Tag Archives: Work

The Week in My World 9-23-11

The gnawing of homesickness abrades—not for my native home, but for someplace that feels like home. But whether inspiration to act is born of ecstasy or sorrow, the result is the same—you are moved to discover resourcefulness you didn’t know you had.

Finding Love in Arizona

The two dogs rescued from my neighbors have been adopted into wonderful homes. I continue to keep a close watch on the yard, which right now is blissfully empty. But there are thousands more animals hanging on to life in similar hells. All mammals have an instinctive will to live. I am researching how to approach schools to talk about how to care for animals. There are scripts to be learned and protocols to follow.

A Story to Share with My Victims

I promise never to use the word share unless it’s to share buried treasure, my bed with dogs and cats, or pizza with a friend. I promise to never share news, an absurd encounter, or personal confessions. Those, I’ll just flat out tell you. Leave the word share for something tangible, like your meal or your toys. You may not notice the almost imperceptible cringe of a polite person when you say you have a story to share, but it’s there.

The Trials of Tag Surfing

A good way to show disrespect to your readers is frequent use of the following phrases:

As I said  •  as I said before  •  like I said    as many of you know    as I mentioned before    I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while    I haven’t posted in a while and for this I deeply apologize    now I know a lot of people will be surprised about this revelation  •  everyone who reads my blog knows how I feel about  •  if you know me then you know that when I  •  it’s a well-known fact that I do not like…

All these phrases do is highlight your ego.

Was it a Girl Shad or a Boy Shad?

Before personal computers existed, I ran a typesetting shop for 12 years. My job was not to edit, but to set the type for a variety of businesses—but naturally I corrected errors. One of my clients was the Griswold Inn, a historic restaurant and inn in Essex, Connecticut. The inn changed its menus frequently and was a steady customer.

The owner at the time was a wealthy businessman from New York who used pompous phrases such as “I’ll see you in a fortnight” or “ring me up” or “it’s frightfully good.” Brochures outlining the inn’s history were available in the lobby, typeset and printed long before I came on board. The owner wanted to make some revisions and asked me to re-typeset the brochure. As I was typing it and fixing the usual errors made by careless typesetters (and careless business owners who sign off on proofs before printing), I came across a howler I will never forget. The copy explained how the inn was situated at the mouth of the Connecticut River where it meets Long Island Sound, and it read:

In the spring, when the androgynous shad swim upstream to spawn…

There, in a haughty Connecticut town full of extravagant homes, luxury cars, sumptuous sailboats, and trust-fund kids, not one person had ever reported the fact that shad are anadromous. I fixed the ridiculous blunder and never said a word.

The Awkward Alsatian

Before restaurants started creating their own menus with computers, they were a primary source of work for typesetters. Owners were often difficult to work with, and would insist I set the copy exactly as they had written it. One testy man from Alsace, France, was not a native speaker. His menu read: I welcome you to sample the flavors of my region. This struck me as both distasteful and hilarious, but there it stood.

Life’s Rich Knots

Your Friend’s Problems

A friend of mine allowed a 35-year-old man to park his RV on her property and hook up to her facilities in return for the completion of an agreed-upon punch list of work. The man had broken up with his wife and lost his job and blah blah boo hoo.

Six months later he has yet to fulfill his obligations and my friend claims she has asked him to leave. Since his truck is in a thousand pieces in her garage, I don’t see this happening without a sheriff.

I disliked him from the first day I met him. He’s a pathological know-it-all with the personality of a blister. He talks about himself obsessively, borrows my friend’s car, and walks into her house anytime he pleases. As he’s sucking up her electricity and hot water using her washer and dryer, he’s complaining about her cigarette smoke. I was curt with him until, in respect to my friend’s wishes, she asked for my cooperation.

A month ago he reconciled with his wife and moved her in without first asking permission. The wife does nothing but sleep and assist her husband in relating pathetic tales of woe. They are accomplished con artists.

I have since stopped speaking to him and his self-aggrandizing logorrhea is met only by my cold glare. My friend does not want to provoke them, so I must seethe quietly. At times I must get up and leave or I will explode in fury.

Our role in a friendship is often difficult to define. Is a friend’s job to empathize, yet remain a detached third party? Isn’t it natural to feel outrage when a friend reports exploitation or abuse? But at whom—the abuser or the victim? Maybe some people have a subconscious desire to be a doormat, or maybe I do not know how to be a friend.

