March 2009 Archives

Say, if you have just a minute or two, go read this article about Lance Armstrong's bicycle crash and broken collar bone, and then come back here. We'll wait...

*annoying tuneless whistling signifying a break in the action*

That was quick; you're a good reader, aren't you? So, did you notice anything unusual about Ciaran Giles's report?

How about the fact that it referred three times to "Twitter feeds" as the source of information about the crash?

Lance's crash came across the Twitter wire about 22 hours ago (in Twitter Time), almost simultaneously via feeds from Team Astana (@TeamAstana) and teammate Levi Leipheimer (@Levi_Leipheimer). A couple of hours later, Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel (@johanbruyneel) confirmed the nature of the injury, and The Man himself (@lancearmstrong) reported in a few hours after that, following his visit to the hospital. Since I had earlier subscribed to all of those feeds, I knew what was going on well before it hit the MSM. (I even got to hear about Lance's and Johan's evening snack together at Bruyneel's home -- cheese, crackers, and wine, complete with a photo of the wine bottle's label -- via Twitter. (OK, so that last part isn't compelling journalism, but it is real life.)

These are fascinating times from a media perspective, where the news makers are also the news reporters. Questions arise -- How do we know, for example, that anyone on Twitter is really who they claim to be? And what level of trust should we place in those reports? -- but they're not really new, just repackaged. What's new is that on-the-scene reporting can now take place with a delay of only seconds, and that reporting can completely bypass the traditional media outlets. In addition, the exclusivity of access is no longer an asset owned solely by the traditional media.

When newspapers start quoting Twitter feeds as their sources, it's a sure sign that one medium is going to flourish at the expense of the other. I'll let you guess which is which.

Update: A more informed and eloquent take on the whole issue is here; link courtesy of Deb over at Write Lightning.
Me: Are you still coming home for lunch? 

She: Yep. Me: Good. I'll fry* you up your usual Chunky Girl soup. 

She: What'd you just say? 

Me: Uh...what? Oh, I just said, uh, that I'd make your usual soup. 

She (doubtful): OK. 

That's what I get for being observant. Well, that's what I get for being observant and a smart-aleck. I can't help it if I noticed the ill-advised way that our local grocery store choose to abbreviate Campbell's Chunky Grilled Sausage and Chicken Soup:

Scan of grocery receipt

By the way, MLB (who, just for the record, is the antithesis of "chunky"), contends that this particular model of soup is her very favorite, and well worth trying. 

*Actually, it's 1:45 in the microwave. Frying is not remotely involved, as that would smack of cooking, an endeavor to which I do not aspire.

Turkey Stalking
March 18, 2009 3:12 PM | Posted in: ,

I've written before about the flock of wild turkeys that have taken up residence in my old neighborhood in Fort Stockton. For whatever reasons, the size of the group has dwindled from the upper teens to just three, a gobbler (male) and two hens.

The male has been known to exhibit aggressive behaviors towards people, chasing them back into their houses, something that sounds amusing until it happens to you. The city's Animal Services department seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it; admittedly, it's not a life-threatening situation.

Last Saturday (March 14th), having been forewarned by my mother, I took my video camera into the streets in search of the wily Meleagris gallopavo, and found them only a half block from our front porch. Here are a few minutes of video from that encounter.

The gobbler turned out to be all bluff, and not much of that. I could not induce him to come towards me, much less attack, and shortly after I turned off the camera, he flew up onto a roof to join his hens, away from our prying eyes.

One interesting behavioral note: If you listen closely, you can hear the scrape of his wingtips on the street. I wonder if that's an intentional warning signal. I noticed that he did that same thing each time he puffed up his plumage, but the sound effects were less effective when he was in the grass.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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