Trusting Myself

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It’s almost impossible for me to trust myself during, and just after, a depressive episode. I wrote this piece about confidence, Confidence | Nutmegger Daily – Quality writing on many topics, a little bit ago. Not trusting myself seems like a similar phenomenon to lacking confidence, but I think it’s different in some important ways. Let’s start with some examples.

Over the weekend, I saw a play at the Hartford Stage, and I had a terrible time. It was a musical. The songs were completely forgettable. I felt like I was sitting there for about eight hours. I recognized the jokes as jokes but didn’t laugh once. However, I’m unwilling to pass judgement on the play or the performance.

My writing projects (including this one) are either being left unfinished or taking way, way longer than they should. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing something obvious. It’s like there’s something that needs to be said for the piece to makes sense, but it escapes me.

Decision making is a lot like the writing. I constantly feel like I’m missing something that I should know. As a result, even the simplest decisions can be paralyzing. How do I know what to do if I don’t have the relevant information?

There are more, but, hopefully, you get the idea. In thinking about these, it really feels like a trust issue rather than a confidence issue. With my lack of confidence, there is a lot of fear, mostly fear of failure. I don’t feel fear in these cases. I just can’t convince myself that I know the things that everyone else knows. I don’t trust myself. There are no real consequences for saying I saw a bad play or writing an incomplete essay or going with cereal instead of a bagel, but I struggle anyway.

Strangely, the one area where I do trust myself, and feel confident, is parenting. I know how to treat my kid. I know when to be permissive and when to be strict. I know when she needs to be pushed and when she needs to be supported. I don’t know how or why I know these things, but I do. There’s some comfort in knowing that I trust myself in the most important area of my life. I just can’t get there in any other part of my life.

Someone left a comment about imposter syndrome on my confidence post. This lack of trust actually feels more imposter-y than the lack of confidence. There’s another piece to it, though. I know where it comes from. I’m constantly asking myself if it’s me or the depression. When I saw the play, did I not like it or did the depression not like it? Did I actually want cereal or did the depression want cereal? In my writing, am I saying what I want to say or what the depression is making me say? There’s no easy way to answer those questions. It almost feels like if I say or do what the depression wants, then I’ve lost a piece of myself. Depression is a jerk. I don’t want to let it win.

I’ve tried several things to make it better. I’ve tried heuristics and gut checks and time limits. None of them work, though. I think the only thing to do is get through the depressive episode. Unless I’m missing something obvious, that is.

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Patriotism or Lack Thereof

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I’ve never thought of myself as patriotic. I do have a certain affection for the United States, but only because it’s my home. I’ve long recognized that there are dozens of other countries I could have been born in where my life would be about the same or better. The whole “greatest country in the world” thing is, and always has been, nonsense. Not just for the US, any country making that claim is absurd. This weekend, it seems, after the Supreme Court’s disastrous week, a bunch of other people may be coming around to my way of thinking.

For the first time I can remember, I’m seeing calls from people saying, “don’t celebrate the Fourth of July.” Well, good for me, I literally don’t remember the last time I celebrated the Fourth, if I ever really have. I can’t remember any family barbecues when I was young. I’ve never hosted one as an adult. July 4th has always been a time of making fun of people for playing a Russian celebration of defeating Napolean, who was our ally, because it has cannon noises in it. It’s been a time of getting annoyed at all the illegal fireworks displays that happen. It’s been a time of terrorized pets and making excuses to avoid other people’s celebrations.

Except, what does not celebrating the Fourth mean? I’m my case, I think it means I prefer quiet, I hate the summer, I have a strong sense of irony, I like animals, and I keep to myself. That’s about it. It isn’t a statement, and I don’t even see how it could be. If you’re like me, it just means keeping yourself comfortable. If you’re not like me, it probably means depriving yourself of some enjoyable experiences. In other words, it doesn’t mean or do anything.