Subscriber Button Drama

WordPress keeps trying to social-mediatize us. They took the Subscribe by email button off and replaced it with Follow at the top of the page. So many people complained that they returned the subscribe button, but with an obnoxious update—it announced to the world how many subscribers you have. Blogging is not Facebook. We are not here to play Farmville or Mafia Wars or endure the anxiety of publicly accumulating “followers.” Many blogs are specialized, personal outlets, and discussion is our goal. How many subscribers we have is nobody’s business but our own. I just now noticed that the number of subscribers information is gone, so thank you WordPress for listening to your flock.

A Little Antidote

I once worked for two Connecticut veterinarians. They were specialists in conditions other vets were stumped by, and charged usurious fees for consultations. One day as I was assisting one of the doctors in a poisoning case, he said to the client, “don’t worry, we’ll find the right anecdote.” I didn’t understand how relating a clever account of a humorous incident would help the dog one bit.

New Word Rants—Don’t Kill the Messenger

Oxford University Press periodically publishes new words, and they recently announced a small sampling from the list of 400 new words that appear in the now-available twelfth edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. These words will not appear in print for a while in OUP’s flagship American dictionary, the New Oxford American Dictionary, as the 3rd edition was just released last fall (with the addition of about 2,000 new words and senses), but updates are available online. As I browse blogs, I encounter indignant rants from folks who just don’t get it.

I am proud to be part of the New Words Program. Each month, a group of readers submit 20 new words. Our job is to read, read, read—and though we are all assigned specific subjects, any new submissions are accepted. Sometimes we find older words that slipped through the cracks, sometimes new senses of old words emerge. OUP in no way inserts as actual entries all the submissions they receive—after the group submits them, the lexicographers further research them to determine the number of times they are used in everyday language.

So you’re mad that “sexting” went in. Lexicographers don’t create new words or make judgments on their suitability, unless they are considered too obscene. The lexicographer’s job is to record the language. If they don’t define new words, the dictionary becomes stagnant and unhelpful to a person needing a definition. Without new words, we’d still be speaking like we did hundreds of years ago. Many words become dated or archaic as new words dominate our culture. That’s progress.

If millions of idiots are sexting every day, it has to be in the dictionary. I’ve read angry posts calling for a stop to this—this is the downfall of English! They’re ruining our language! No, they’re not—our culture is. What they don’t realize is hundreds of new words are defined each year from the fields of technology, science, medicine, computers, government, cosmetics, mental diseases, weather catastrophes, fashion, architecture, culture, and a host of other subjects. Note that not long ago, even “blog” was a new word, and someone had to research it and make a decision whether to insert it as an entry. I wonder if the people who are now fuming about “retweet” were also mad about “blog” ten years ago.

Yes, some new words are a sad reflection of our times, but a dictionary has no need to apologize. If you don’t want to see sexting in the dictionary, then make it obsolete. If you don’t want to see jeggings, stop wearing them. If you can put an end to cyberbullying, then we won’t have to record it. If you don’t want to see social media terms in, then check your obsession with Facebook and Twitter. Because this is what people do, it must be documented. If these words bother you, there are still hundreds of thousands of other exquisite words in our beautiful language you can use to express yourself.

Abstract Expressionism—in Writing

There has been an explosion of flash fiction in recent years. Flash fiction has been around a long time, parables and fables go back to ancient times. Some writers berate it by claiming that modern readers have attention deficit disorder, hence the popularity of Twitter, but I don’t believe this is entirely true.

If I want to read a book, I’ll read a book. I don’t have Kindle or any kind of e-reader, can’t afford to keep up, and seem to survive just fine without them. So, when I’m at my computer, which is often, there’s just no way I can sit here and read 1000 word stories, posts, or articles unless it’s part of research for work, writing, or my own curiosity. It would have to draw me in immediately, and there are a few who do, but they usually pertain to a subject I’m interested in.

I believe in the principles of flash fiction and wish all writers would apply these to their work. There are so many longwinded posts, articles, and bestselling fiction, full of superfluous text or boring or irrelevant details that I want to bleed a red pen over them.

