Saturday, December 31, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Here's one of the few photos taken of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. These birds were thought to be the last of their species after their trees were cut down in Louisiana (thanks to the wonderful jackasses at the Chicago Mill). They were rediscovered in Arkansas last winter, documented with brief sightings, sound recordings, and a blurry video. I've always had a fascination with this bird and when I heard they had been rediscovered I about had a fit. Let's hope they find more this winter and in other areas of the southeast and keep protecting the few places they could possibly still live!


Here's a poem I found on the APR site by Katie Ford. I usually don't find random poems on the internet that I like. But at first reading I, well, actually read the WHOLE poem which doesn't happen all that often for this ADD'd boy.


I stared at the ruin, the powder of the dead
now beneath ground, a crowd
assembled and breathing with
indiscernible sadnesses, light
from other light, far off
and without explanation. Somewhere unseen
the ocean deepened then and now
into more ocean, the black fins
of the bony fish obscuring
its bottommost floor, carcasses of mollusks
settling, casting one last blur of sand,
unable to close again. Next to me a woman,
the seventeen pins it took to set
her limb, to keep every part flush with blood.


In the book on the ancient mayfly
which lives only four hundred minutes
and is, for this reason, called ephemeral,
I couldn't understand why the veins laid across
the transparent sheets of wings, impossibly
fragile, weren't blown through in their half-day
of flight. Or how that design has carried the species
through antiquity with collapsing
horses, hailstorms and diffracted confusions of light.


If I remember correctly what's missing
broke off all at once, not into streets
but into rows portioned off for shade as it
fell here, the sun there
where the poled awning ended. Didn't the heat
and dust funnel down
to the condemned as they fought
until the animal took them completely? Didn't at least one stand
perfectly still?


I said to myself: Beyond my husband there are strange trees
growing on one of the seven hills.
They look like intricately tended bonsais, but
enormous and with unreachable hollows.
He takes photographs for our black folios,
thin India paper separating one from another.
There is no scientific evidence of consciousness
lasting outside the body. I think when I die
it will be completely.


But it didn't break off all at once.
It turns out there is a fault line under Rome
that shook the theater walls
slight quake by quake. When the empire fell,
the arena was left untended
and exotic plants spread a massive overgrowth,
their seeds brought from Asia and Africa, sown accidentally
in the waste of the beasts.
Like our emptying, then aching questions,
the vessel filled with unrecognizable faunas.


How great is the darkness in which we grope,
William James said, not speaking of the earth, but the mind
split into its caves and plinth from which to watch
its one great fight.

And then, when it is over,
when those who populate your life return
to their curtained rooms and lie down without you,
you are alone, you are quarry.


When the mayflies emerge it is in great numbers
from lakes where they have lived in nymphal skins
through many molts. At the last
a downy skin is shed and what proofed them
is gone. Above water there is
nothing for them to feed on--

they don't even look, except for each other.

They form hurried swarms in that starving, sudden hour
and mate fully. When it is finished it is said
the expiring flies gather beneath boatlights
or lampposts and die under them minutely,
drifting down in a flock called snowfall.


Nothing wants to break, but this wanted to break,
built for slaughter, open arches to climb through,
lines of glassless squares above, elaborate
pulleys raising the animals on platforms
out of the passaged darkness.

When one is the site of so much pain, one must pray
to be abandoned. When abandonment is that much more--
beauty and terror before every witness
and suddenly you are not there.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mar's Rovers still truckin'!

A Martian Sunset

A rover's landing

The rover's Opportunity and Spirit were only supposed to hold up for 90 days, but so far both have made it 2 Years!!

This is a cool Quicktime video of a Dust Devil on Mars

  • NASA's Rover Homepage
  • The Old Guitarist

    I'm sure all of you in the Chicago area have gone to the Art Institute and seen this, but if you haven't, get on your horse! Every time I go I get caught in front of this painting and can't get away. The woman Picasso painted over is haunting. The colors the man his spare guitar his skin his bone fingers his tattered rags, wow!