It seems that the many people saying they won’t celebrate the Fourth are new to this lack of patriotism. As someone with experience, I’m duty bound to try to help the newbies. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. As stated above, there’s a difference between feeling patriotic and caring about your home.
  2. Celebrating or not celebrating a holiday is a giant whatever. Do whatever feels right to you.
  3. Even non-patriots can and should try to make things better. That means voting, protesting, sharing your thoughts and feelings, writing to your elected officials, and all that stuff. Just because we’re not patriotic doesn’t mean we can’t work towards a country we can be patriotic about.
  4. Don’t judge anyone based on their levels of patriotism. This one goes for patriots, too.
  5. Lack of patriotism is freeing. Use that freedom. You are not beholden to any institutions or ways of doing things. Get creative when making change. We don’t need to keep anything that isn’t good.
  6. At the same time, it’s OK to like some things about a country without feeling patriotic.
  7. A positive thing about losing your patriotism is it’s a cure for exceptionalism. People are people wherever they live or come from. It should create a sense of solidarity.
  8. Avoid cynicism. Change is better when it comes from a place of positivity.
  9. There are lots of us. Seek support when you can.
  10. Live your life. It doesn’t matter how bad things get, obsessing will not help.

This week was a disaster any way you look at it. But maybe there’s an upside. Maybe the Supreme Court has upset enough people to motivate them. That puts all kinds of possibilities on the table. We may see adequate numbers voting in each and every election. We might get loud protests. We might get real civil disobedience. We might end up with a general strike. Maybe a Constitutional Convention. All of the above would be my unpatriotic dream come true.

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A Possible Fix for the Pop Culture Oligopoly

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I’m really not a snob, but I’m afraid I’m going to sound like one in this essay. People can, and should, like whatever they like. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I just wanted to warn everyone.

Pop Culture is an oligopoly. It is in the traditional, business sense; there are only a limited number of companies that produce the content and there are extremely high barriers to entry for anyone new. But it also is in an artistic sense as this article by Adam Mastroianni admirably demonstrates – Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly – by Adam Mastroianni (substack.com). It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about movies, TV, music, books, or video games, there are a small number of actors, musicians, writers, and other artists that dominate, and they dominate in more and more sequels, prequels, and franchises.

Oligopolies are bad for lots of reasons. In a business sense, they have almost all the same problems as monopolies. Just look at another oligopoly that’s been in the news lately, baby formula. In the artistic sense, it’s also a problem. We are stuck with less variety, less creativity, and less opportunity. Culture has a bunch of roles in society. It should create a sense of community, push boundaries, introduce new ideas, distribute complex or important ideas, recharge people, and teach people. Unfortunately, creating a sense of community is the only role pop culture is still performing.

I will explain my proposed solution as it pertains to music, but I think you’ll easily see how it can be applied throughout pop culture. First, we need to establish a few things. Most everyone likes music, but most people don’t love and care about music. Most of the music that is produced is produced for the majority that doesn’t love or care about music. I don’t think that has much to do with lowest common denominator thinking. It’s just playing things safe. And most people are perfectly happy with whatever they play on the radio (or through streaming services).

Taking all that into account, especially the part about most people being happy with whatever they play, music companies should stop making music for the majority. They should make music for the real music lovers. Everyone else will just follow along because it’s, you know, on the radio. There are limits, of course. Too Avant Garde might not translate into lots of streams, but most music lovers like melody, rhythm, and harmony as much as anyone.

This new music will work for people who just want a pleasant background noise for their day, it will still build a sense of community, but it will also work for those who like to hear something new. For those who like to think. And even those who like to be challenged. It’s the best of all possible worlds. Now how do we make it happen?

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A Question about Legislating

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Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio was trending on Twitter. He was complaining that he only had an hour to read an 80-page bill before having to vote on it. I don’t like Rubio, nor do I usually comment on trending topics on Twitter, but something struck me about this, and I tweeted:

I didn’t expect anything to come of it. Almost no one reads or interacts with my tweets on my best day. Sometimes a friend will crack a joke, but that’s about it. And I also thought it was such an obvious point that no one would care.

Strangely, two people pushed back against my tweet. The first one said that congresspeople have staff to read and summarize the bills. I responded to that with:

He responded to that by saying asking if I really believe that every piece of legislation is read from start to finish by the legislator. I replied:
Finally, another commenter asked me how many hours I think there are in a day. I didn’t respond to that one, but I’m aware of the fact that there are 24 hours in most days (they do small adjustments periodically and there are the two days a year when we switch between standard and daylight savings time). I don’t see how that’s relevant, though. There’s no reason why the legislators can’t take more than a day to study and debate legislation.