But there’s something else in flash fiction that is just as cumbersome, and that is fiction so surreal it defies explanation. Reading a short story ten times trying to figure it out takes just as long as reading a long story once. I keep getting told it’s all about the reader’s interpretation, but stories aren’t dreams nor should they resemble a Jackson Pollock painting. Even a very short story should give you some basic facts and have a beginning, middle and end, even if it’s just 100 words. That’s what a story is. This is done by choosing each word carefully and not assuming the reader knows what’s inside your head. A page from an imaginary novel is not a story. By leaving out important pieces of information, writers think they are being profound but they are simply leaving many readers asking “huh?”

Bloggers can write whatever they want, it’s no one’s business but their own. But I would like to see writers of surreal fiction ask their readers what they think it means. I would like to see the commenters who write “awesome post” explain why they think it’s awesome. I love puzzles—cryptograms, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, jumbles, and hangman. I don’t get the same enjoyment from a puzzling piece of fiction. You can be just as profound without leaving the reader bewildered.

An Open Letter to Elle Magazine

I am a freelance editor and researcher for the biggest reference book company in the world. It’s not steady and doesn’t pay much but it’s one of the things I do to survive. The other is housecleaning, or untouchables to you. Part of my freelance job is generating a list of 20 new words a month. They asked that I cover the fashion genre, since I thought I enjoyed it.

They told me I could have any subscription I wanted. I chose Elle because I thought the writing was a cut above the norm and it wouldn’t bore me to death.

I was wrong—about both the writing and the content. Who the hell is this magazine for? I don’t know one single person who could relate to any fashion or celebrity spread in this obsequious piece of photoshopped shit. At first I was excited, now I dread the chore of reading it and wait until the last possible moment before recoiling from every page. The articles are worse than shallow, they encourage idolatry of the impossible.

When you say some piece of worthless frippery is “only $300” you are speaking to the tiny percentage of Americans who don’t desperately need that $300 to get through another week of unemployment, bottom-of-the-barrel jobs, and the accompanying depression that goes with it.

I just finished May 2011’s issue and it was the worst one yet. On page 24, I read:

At Alexander Wang’s new SoHo boutique, white marble floors and black leather furniture offer a clean-lined backdrop for the designer’s relaxed-luxe ready-to-wear, shoes, and bags. Stock up on layerable summer staples, or just hang out in the store’s fox fur hammock.

Do you people have no soul? Do you really believe a fox fur hammock is so edgy and cool that you actually print a picture of it, so some spoiled rich twit can plunk her skinny plastic ass in it after a tough day of designer shopping?

Page 307: A model is wearing a wool coat $3,275, wool pants $1,125, sunglasses $295, sweater $425, turtleneck $25, silver cuff $275, rings $175-$240, belt $375, suede bag $1,175. The worst part? The fur stole, price on request. That’s $7,200 without the fur stole, so figure around ten grand on her back. If I had even half of that, I’d pay my back taxes, get the glasses I desperately need, see a dentist, take my dogs to the vet, buy a used stove, get my car fixed, and do something about this high blood pressure.

And you consider yourselves so eco-chic. More like eco-bullshit. I can’t imagine the waste you must generate along with the cruelty. You make me sick, sick, sick. Like celebrities and politicians, you couldn’t be more disconnected from real life.

The Week in My World 4-5-11

A week of frustration, at the government, the news, a famous local “comedian” emailing me “don’t give me shit asshole” after asking a question about a sketch I found disturbing. Sometimes I think I don’t live, I fester. I keep my head down and squirm in my own slipstream.

There’s no work here on the border in AZ. I ran a housecleaning ad in the paper for a week ($55!) and on Craigslist  (spam!) but nobody’s calling. Spent the week begging for bottom-of-the-barrel low paying shit jobs, and glad to get them.

A couple days ago I walked off a jobsite of a horrible old hoarder couple who hate each other. The husband didn’t want me there, the wife followed me around in her wheelchair telling me not to touch stuff. Every surface in the house was piled with debris. The wife was bitter, the husband wouldn’t speak to me. Every question was met with sarcasm and bile. The toilet had so much shit in, on, and around it I almost puked. I packed up my stuff and walked out with no pay. I bugged everyone I know and harvested some other work, draining and scrubbing a huge dirty Jacuzzi, raking a pricker-laden yard while unprepared for sunburn, slithering through crawlspaces.

The search terms on my stats page about the boobs post continue to roll in. This week’s pervs found my blog by searching for “Pakistini girls breasts show in running positon,” and “big booobs fucking .com in age 14and 16” (inserted as is, copied and pasted from stats). You sick bastards.