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    Fear destroys what bin Laden could not

    AFTER 9/11
    Fear destroys what bin Laden could not
    One wonders if Osama bin Laden didn't win after all. He ruined the America that existed on 9/11. But he had help.

    If, back in 2001, anyone had told me that four years after bin Laden's attack our president would admit that he broke U.S. law against domestic spying and ignored the Constitution -- and then expect the American people to congratulate him for it -- I would have presumed the girders of our very Republic had crumbled.

    Had anyone said our president would invade a country and kill 30,000 of its people claiming a threat that never, in fact, existed, then admit he would have invaded even if he had known there was no threat -- and expect America to be pleased by this -- I would have thought our nation's sensibilities and honor had been eviscerated.

    If I had been informed that our nation's leaders would embrace torture as a legitimate tool of warfare, hold prisoners for years without charges and operate secret prisons overseas -- and call such procedures necessary for the nation's security -- I would have laughed at the folly of protecting human rights by destroying them.

    If someone had predicted the president's staff would out a CIA agent as revenge against a critic, defy a law against domestic propaganda by bankrolling supposedly independent journalists and commentators, and ridicule a 37-year Marie Corps veteran for questioning U.S. military policy -- and that the populace would be more interested in whether Angelina is about to make Brad a daddy -- I would have called the prediction an absurd fantasy.

    That's no America I know, I would have argued. We're too strong, and we've been through too much, to be led down such a twisted path.

    What is there to say now?

    All of these things have happened. And yet a large portion of this country appears more concerned that saying ''Happy Holidays'' could be a disguised attack on Christianity.

    I evidently have a lot poorer insight regarding America's character than I once believed, because I would have expected such actions to provoke -- speaking metaphorically now -- mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate. I would have expected proud defiance of anyone who would suggest that a mere terrorist threat could send this country into spasms of despair and fright so profound that we'd follow a leader who considers the law a nuisance and perfidy a privilege.

    Never would I have expected this nation -- which emerged stronger from a civil war and a civil rights movement, won two world wars, endured the Depression, recovered from a disastrous campaign in Southeast Asia and still managed to lead the world in the principles of liberty -- would cower behind anyone just for promising to ``protect us.''

    President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president -- or is that king? -- has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.

    Is that America's highest goal -- preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, ``What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?''

    Bush would have us excuse his administration's excesses in deference to the ''war on terror'' -- a war, it should be pointed out, that can never end. Terrorism is a tactic, an eventuality, not an opposition army or rogue nation. If we caught every person guilty of a terrorist act, we still wouldn't know where tomorrow's first-time terrorist will strike. Fighting terrorism is a bit like fighting infection -- even when it's beaten, you must continue the fight or it will strike again.

    Are we agreeing, then, to give the king unfettered privilege to defy the law forever? It's time for every member of Congress to weigh in: Do they believe the president is above the law, or bound by it?

    Bush stokes our fears, implying that the only alternative to doing things his extralegal way is to sit by fitfully waiting for terrorists to harm us. We are neither weak nor helpless. A proud, confident republic can hunt down its enemies without trampling legitimate human and constitutional rights.

    Ultimately, our best defense against attack -- any attack, of any sort -- is holding fast and fearlessly to the ideals upon which this nation was built. Bush clearly doesn't understand or respect that. Do we?

    Monday, December 26, 2005

    Tai Shan goes outside

    One of the poems that made me want to write poetry

    At the Bomb Testing Site

    At noon in the desert a panting lizard
    waited for history, its elbows tense,
    watching the curve of a particular road
    as if something might happen.

    It was looking for something farther off
    than people could see, an important scene
    acted in stone for little selves
    at the flute end of consequences.

    There was just a continent without much on it
    under a sky that never cared less.
    Ready for a change, the elbows waited.
    The hands gripped hard on the desert.

    William Stafford

    . . .

    We need a president who's fluent in at least one language.
    - Buck Henry

    Friday, December 23, 2005

    Merry Christmas!

    Off to visit family and watch football and A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight!! Everyone have a Merry Christmas!

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Cat Power

    I saw Cat Power play in Seattle at the Crocodile Cafe, it seems like forever ago. She was mostly mumbling and hair, but it was cool seeing her. I'm old now so concerts are few and far between. Old.


