Tag Archives: image

Hoot, I say! Hoot! Hoot!

Sunday’s forecast calls for rain, so when I was about to leave to run errands this afternoon, I decided to take Sweet Potato with me and head up to Black Hills Park in Boyds. That way, even if she can’t run around the yard tomorrow, at least she’ll have been able to spend a few hours outdoors this weekend.

We usually follow the path around the park’s main loop, that’s good for three miles and, depending on how much time she spends sniffing, is generally something we can complete in about an hour.

About a third of the way through the walk, I heard a sort of “whooping” sound, so loud that I thought it might be a human trying to imitate a bird call. About 15 seconds later, I heard a similar call in the distance. The calls repeated periodically and realizing it might just be the first time I’ve ever heard an owl in the wild, I quickly recorded the video below. There’s really not much to see in the video, but you can hear the hooting.

Looking toward the apparent source of the sound, I spotted “something” in a tree. Maybe a bird, maybe a squirrel’s nest. I cranked the phone’s digital zoom to the max (I really need to carry something with better optical zoom on these trips) and took a photo of what I’m told is a barred owl.

Very pixelated owl photo

I made one more attempt at recording audio and if you carefully watch the middle-right section of the video, you can see the owl flying off, presumably to find the other owl.

Why are They Called Grandfather Clocks?

Mom often refers to the newspaper’s comics page as “The educational section.” And while she means it in jest (I think), I’ve learned something new because of a web comic.

Monday’s Questionable Content has one of the characters concluding a discussion by saying, “…and that’s why they’re called grandfather clocks.”

It really had nothing to do with anything (aside from the character, Brun, being fascinated by clocks), but it did leave me wondering,… “Why are they called grandfather clocks?”

So, I asked Google (because that’s how things work these days) and learned the story of how the American songwriter Henry Clay Work was inspired to write the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.

There’s a really nice write up from 2012 at Today I found Out, but the gist of it is that in 1875, Work was staying at the George Hotel in Yorkshire and was intrigued by the longcase clock (what we now call a “grandfather clock”) in the lobby.

The story goes that the clock had belonged to the hotel’s previous owners, the Jenkins brothers, and kept perfect time throughout their lives. But when the first of the two brothers died, the clock suddenly became less accurate. And at the moment the second brother died, the clock stopped working altogether.

Inspired by the story, Work wrote the song, “My Grandfather’s Clock” which became a huge hit, selling more than one million copies (a nearly unprecedented achievement at the time). As a result of the song’s success, the public began referring to longcase clocks as “Grandfather clocks.”

Johnny Cash recorded a version in 1959.

Boyz II Men recorded a version in 2004

Wikipedia lists a number of other recordings and stories using it for inspiration.

Cover image, public domain via Wikipedia