But, as I was frantically scavenging for scraps, a dictionary freelance job arrived. It’s actually thesaurus work, my task is to fit, where applicable, 1500 new words as synonyms into existing data. It’s heaven. If only I could do this all day, every day, I would be such a good girl.

My friend Janice, who rescues mostly pitbulls, is trying to find a home for her latest rescue, Bonnie, also known as Bon Bon.

Bonnie is beautiful, loving, and smart. She's had a tough life. She'd make a wonderful companion to someone who doesn't have any other dogs.

Bonnie just wants someone to love.

She's full of kisses and snuggles.

A glorious bright oriole came to our feeder, but didn't stick around.

This old mesquite has a heavy infestation of the parasitic mistletoe plant. The mistletoe berries are dropped by birds into the mesquite, where they become embedded and take water and nutrients from the host tree. Eventually they cause the decline of the tree.

Mistletoe takes root inside the branches of the mesquite and actually grow from it. Mistletoe is a Christmas tradition, and is supposedly romantic and lovely, but we think it's a nuisance. They never look pretty, they just look like parasites.

Part of a decaying prickly pear killed by the February freeze. It's beautiful, death's artwork.

Closeup of decayed prickly pear, victim of February freeze

Panicking Through My First Prompts

Stephanie at BeKindRewrite has initiated a weekly writing prompt post, Inspiration Monday. She provides the prompts, we write. I think prompts should be kind of weird or what’s the point?

Every word we write is prompted by something—research, experience, or imagination. In dictionary research, the entry or topic is the prompt, and our mission is clear.  But this is my first time using a prompt as a creative process. My world is all about facts—essays are easy. Stories are not.

Stephanie provided five prompts. I chose two and used them as titles:

____________________________________________________

Our Last Kiss

Like I could ever forget. December 28, 2005, a couple days after a shitty Christmas and a few before a shitty New Year. I held him close. I was numb, out of tears, dazed. Who knew it would end this way—the love of my life, in my arms, kissing me goodbye. None of the bad things mattered—over the years they only endeared him to me more. His late nights out, lousy toilet habits, his rejections, the bloody lip he gave me one night as I was getting ready for a meeting. As with all the boys in my life, I forgave him everything because of the laughter and the lovin’.

The vet gave him two shots. The first to sedate him, and then the second, final needle. I watched his body grow still, and then cold. I had written a letter explaining how very much I loved him and always will. I left his collar and tag on and put him in a box with the letter. I wanted to make sure that wherever his travels took him, it’s understood we belong to each other forever. I buried him in the backyard in his favorite spot under the big pine.

_______________________________________________

Leftover Humans

We skulk around the outskirts of the city and fend for ourselves. We live on garbage and scraps and a few hidden gardens. They know we’re around but we don’t let them see us. They’re probably going to hunt us down at some point. They’ve taken everything else from us, but we’ve taken something too.

We have fights about breeding but young are born. Zira is only a year old and already she’s 100 pounds and can run as fast as a car. She speaks in sentences and can count. We’re all changing, and they don’t know. We’re getting stronger, faster, smarter. We no longer have much need for clothing as thick wiry fur grows from once-smooth skin. If they saw us they might think we’re devolving, but I wouldn’t call it that.

_____________________________________________________

But What If Your Brand is Bogus?

Branding is hot

The trend of developing a ‘personal brand’ has been getting a lot of attention—like it’s something they just thought of. There is nothing new about it, except now there are many online services available to help you craft and market your personal brand. Some charge big bucks to bang out some edgy jive. A lot of the personal brand statements I have read are variations on the same theme, anagrams of a finite collection of all-purpose self-empowerment words. You know what they are—the same  words you put on your resume or job application—the crap we’re forced to write about ourselves that makes a sane person cringe. The more statements I read, the less meaning they hold; the more forced they sound, the less I believe in them.

Other services advise flooding your brand into the right directories, social media, forums, etc., with the content and frequency of each post carefully designed to reinforce your image. There are people who expend enormous time and effort to promote their brand. It’s dizzying, isn’t it? Who the hell has time for all this? What about life?

Go with the flow but obsession not necessary

With the current pathetic job situation and more people than ever competing for what crumbs are available, as well as more people trying to make ends meet on their own, you need more than solid work experience, a good resume, and respectable references. We’re told we need every weapon we can lay our hands on, every angle, every app. We are encouraged to regard ourselves as commodities and to strategically manage our images as if we were products. One brand-developing service promises to help you build meaningful relationships within your organization’s power structure, another advises that your clothing match your business card, stationery, and the background color of your professional photo! So where do you fit into this gaseous miasma?