    A few favorite movies at 2:00 a.m. -- no particular order

    Raising Arizona
    Shakespeare In Love
    Smoke Signals
    The Usual Suspects
    The Big Lebowski
    Spirited Away (Anything by Miyazaki)
    Dances With Wolves
    Cold Mountain
    Dead Man
    Lost In Translation
    Broken Flowers
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    Pulp Fiction
    Office Space
    A Christmas Story
    Punch Drunk Love
    American Beauty
    Ace Ventura Pet Detective: When Nature Calls
    Watership Down
    Before Night Falls
    Il Postino
    Leaving Las Vegas
    The Last Temptation of Christ
    Of Mice and Men (Sinise and Malkovich)
    The Pianist
    What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
    Edward Scissorhands
    Nightmare Before Christmas

    Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Rob Compton

    Check out my friend Rob Compton's Gallery. I have a couple of his pieces. He does a lot of abstract and not so abstract landscapes. I really love the colors he uses.

    Rilke Rocks!

    The Panther

    His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
    has grown so weary that it cannot hold
    anything else. It seems to him there are
    a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no world.

    As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
    the movement of his powerful soft strides
    is like a ritual dance around a center
    in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

    Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
    lifts, quietly. An image enters in,
    rushes down through the tense, arrested muscles,
    plunges into the heart and is gone.

    -- Rainer Maria Rilke
    translated by Stephen Mitchell

    Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer runs for office

    "Thank you! Thank you very much, thank you! First of all, let me say how happy I am to be your nominee for the United States Senate! [ applause ] You know.. thank you.. I don't really understand your Congress, or your system of checks and balances.. because, as I said during the campaign - I'm just a caveman! I fell on some ice, and later got thawed out by scientists. But there is one thing I do know - we must do everything in our power to lower the Capitol Gains Tax. Thank you!"


    Check out these Great Tits!

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005


    I tried to make a top 20 songs list, but couldn't. Nostalgia vs. current favorites causes too much pain. So I just started with a loose definition of "all time favorites." In no particular order

    Machine Gun - Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsies) Live at the Filmore East
    Kind of Blue (Whole Album) - Miles Davis
    What Would The Community Think (Whole Album) - Cat Power
    Sunday Morning Coming Down - Johnny Cash
    Going Back to Georgia - Nanci Griffith w/Adam Duritz
    Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain - Willie Nelson
    Visions of Johanna - Bob Dylan Live 1966 Royal Albert Hall
    Angeles - Elliot Smith
    Chickenman - Indigo Girls
    Big City - Iris Dement
    Never Far Away - Jack White (Cold Mountain Soundtrack)
    Poems, Prayers, and Promises - John Denver
    Dummy (Whole Album) - Portishead
    Heart Cooks Brain - Modest Mouse
    Rid of Me - P.J. Harvey
    Because The Night - 10,000 Maniacs
    Burn One Down - Ben Harper
    A Love Supreme (Album) - John Coltrane
    Back to the Earth - Rusted Root
    America - Paul Simon
    Rastaman Chant - Bob Marley
    Pancho and Lefty - Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson
    Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key - Billy Bragg w/Natalie Merchant
    Cocaine Blues - Johnny Cash
    Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) - Jimi Hendrix
    Omaha - Counting Crows
    Volcano - Damien Rice
    Rocky Mountain High - John Denver
    Blue Train - John Coltrane
    Another Lonely Day - Ben Harper
    Whiskey River - Willie Nelson
    Concrete Jungle - Bob Marley
    Overkill - Men At Work (Acoustic)
    Out of the Woods - Nickel Creek
    Concrete and Barbed Wire - Lucinda Williams
    Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
    Galileo - Indigo Girls
    Sara - Bob Dylan Live 1975 The Rolling Thunder Revue
    In the Morning - Built To Spill
    All I Want - Joni Mitchell
    Amos Moses - Jerry Reed
    one - U2

    and so on and on

    Thursday, December 15, 2005


    Teaching is for Chumps!

