced web
** Oddball gets B for effort, but results lag in 1991-2005 retrospective.

Wolf Colonel: The Castle (2000) K
** Messing around after a bad breakup. Keep practicing.

Various Artists: Balance (1999) Readyrock
** Short-of-middling rap, often quite.

Various Artists: Wade-free Wherever, A Schtufff... Compilation (1995)
** Speedpunkmetal of insufficient interest.

Miranda July: 10 Million Hours a Mile (1997) Kill Rock Stars
* Poemish egocentric artpunk fails.

All these someones committed something to semipermanence, suspecting sometime somewhere someone else would take it in and care. The hits reveal where I do. For those most potent, I wish I'd been there then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Red Claws versus Drive, March 13, 2016

First-place Maine (Atlantic) took on fourth-place Grand Rapids (Central) two days after crushing them 132-107. Jordan Mickey led the Claws with 28, followed by Corey Walden with 22 and Malcolm Miller with 20. The Drive got their spark from Kelsey Barlow, who put up 32, with help from Henry Sims (28), Devin Ebanks (25), and Lorenzo Brown (24). Maine was down by 10 at the half, but came back to take the game 129-123. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Red Claws.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Tea Record

My first cup of tea came at the end of a night's work when, vague memory tells me, the cool New England air, the convenience of Dunkin Donuts, and an experimental mood led me to order a cup. I imagined it would be unpleasant, so I assented to sugar. The girl scrunched up her eyebrow when I asked for three. That hot syrup hit close enough to the mark that I brought the drink, with rapidly lessened sweetening, into my beverage routine.

At the supermarket, I managed to skip past Lipton, Tetley, Nestea, and Red Rose, instead going for Bigelow then Twinings on a friend's recommendation. Not long after, out west, I found Stash at the grocery store and discovered Market Spice's loose-leaf array. From this point, I sought tea shops for stocking up and had pretty good luck overall, but a move back east into a semirural area meant mail order would become the new order.

SpecialTeas' style, selection, and price made me a regular. I supplemented my SpecialTeas favorites, for a couple of years, with selections from Portsmouth Tea Company scooped straight from the warehouse barrel. Then that shop made a couple of missteps (leading to its demise) and SpecialTeas got absorbed by Teavana (a company for which I had already gained an aversion), so I was forced to seek out a new online source. I landed at Upton Tea Imports and have stuck there since. Gifts and random finds keep variety on the shelf.

Upton says I've ordered these. I use ***** for the best. Four stars is threshold for "would order again."

DJ70: Tindharia Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling GFTGFOP1 (November 2016)
TA04: Season's Pick Assam FTGFOP Organic (July 2011)
TA07: Season's Pick Assam GFOP Organic (December 2015 +) ****
TA20: Tippy Orthodox FBOP Assam (November 2016 ++) **** Good for breakfast
TA28: Mangalam Estate Assam FTGFOP (September 2017)
TA40: Tippy Orthodox GFOP Assam (April 2017 +) **** Anytime no nonsense
TB02: Leadenhall Street Blend (June 2016 +) **** Full and earthy
TB05: Mincing Lane Breakfast Blend *** Assam and Yunnan
TB10: Bond Street English Breakfast Blend
TB12: CTC Irish Breakfast Blend (April 2017) **** Sure, why not?
TB14: Scottish Breakfast Blend (++) **** Malty a.m. kick
TB20: River Shannon Breakfast Blend **** Reliable day-starter
TB51: East Frisian BOP
TB52: East Frisian TGFOP (November 2016) *** Adequate, not exemplary
TB75: Baker Street Afternoon Blend (annual) ***** Smoky but balanced
TE01: Season's Pick Earl Grey Crème Vanilla (May 2015) *** Vanilla overpowers bergamot
TE10: Original Earl Grey
TE11: Extra Bergamot English Earl Grey
TE19: Devonshire Earl Grey (June 2016) **** Straightforward
TE57: New England Harvest Blend ***
TI69: Jolotigo Estate Java Orthodox BT (December 2015) *** Meh bonus sample
ZGP6: Silver Sprout Green (2018 bonus)
ZK11: China Keemun First Grade
ZK21: Premium Keemun FOP
ZK97: Keemun Mao Feng (September 2017) ***** Undertones and overtones
ZK98: China Keemun Mao Feng
ZP22: Panyang Congou Select
ZP76: China Panyang Congou (June 2016) ****
ZP78: China Congou Wu-Yi Golden Monkey *****
ZY24: Yunnan Black Mao Feng (April 2017)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Sea Dogs fall to Fightin Phils, May 23, 2015

It's just about season-over for the Portland Sea Dogs. It's also clear-off-the-desk time here, which means the scorecard and program are headed to the recycle bin. Before that happens, I'll take a moment to record what we saw in the one game we attended.

The Sea Dogs lost to the Reading Fightin Phils in a 7-inning game, the first of a rain-forced double header on May 23. The early end confused me; I still don't know why the game was shortened. After all, the ticket claims a Sea Dog game is "your nine inning vacation."

The Phils' lineup was Roman Quinn, KC Serna, Aaron Altherr, Brock Stassi, Art Charles, Brodie Greene, Brian Pointer, Gabriel Lino, and Gustavo Pierre, with Tom Windle getting the start and Tyler Knigge the save. Lino and Serna had the best at bats and Windle got the win.

On the Dogs' side were Blake Tekotte, Carlos Asuaje, Jantzen Witte, Oscar Tejada, Keury de la Cruz, Luis Martinez, David Chester, and Jonathan Roof. Justin Haley was on the mound for 5-2/3 innings and Pat Light finished the game. Tejeda and De La Cruz reached base more than any teammates, but nobody really got the crowd going.

A & I liked the seats in section 201, row C.