Is your brand really you or did you make it up?

Your brand is supposed to reflect who you are as perceived by the world. So, can your brand be an invention hatched by your wannabe self? And if it is invented, can you grow into the persona you’re trying to create? I’m not talking about mean-people brands—any bully can easily maintain a negative brand if that’s what they are and have no aspirations to rise above it. But maybe, if people are putting some effort into maintaining an honorable brand, and sincere about living up to it—then maybe a heightened awareness about your image isn’t such a bad thing.

Do we all need a brand?

Your brand is about the business of you. You don’t have to be a high-level player to have a brand. Maybe, like lots of us, you’re just a refugee from something or someplace, trying to survive with a few shreds of dignity intact. We might not be CEOs of big corporations—but we’re CEOs of ourselves.

We are already branded

Every single one of us already has a brand. Would people describe you as unreliable? Forgets important stuff? Won’t shut up? Doesn’t listen? Interrupts? Doesn’t keep your word? Doesn’t tell the truth? Always has an excuse? Passive-aggressive? Business owners or employees who promote themselves as ethical, sincere, or hardworking will eventually be outed if that’s a crock, as well they should be, the posers.

Have you ever been kept waiting by someone who claims to be dependable, snapped at by someone who feigns friendliness, or lied to by someone who swears by sincerity? Ever been stood up, let down, stiffed, screwed?  No self-packaging hype or resume fluffing or inflated mission statement is going to change how people perceive you if you’re a phony. Your brand is built-in, so if it’s bullshit, eventually you’ll be exposed.

Create your own brand by example

So yes, a brand can be invented, but it takes effort to make it yours. You do have a choice in how you interact with the world—and, you should periodically assess your style to help keep glitches in check. If you really, really, don’t care about your image and want no part of this, do note that a brand will be assigned to you regardless of your level of  participation—and it may be one that’s less than flattering. The idea behind branding is you get to create the image, but it’s up to you to own it. Damage control is much more work, effort and stress than doing the right thing in the first place.

Branding for real people—be authentic

You could hire a personal branding expert to give you a makeover and then market you like you’re the next miracle eye cream. But I firmly believe that you, your brand, your resume, your reputation—the extract yielded when your actions are compressed—is about integrity and credibility in the face of whatever circumstances you find yourself in. If you’re a consistently thoughtful, responsible, and rational person because that’s who you really are, then that will shine through in all aspects of your life. And if that is the extent of your brand, I think you’re doing damn well.

Nobody Wants Your Garbage

When we first got to Arizona it was shocking to see people toss empty soda cans into the garbage. Coming from Connecticut, the cultural attitude toward trash here seems quite unconcerned. There is no 5¢ deposit here for cans so there is not much initiative to recycle them.

Connecticut is a small state tightly packed and it seemed to be the policy of each small town to do everything legally possible to not take your garbage. It’s not easy to legally dump stuff in New England. We did “dump runs” for people back in Connecticut (a fun and interesting facet of the cleaning business), but the stressy part was taking the stuff to the dump. We couldn’t go to the town dump of the owner’s trash because they won’t let you in without a sticker…and if you go back to your own town dump, they want to know where the stuff is coming from. Same with leaves and brush…if we raked a lawn for a customer in another town, and had to go dump the truck bed a couple of times, it was always an ordeal. Recycling, proof of town residency, and gratitude that they’ll condescend to take your lowly garbage was all strictly enforced in Connecticut.

Back in Chester, we had the Dump Nazi aka King of the Dump, that’s what people called him. He was a grumpy old Yankee and you had better show proper documentation when you entered his kingdom. He was feared by all good citizens, but, when you make it this hard to dump stuff, some people are going to dump the stuff out in the woods, and they did.

Nobody follows you around at the dumps here in Arizona, or demands you have a sticker on your windshield or asks for ID. And the people who work at the dumps here all seem pretty mellow.

Only recently have they provided separate recycling containers at our town transfer station. Prior to this year cans and cardboard, etc., went into the hopper with everything else. If you wanted to recycle, you had to find a place to bring your cans, like the Boy Scouts, who will recycle them for money. Or you can bring them to a recycling-for-money plant yourself, there’s one in Douglas. I have no idea how many cans it takes to be worth doing that.