As I said before, the responses were unexpected, not unwelcome, just unexpected. I’ve believed for ages that congresspeople should actually read what they vote on. I thought that was a pretty ubiquitous belief. How could anyone feel differently? But apparently some people do feel differently, so I want to explain where I’m coming from.

The way it is now, where staffers divide up the bill, read their parts, and report to the legislator with a summary has a few problems. In one of my tweets, I said it reduces legislating to a game of telephone, so I’ll start there purple, monkey, dishwasher. Any time a group of people work together to interpret information, there are competing interpretations. Anyone who ever did a group project in school knows this. It happens all the time that the spokesperson starts speaking and other members of the group start complaining that, “that’s not what we said!” I’d like to think congressional staffers are more careful than middle-schoolers, but, at the same time, I’m sure apocryphal things wind up in the summaries on a fairly regular basis.

Next, the more people involved, the more opportunities for bias exist. Summarizing is basically pulling out the important bits. But who’s to say what’s important and what isn’t? If we have bias in our laws, it should at least come from the elected officials, not their unelected staffers. The typical staffer is white, in their twenties with a bachelor’s degree. It’s not a diverse pool. These are the people charged with picking out the important parts of civil rights legislation? Retirement legislation? That seems wrong to me.

Finally, what is a congressperson’s job if not to read, study, and debate legislation before voting on it? Obviously, that’s not all they do, but shouldn’t it be, along with crafting legislation, the most important thing they do? They are legislators after all. We ought to expect at least as much intellectual time and effort from them as we do from high school students writing a paper.

The solution is simple. Just dictate a certain number of words per hour. According to the internet, the average adult reads about 250 words per minute which comes out to about 15,000 words an hour. They just have to figure in how many hours a day would be fair to spend reading and they have a formula. It’s such a low bar to expect from our most powerful people. There are other benefits besides having better informed decision making. It might get bills to be written better, shorter with plain language. It might stop some of the ridiculous add-ons that are in most of our legislation. Imagine laws that regular people could understand. It would be glorious.

Now, I know this will never happen. Congress is unlikely to make rules that make their lives more difficult. And that leads to my question. I thought this was all so obvious, but some people disagreed with me. What am I missing? What are the advantages of the current system? I’d really like to know.

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An Open Letter to Rep. Larson, Sen. Murphy, Sen. Blumenthal, and President Biden on Gas Taxes

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Dear Sirs,

As I’m sure you’re all aware, gas prices are currently at record highs. The president is asking for a three-month federal gas tax holiday to try to help. The proposal would save the average driver $0.18 per gallon, and diesel drivers $0.24 per gallon. This proposal is a huge mistake and I want to explain why.

First, gas taxes are not causing the spike in gas prices. The spike is mostly from market pressures which will not be affected by a tax holiday. Here in Connecticut, we have already suspended the state gas tax and it did nothing to stop the rise in prices. The price is set by what the market will bear, taxes or no taxes. A plan to address the problems in the fuel market would be welcome. A gas tax holiday is nothing more than an ineffective bit of pandering.

Second, gas taxes raise vital money for important projects. A tax holiday leaves us with three unappealing alternatives. We could end up with underfunded infrastructure projects and poorer mass-transit options or we could divert money from somewhere else and leave that area underfunded or we could dip into the emergency funds leaving us more vulnerable to natural disasters. Since the holiday would only save, at best, $2.70 on a fifteen-gallon fill-up, the knock-on effects aren’t worth it.

Third, artificially lowering the price of gas encourages more driving. With the climate crisis, that’s the opposite of what we should be doing. There are real ways to lower the price of gas that would be consistent with our climate goals. We can encourage public transportation. A fare holiday for all trains and busses would be an excellent start. We can also encourage remote work and remote conferences and things like that. I understand the COVID burnout, but these things really did lower the price of gas back in 2020. And we can incentivize oil alternatives. If I could heat my house without oil, I wouldn’t worry so much about fuel prices.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. A gas tax holiday would actually hurt more people than it would help. We have other legitimate options that would help people while being consistent with our broader goals. I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said and get off this misguided path.

Thank you,

Gene Glotzer

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Success through Secession?