    So last night in a fit of sleep deprived, anxiety ridden, drug induced rage? no, depression? no, some yet to be described clinical diagnosis, I changed my "theme" for my class. I wanted very much to stick with my place/nature thingamajig, but I kept thinking, ya know if the students rain on my parade I'll be much more upset if I am teaching something I really care about. So I am now focusing on "The American Dream" whatever the Hell that means. I think I'll have them watch Office Space, do some work with advertising, pop-culture, read some essays and then end up with the book Into The Wild. Maybe we could just watch movies everyday and my main contribution will be Popcorn???? Good idea? Done.

    and a quote to make this seem a little meatier

    For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.
    - Alice Kahn

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005


    Face Transplant

    Just read this NY Times article,

  • As a Face Transplant Heals, Flurries of Questions Arise

  • Here's a quote from the article, "Reports that the donor committed suicide also have implications for Ms. Dinoire's future, because if true, and if the transplant is successful, it would mean that for the rest of her life, she would see in the mirror the nose, mouth and chin of a woman who herself met a brutal end."

    I can see the hollywood script writer's word processors lighting up as we speak. Move over 21 Grams.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    W's Speechologist

    Have you ever wondered where our president gets his best lines? Look no further.

  • Harlan McCraney, Presidential Speechologist
  • Saturday, December 10, 2005

    The Libertine

    Saw John Malkovich being interviewed for his movie The Libertine the other night. I had seen a trailer for this movie a long time ago, but now I guess it is really coming out. It stars two of my favorite actors -- Depp and Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich! It is being billed as a "contoversial" movie. Whatever it is, it will have good acting at least. It is adapted from a play by Stephen Jeffreys (adapted by the same) that played at Steppenwolf. It's about The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot. Here is a poem by Wilmot that made me laugh.

    A Satire Against Charles II

    I' th' isle of Britain, long since famous grown
    For breeding the best cunts in Christendom,
    There reigns, and oh! long may he reign and thrive,
    The easiest King and best-bred man alive.
    Him no ambition moves to get renown
    Like the French fool, that wanders up and down
    Starving his people, hazarding his crown.
    Peace is his aim, his gentleness is such,
    And love he loves, for he loves fucking much.
    ---Nor are his high desires above his strength:
    His scepter and his prick are of a length;
    And she may sway the one who plays with th' other,
    And make him little wiser than his brother.
    Poor prince! thy prick, like thy buffoons at Court,
    Will govern thee because it makes thee sport.
    'Tis sure the sauciest prick that e'er did swive,
    The proudest, peremptoriest prick alive.
    Though safety, law, religion, life lay on 't,
    'Twould break through all to make its way to cunt.
    Restless he rolls about from whore to whore,
    A merry monarch, scandalous and poor.
    ---To Carwell, the most dear of all his dears,
    The best relief of his declining years,
    Oft he bewails his fortune, and her fate:
    To love so well, and be beloved so late.
    For though in her he settles well his tarse,
    Yet his dull, graceless ballocks hang an arse.
    This you'd believe, had I but time to tell ye
    The pains it costs to poor, laborious Nelly,
    Whilst she employs hands, fingers, mouth, and thighs,
    Ere she can raise the member she enjoys.
    ---All monarchs I hate, and the thrones they sit on,
    ---From the hector of France to the cully of Britain.

    Here's a

  • A John Wilmot site

  • and here's
  • The Libertine Trailer
  • Friday, December 09, 2005

    Terry Tempest Williams

    The book Refuge by TTW was my introduction into the poetry of place. The question of how a landscape/community can shape and hold a person has been with me ever since. Here is an excerpt from an interview with TTW.
    - - -
    London: In An Unspoken Hunger you say, "Perhaps the most radical act we can commit is to stay home." What do you mean by that?

    Williams: I really believe that to stay home, to learn the names of things, to realize who we live among... The notion that we can extend our sense of community, our idea of community, to include all life forms -- plants, animals, rocks, rivers and human beings -- then I believe a politics of place emerges where we are deeply accountable to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our home. Otherwise, who is there to chart the changes? If we are not home, if we are not rooted deeply in place, making that commitment to dig in and stay put ... if we don't know the names of things, if don't know pronghorn antelope, if we don't know blacktail jackrabbit, if we don't know sage, pinyon, juniper, then I think we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation.