Despite the ease of dumping stuff here, there is still plenty of litter and piles of trash in people’s yards. Not so much in the town centers, but here in the outback  neighborhoods people can be lazy about it. That part is annoying, but Arizona is vast and can probably accommodate it…but I just friggin’ hate it, especially encountering it on my walks.  I pick up litter constantly in front of my house, on my street, in my neighborhood. A common Arizona sight is piles of metal, wood, plastic—whatever—piles of junk, and junk cars…but they are immobile and you get used to them—it’s the other kind of garbage that’s disgusting—kitchen middens in backyards. I grew up considering littering to be low class; here, they don’t get that. People don’t want to litter up their cars I guess so they throw it out the windows.

Why are these two areas of U.S. so different in their attitudes toward garbage? Is it due to small spaces or big government? Each person is estimated to produce around 1500 lbs. of garbage a year in America, plus the several pounds of daily sewage that gets flushed. One reason may be the number of wells in Connecticut that must be protected. But even here, garbage processing is a complicated and expensive series of steps involving sorting, compacting, packing into shipping containers, and transporting by truck to another plant where it goes through more steps to either recycle it, burn it, or put in a landfill. Many landfills nowadays are high-tech, collecting gases and other recyclable byproducts of our garbage, which are then used in ingenious ways to make power.

This is one tiny part of the “infrastructure” they always talk about when countries suffer catastrophes, or just haven’t gotten around to actually having an infrastructure. Think of how intricate America’s is and where we would be without it…cold, hungry, and sitting on top of enormous piles of garbage, probably.

Garbage waiting to be processed at town transfer station. The smell here is utterly foul. Best to breathe through your mouth.

The hopper where you throw your garbage. It moves along on a track that goes underneath that office there, into a huge compacter not visible.

The dump is one of the places they let the cons work. These guys were funny, trying to flirt with girls. They're probably not supposed to do that.

Look at this con waving! Oh you bad boys what did you do?

You back your truck into a bay and push your garbage off into the hopper. It's fun, and great to go home to empty barrels.

The hopper

Buzzards Make it Better

I had a very bad, bad, day today. Adrenaline surged through me, I wished I had a car to lift. But no, just flying brain matter to contain. I’m a very bad, feral girl to let myself lose my temper like that. It didn’t even concern politics or religion.

I already e-mailed the Q Letter. The Q letter is a polite but firm “I’m not the right person for you” letter—I’ve had to do it enough times over the years to have sort of a template. I never tell customers the truth about why I’m leaving a cleaning job because people don’t get it when they have been inhospitable. My two main rules of housecleaning are 1) don’t make me chase down the check, and  2) GO AWAY.  Is that so much to ask? I don’t ask clients to supply anything unless they have some special product they want me to use. My customers who understand my simple needs get the most honest and detailed cleaning service you can buy. I clean houses the same way I draw or work on dictionaries, lovingly and a little obsessively.

In a bizarre chain of events, I got into a fight with the son of the owner of the house.  It’s not the first time but it sure is the last because I’m never going back.  I had no choice but to tell the truth in today’s Q letter, and, never one to shy away from a good adjective, I’m the one with a knot in my stomach.  A mother is going to stick up for her son.

So I’m posting some recent buzzard (turkey vulture) pictures to cheer me up. Bisbee is famous for its buzzards. They come in the spring and leave in the late fall, but some stay all year. In the spring people await their arrival at what’s called the Buzzard Tree on Tombstone Canyon Rd.  The buzzards alight in great flocks and people come to look at them. Here it is almost the end of October and there are still a lot of them here. Locals know not to park under the buzzard tree, or your car will soon be covered in buzzard shit.

What the hell did buzzards eat before there was roadkill? Was there enough death in the desert to support their numbers?

This buzzard is pulling its fresh roadkill off to the side of the road, as the traffic was flying by and disturbing their feast. See next picture...

I had pulled my car over to watch, and I got the treat of seeing a buzzard actually hauling the carcass to safer ground with its beak. Pretty cool road cleanup system, I think.

This ancient cottonwood is known as the Buzzard Tree, where they come to roost in the spring. If you live in the nearby hills, you get a great view of all the top buzzard action.

A flock of buzzards sailing in the clouds over the hills of Old Bisbee.