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I’ve had a long running debate with myself whether Lincoln was right to fight the War Between the States. Part of me feels like what was the free states would have been better off if they just let the slave states go. Another part of me worries about the humanitarian nightmare that would have resulted in the South if the North had let them go. A third part thinks it’s silly to debate historical counterfactuals. I used to land on Lincoln was right to fight because the slaves needed to be freed. Lately, I’ve been leaning more towards letting the South go. The debate is far from settled, but there are two reasons why I’m leaning let them go. First, I just look at the humanitarian nightmare that has been the United States over the past 160 years. Second, I think about the fact that, despite what the history books say, the South wound up winning the Civil War. I’m not going to elaborate on those two points here because that’s not what I’m actually writing about.

What I’m actually talking about is the current talk of secession. I saw among the headlines this morning that the Texas GOP is planning a referendum about leaving the US. My first reaction to the headline was a chuckle and the thought, “Let ’em go.” I think most of us in solidly blue states had similar thoughts. But the more I thought about it, because my brain is weird that way and won’t let me just move on, the more I started thinking about how odd it is that the Texas GOP would want to secede. I know I often say that politics isn’t a competition, but any way you look at it, the GOP is winning. They’ve basically erased the 4th, 13th and 14th amendments. There are close to eliminating the 1st amendment, too. The 2nd amendment is stronger than it’s ever been. They are restricting basic rights for every marginalized group imaginable. They own the courts and congress. They have nothing whatsoever to complain about. Why would they want to secede?

It also raises the question of why the donkeys aren’t making more noise about secession. They have been losing very consistently for 45-50 years. The way things are now, they have to win every election for the next thirty years to get the judiciary back. There’s no viable way forward for them in the near future. If secession is ever an option, the donkeys should at least be talking about it now.

The other thing I can’t help but wonder about is whether the Texas GOP has actually thought through what secession means. I haven’t spent a lot of time on it, but the logistics get really scary really quickly. It’d be like Brexit times 1000 if everyone cooperated. If someone didn’t cooperate, I can’t even imagine. Last time someone tried it, we fought an awfully bloody war.

Anyway, I know it’s just talk and won’t really happen, but the headline got me thinking so I thought I’d share some of those thoughts. What do you think?

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Mental Health and Creativity

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There’s one lie/myth/misconception that I hate. It’s the idea that mental illness causes/boosts/enhances creativity. It’s common to the point of insidiousness. People think that those with mental illness are more creative than those without as if there’s some kind of causal link. This article in Aeon talks about how the connection is far from scientific and gets into some of the reasons it is a dangerous idea for so many people to hold on to. As a creative, or at least someone who does creative things, and someone who suffers from mental illness, I want to talk more personally about why I find the connection to be pernicious.

First of all, my creativity predates my mental illness. I’ve always been drawn to creative pursuits. Music and writing are the most obvious, but I always find ways to be creative. I even found ways to be creative in math classes. My mental illness didn’t come along until much later. That was caused by a really bad marriage. There is just no connection between the two.

The creative side of me hates the connection with mental illness because it robs me of autonomy. It’s as if I am not the creative one, the mental illness is. It appears to be akin to the way people say art comes from suffering or drugs enhance creativity. It implies there is something else doing the work. Creative activities do require a lot of work. I don’t know if I’m being selfish or not, but I want credit for that work. I certainly don’t want being sick to get the credit.

The mentally ill part of me hates the connection with creativity for a whole host of reasons, but they are mostly connected to the fact that it perpetuates misunderstandings of what constitutes mental illness. In my experience, mental illness makes everything harder. And I mean everything, including creativity. I feel like the connection between mental illness and creativity romanticizes mental illness and that’s dangerous and unfair to those who are suffering. It’s dangerous because no one should want an illness. And, if you have an illness, you should get treated for it. It’s unfair because it diminishes the mentally ill. It equates them with their illness.

It’s time we realize that creativity and mental illness are simply not connected. Sure, some creatives are mentally ill, but they create in spite of their illness, not because of it. Plus, plenty of creatives are not mentally ill and plenty of mentally ill people are not particularly creative. Don’t diminish anyone’s creativity and don’t romanticize anyone’s illness. It’s not fair to anybody.


