I just took Race (our border collie puppy) out for a walk down our driveway. We walked down to within 25 feet or so of our gate, when all of a sudden Race started acting very afraid – whimpering, and doing his very best to hide behind my legs. He kept looking over to my left, so I looked over there – and saw a beautiful adult mountain lion, about 25 or 30 feet away from me, just on the other side of our fence.
The photo at right is not mine (I wish it was!), but it's the closest one I could find on Google to the one I saw. I was at almost exactly the same level as the mountain lion, so my perspective was a little different than this photo...
We have never seen a mountain lion so near our home before. I've seen them just twice (in nearly ten years) along the private dirt road above our home, perhaps a half mile away from our house. Both of those sightings were mere glimpses. This time I watched the mountain lion for about 60 seconds or so before I dared move – though the mountain lion was not acting aggressive at all. In fact, it didn't like it was paying any attention to Race and I at all.
I didn't have my camera with me (damn it!), but I did have our cordless telephone – so I called Debbie, who was out shopping with her mom and a neighbor. She was very jealous of my sighting, but also concerned that I get back in the house. Race and I sidled up the driveway, back toward the house. I picked up a big stone; I'm not sure what I was thinking I'd do with that, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. We'd moved perhaps 25 feet further from the mountain lion when it started moving, slowly, away from us down the fence line. I stopped to watch. After it moved 50 feet or so, the mountain lion moved out onto the road and then took off at a lope, up the hill and away from our house.
Race and I went back inside. I was still on the phone with Debbie (I'd given her a blow-by-blow through the whole thing). In a minute or two, I started to come down from the adrenaline rush, and felt a little shaky – it's kind of scary having a close enounter with such a beast!
A beautiful beast, though...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I ran across this article measuring preference in the upcoming Presidential election for an interesting group: Russian immigrants. It's short, so I've reprinted the entire thing:
U.S. Russian community will vote for John McCain - pollThese are people with experience living under a socialist government (the Soviet Union after about 1955 was really governed more as an extreme socialist country than as a Communist one). Interesting that people with this experience reject Obama so overwhelmingly...
MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) - The majority among the Russian community in the United States are going to vote for Republican John McCain at the U.S. presidential election, the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights (MBHR) told Interfax on Friday, after conducting a survey among the Russian community in the U.S.
MBHR experts are monitoring the U.S. elections and are planning to be in the U.S. on election day on November 4, human rights activists said in a statement.
MBHR cited figures provided by the institute for studies of new Americans, which conducted a social poll among Russian immigrants in New York, California, Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts between August 30 and October 10 in cooperation with the American Jewish Congress.
"Of the total number of respondents 79% (80 % New Yorkers) are certain to go to the polls. Fifty-six percent (65% New Yorkers) are going to vote for John McCain, 10% - for Barack Obama. Twenty-eight percent (19% New Yorkers) are still undecided. Of those who are likely to go to the polls 63% will vote for McCain, 11% for Obama, and 25% are still undecided," MBHR said in the statement.
Four percent of respondents made donations to the Obama campaign, MBHR said in the statement.
During the U.S. census in 2000 almost 2 million Americans claimed their Russian roots and approximately the same number said the USSR was their country of origin. After Poles (over 6 million) the Russian-speaking community is the biggest group speaking one of the Slavic languages in the United States.
New York has the greatest number of Russian-speaking American residents.