Friday, August 25, 2006

Robert Penn Warren

So I've been trying to get some kind of handle on my thesis. I've decided on Robert Penn Warren's book "Audubon: A Vision." It has always been my favorite poem and now I'm starting to understand why. The myth of Audubon is an American myth and one in which I feel we should learn from (with Warren's help of course). Joseph Campbell talks about the loss of ritual and rights of passage that come with a loss of myth. To me this poem is a new myth for our age. A myth for the individual in the expanse and so called freedom of America. "Passion--what/is man but his passion?"

Penn Warren won three Pulitzers, two for poetry and one for his novel "All The King's Men." Towards the end of his life poetry was all he cared about. And it got better. I am amazed when I run into people who have never heard of him. Here's a stanza I return to often.

His life, at the end, seemed--even the anguish--simple
Simple, at least, in that it had to be
Simply, what it was, as he was,
In the end, himself and not what
He had known he ought to be.

When I think about the first time I read this poem it mixes with so many memories of my childhood and my passing out of childhood.

VII Tell Me A Story

Long ago in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward.

This passage mingles so much of what this poem means to me, from the beginning of wanting to write poetry to the importance of the small instances of my life to the power of my yearning to be a part of the "other" while still being only who I am.

For me the poem is deeply personal, but at the same time American and communal. Because art is communal. Audubon had to destroy that which he wanted to share. His art was how he came closer to the world. His ideal word. And the ideal is the only way humans can continue.

Tell me a story.

In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Two Years on Mars

The rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been on Mars over two years now even though they were made for a three month stay. I'm always amazed when I see the photos they send back. Here's a newer one I like.

For a nice flash program on the mission click here then click on +Flash Feature.

And as Jack Horkheimer says, "Keep looking up!"

I love the smell of Walnuts in the morning!

The other day I picked up a walnut and had a rush of childhood memories. Good ones thankfully! Wow, the husks of walnuts have the most distinctive, wonderful smell in the world!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Dumb Are We?

from National

This chart depicts the public acceptance of evolution theory in 34 countries in 2005. Adults were asked to respond to the statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." The percentage of respondents who believed this to be true is marked in blue; those who believed it to be false, in red; and those who were not sure, in yellow.

A study of several such surveys taken since 1985 has found that the United States ranks next to last in acceptance of evolution theory among nations polled. Researchers point out that the number of Americans who are uncertain about the theory's validity has increased over the past 20 years.

Home On The Range

Have the tables turned?

August 2, 2006—Residents of Fort Providence in Canada's Northwest Territories are having a cow about their latest pest-control problem.

Several wild buffalo have invaded the small northern town (Canada map), rubbing siding off houses, head-butting trucks, and even scaring kids off the playground.

The nuisance bovines have been roaming Fort Providence since May, according to a report from the AFP news service. Officials believe the buffalo, which are part of a wild herd of about 2,400, were drawn to the town's manicured lawns and lack of predators.

"You're sure to run into one when you walk to the corner store for milk," the town's resource officer Darren Campbell told AFP.

"One of them kicked a vehicle. Try and get an insurance claim done after your car was kicked by a buffalo," Campbell said. "The adjustor will just laugh at you."

At least one buffalo in Canada discovered the ease of suburban living a few years back. This photo from April 2004 shows a trained buffalo named Bailey eating a meal with rancher Jim Sautner at his home in Spruce Grove near Edmonton, Alberta.

Meanwhile, most of Fort Providence's pesky critters have started moving back into the surrounding forests to search for mates. But two "trouble" buffalo were shot in mid-July for refusing to vacate. The town is now seeking buffalo-control officers to gently encourage the rest of the animals to leave.

—Victoria Gilman

Thursday, August 10, 2006

You know you want it!!!

More pictures of Dottie!!!!!

AAAARRGGHHHH!!!!! Walk the plank you scurvy scallywag!!

Maggie and I went to Tall Ships Chicago. When I was a kid I was a huge pirate nerd. It was cool to get to see some ships up close. And if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present the last picture is what I want. Just under a grand!