I feel like I should add a note. This piece was particularly difficult to write because my mood is not good today. And I think the quality is worse than usual. The whole time I’ve been writing it, I’ve been wanting to scrap it. But it feels like a good illustration of my main point and how mental illness makes everything harder. Scrapping it would feel dishonest somehow. So, here it is. I hope you don’t judge me too harshly.

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Knowledge, Science, Facts, Logic, Truth, and Persuasion

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This post was inspired by my friend Kerri. In May, I wrote a post about Mental Health Awareness Week. It was kind of a jokey post about how I’m trying to have a conversation about mental health, and I didn’t even know there was a week, or a month, set aside for it. I said the week was probably harmless even if it didn’t do any good. Kerri left a comment pointing out how awareness events might actually be harmful. Her comment resonated with me. Then, today, she posted this article, Stop Raising Awareness Already (ssir.org). It’s about how raising awareness does nothing at all to change behaviors and talks about some of the harms of awareness events. Now I want to add my (tangential) two cents.

Public debates (if that’s the right word for it) feature a lot of talk about knowledge, science, facts, logic, truth, and other related ideas. But public debates are not formal debates. You don’t get points for successful refutations or anything like that. The point of public debate is to change minds, to persuade. Unfortunately, knowledge, science, facts, logic, and truth cannot do that.

Probably the smartest thing David Hume wrote (which is saying a lot) is, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” There’s a lot that has been said, and is still to be said, about that quote (maybe I’ll write more another time). For now, though, it’s just important that it is one of my central beliefs. It really explains everything I’m talking about today. Awareness affects knowledge rather than the passions. That’s why it’s a waste. Same thing for using science, facts, logic, and truth. Persuasion is all about the passions.

That’s in large part why my writing style is a bit unconventional. I’m actually quite good at reason and logic and I possess a lot of facts and knowledge, but you wouldn’t know it from reading most of my stuff. Instead, I usually write about how things affect me and people I know. I hope this generates some sympathy which stirs the passions.

It’s also why I’m so frequently critical of people who would seem to be my natural allies. A good example was my essay Privilege | Nutmegger Daily – Quality writing on many topics. I wrote a (hopefully) humorous little story about the way the word privilege activates the passions in a counterproductive way. It’s not that I don’t know the real origins of the word (Peggy McIntosh coined it in 1988 if you’re curious). It’s that starting from there and writing a well-reasoned critique of the social justice use of “privilege” would have been pointless. It would have been dry and boring. And it would have left the passions untouched. I don’t know if I was successful or not, but rather than raising awareness, I was trying to do something.

That’s the real key, doing something. Whether it’s entertaining or persuading or something else, I’m always trying to do something with my writing. And it’s frustrating how many much more successful writers, especially in the political, advocacy, and social justice arenas, don’t. They raise awareness. They present facts. Sometimes they connect those facts in clever ways. But that’s as far as it goes. They don’t do anything and that’s a real problem.

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Inflation

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I, like many people, go grocery shopping weekly. For years, I’ve spent $60ish each week to feed myself, my kid, and supply my home. I went grocery shopping yesterday and it totaled over $100. I didn’t buy more than usual or anything unusual. It was my normal $60 trip except I had to pay an extra $40. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t. My grocery bill has been getting steadily higher for a little while now and inflation is all over the news. It’s just frustrating in at least three ways.

The financial frustration is the most obvious. Things cost more and my income hasn’t kept pace. As a matter of fact, my income is way less than it was just three years ago. I can no longer do the stuff and buy the things I used to. I think most of us are in a similar position right now.

The emotional frustration is directly connected and can be divided into two parts. First is just the result of not being able to do things and buy things. That’s a major stressor. Not to mention it makes self-care extremely difficult. The other part is a bit more abstract, but it mostly comes down to lack of stability. Things are changing too rapidly. I used to have a good sense of what to expect when I went to the store. I no longer do. I’m living with a vague sense that I’m being ripped off whenever I buy something. It’s unpleasant.

The thing that bothers me the most about inflation, though, is the intellectual frustration. I’ve read the economics textbooks. I know what inflation is, the theory behind it, why the Fed raises interest rates to combat it, and all that stuff. The thing that’s so frustrating is that the professional economists don’t seem to know more than I do. I’m, at best, a curious amateur when it comes to economics, but I’ve been able to predict every move the government has made this year. Where’s the innovation and experimentation? I don’t even hear any discussion of trying something different.