    I remember a phone call from a friend of mine who lives along the MacKenzie River. She said, "This is the first year in twenty that the chinook salmon have not returned." This woman knows the names of things. This woman is committed to a place. And she sounded the alarm.
    - - -

    I need to pump out ten poems!

    This morning's crap fest --

    Regret is a town in Kansas.

    Red brick paved main street. Lula’s Diner full at 5:30 a.m. with coffee and talk and silence and more coffee. Hedge rows divert the December wind. Branches like antlers, like elk in rut, cracking, rubbing and with the dawn they light like the first hit on a bowl, -- the boy can’t sleep and the embers flare and cut the edge. The wind is faceless, rattles his window, he shivers and is tired. History is this place. The men grab their cups to go, exhaust pours from flat bed diesels, each one heads to check cattle, talk radio, the ag report. Silos hold near each home. Mailboxes read, Ewerts, Rausch, Eck. K-State Wildcat heads and purple pride banners are doted on like John Deere engines, the wife’s Christmas pumpkin pie.

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Troglodytes troglodytes

    Here is one of my favorite birds, a Winter Wren. They are fellow hole dwellers hence the scientific name. They are only 4 inches long and are loud and non-stop singers. While doing surveys on the Olympic Peninsula they were one of the most common birds because I could hear them as soon as I stepped out of the truck.

    Now here's a photo that made me laugh. This is what a Winter Wren probably wants the banders to kiss!

  • Winter Wren
  • Albert Goldbarth

    Here's a pic of my professor from WSU. I love 70's pictures of poets. The American Poetry Review has a collection of their

  • Photos
  • That's where I dug this one up.

    Here's a review/article on Professor Goldbarth on

  • I really love his poetry. I could never write like him so when I read it I get to just sit down and enjoy instead of thinking about how I could try doing what he does.

    The Original Troglodyte

    Two NY Times Headlines

    Suicide Bomber Hits Bus in Baghdad, Killing at Least 30

    Economy Lifts Bush's Support in Latest Poll

    So, as long as I've got mine all is good with the world? Let's go capitalism, let's go!!! No really, just go.


    A bit blurry, but here is a picture of the greatest kitty of all days! She can't type as well as Shimmy, but she has other secret talents.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    I can't sleep so here's my umpteenth post tonight

    Here's a photo I took on our trip to Zion National Park. The petroglyphs there were pretty amazing. Here we have some guys riding a snake (Jim Morrison would be proud), a couple in the bottom left walking like Egyptians, and another couple top right that are doing "it."

    Go Shockers!!

    So my alma mater is Wichita State University. I used to attend the men's basketball games religously and still keep up with them (mainly by listening to play by play on the web). Tonight my Shockers beat the San Francisco Don's. What the hell is a Don? My brother in law's name is Don. But I'm sure you are asking what in the hell is a Shocker? Well I guess it is someone who is harvesting wheat (at least in the olden timey days). Here is a cool site showing some

  • Wheat Shocking
  • and here is our oh so cuddly mascot
  • Wu Shock

  • I used to think this was a pretty lame mascot, but now I love and identify with it completely. Kansas rules!!

    Anyway, they won and are doing well at 7-1. Their only loss was to the defending national champion runner-ups, Illinois. And they only lost by one point. They play the nationally ranked Michigan State Spartans next and will probably lose, but I'll still be cheering!

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Wes Jackson

    I've been a big fan of Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute, for quite a while now. He is one of the few people in the world that seems to be looking for practical solutions to environmental problems. Here is a short write up on him in the newest Smithsonian. There are better more detailed descriptions of his ideas and work elsewhere on the internet and in those bound paper things with ink scrawl inside.

  • Wes Jackson
  • Well Here I Go Again

    Why I am doing this is a mystery to me. But I don't want to do work for school so here it is!!!!!

    What exactly, you might say.

    good question.