There are things beyond hiking interest rates that can help. In Connecticut, for example, they did pass some measures to combat the rise is gas prices. They suspended the gas tax and they made busses free for a few months. The first part of that was silly, as I’ve talked about before. Anyone who seriously thinks that gas would be $0.25 more per gallon with the tax is being naive. Gas stations are charging as much as the market will bear. The other half of it, though, is brilliant. Free public transit means people can get where they’re going and not have to pay for gas at all. Plus, the drop in demand should help lower gas prices going forward. The problem is, the Governor won’t shut up about suspending the gas tax, but there’s not a peep about the free busses.

The government could also use the strategic oil reserve to help (although I don’t like that idea). Or they could step in and fix the supply chain issues that are behind so much of this round of inflation. When they’re functioning again, they could even regulate them so there is more slack so this doesn’t happen again. I don’t hear Biden or Congress trying to do any such things, though.

It would be far less frustrating if the government stopped looking at inflation as a problem and started looking at it as an opportunity. Does oil cost too much? Let’s all stop using oil. Is food too expensive? Let’s redesign the food market entirely. Are houses unaffordable? Let’s redesign real estate. The fact is, as I’ve said many times before, our economy has been broken for at least fifty years now. Why are we content to live with it? Why do we keep trying the same old things? I’d really like to know.

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Feeding the Birds

My setup

I’m officially an old man. I have a fairly new hobby; I started it last fall. I set up bird feeders in my yard and now I enjoy watching the birds that visit my feeders. I used to have a neighbor that fed birds. I always appreciated seeing them as I went out my back door. About a year ago, he moved and couldn’t take the bird feeders with him, so he gave them to me. I didn’t start right away because I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy it.

I generally have out thistle seed, dried mealworms, suet, fruit (usually oranges), peanuts, and two feeders of general birdseed and I get a pretty wide variety of birds. Here are the birds I notice frequently:

Finches –

Photo by Mark Olsen on Unsplash

Finches love the thistle seed and eat some of the general birdseed, too. They are lovely little birds. The goldfinch is the most spectacular, but I also get house finches and purple finches (which don’t have any purple that I can see).

Sparrows –

Photo by Raju Bhupatiraju on Unsplash

I get a few kinds of sparrows, but mostly the house sparrow. It’s a European import and it’s everywhere. You don’t even need feeders to see these birds.

Starlings –

Photo by John Yunker on Unsplash

European starlings are another import that are everywhere. They eat everything they can fit in their beaks. It’s kind of crazy.

Grackles –

Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

The common grackle is one of my favorites. There’s something about the iridescent head. It’s just neat.

Mourning doves –

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

I spent most of my life thinking they were morning doves rather than mourning doves. I don’t find the sound they make to be particularly sad. The funny thing about these doves is they spend all their time on the ground under the feeders. Birds are messy. They must eat all the dropped food.

Woodpeckers –

Photo by Brad Weaver on Unsplash

I get three kinds of woodpecker: downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and red-bellied woodpeckers (which don’t have red bellies). I don’t know why, but I get excited whenever I see a woodpecker. They are cool birds. They love the suet and the mealworms.

Cardinals –

Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

Cardinals seem to like the general birdseed. They add a nice splash of color to the feeder festivities.

Blue jays –

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A lot of people don’t like blue jays because they are loud and aggressive. I find that’s just around their nests. At the feeders, they keep to themselves. And they’re definitely pretty birds.

Orioles –

Photo by Mark Olsen on Unsplash

I’m saving my favorite for last. The Baltimore oriole is the flashiest bird that visits my yard. They love the fruit I put out and occasionally take some of the suet if it’s a berry mix. I seem to see them most at the end of the day.

Those are the most common ones I see. There are some others, like crows, that show up occasionally. Now for some general bird feeding thoughts:

Sparrows and starlings are jerks. All the hate directed at blue jays and squirrels should go to them. They don’t just eat ravenously (see what I did there?), they chase off the other birds. I wish they made bird food that didn’t attract these two.

Squirrels really aren’t a big problem for me. They come around, but mostly leave the birds alone.

The feeders do attract neighborhood cats.

So, there you have it. Feeding the birds may seem a little dorky, but I recommend it. I can spend all day looking out my front window. They really put on a show.

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