Thursday, December 27, 2007
I remember seeing Sam Shepard's play True West on a PBS station once. One day I was flipping through the stations and there was this play with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. Now at the time I had seen a total of zero plays and had no reason to watch one on TV, but for some reason I started watching and couldn't stop. And I would have killed to see two of my favorite actors, John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman doing this play, and switching the roles! Here they are on Charlie Rose discussing the play.
Posted by Chet at 10:01 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We just got back from The Arbor House, a bed and breakfast in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a wonderful, peaceful weekend. Here are a few pictures.
The common room. I love the fireplace!
Here's our room. And our paper christmas tree.
The capitol building.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Shawn Frayne invented an amazing new technology to help harness the energy of wind.
And Sweden has decided to go for it! They plan on being oil free by 2020.
Cafe standards just went up in the U.S. to 35 mpg, but car companies don't have to be compliant until 2010, and there of course is a catch.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
14 Black-footed Ferrets have been reintroduced into Logan County, KS!! This is great news. Audubon of Kansas has played a pivotal role in helping conserve the prairie ecosystem.Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas Executive Director
Recently there has been a lot of controversy in western Kansas because there is a law on the books that allows state authorities to go onto your property and poison prairie dogs. Landowners Larry and Bette Haverfield and Gordon Barnhardt have thwarted this antiquated law along with Audubon of Kansas and kept them from poisoning for now! I have the utmost respect for these people. They are true conservationists. I hope this is a return of the Black-footed Ferret and many other prairie species.Larry and Bette Haverfield
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I was looking through some old photos and found these of Dottie. We got some good news from the vet today. All her tests were within normal levels. She had/has a bladder stone and bladder infection. We still need the x-rays looked at by our vet so we aren't sure yet. These pics are from our first place in Oak Park.
Posted by Chet at 1:13 AM
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So I looked into Reverend Billy and he and his movie "What Would Jesus Buy" will be at the Landmark Theatre in Chicago tomorrow night! Check his website out, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.
You can also check out his blog here.
Posted by Chet at 9:52 AM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Maggie and I went to see The Swell Season perform at The Vic last Saturday evening. The show was amazing. I like to sit at shows because I am lazy and we got there too late to grab a chair so we had to stand. By the time The Swell Season came on stage I was ready to fall over, but as soon as Glen Hansard started playing his Willie Nelson like beat up guitar I lost all my tiredness. Wow! A wonderful show. And the cover of The Pixie's Gigantic with the Glee Club was awesome! Here's a pic from the Sun-Times. And here's a link to the Sun-Times' review and the Tribune's.
Posted by Chet at 3:26 PM
I used to have a dream of going completely off grid and living off the energy from the sun, the earth, and my own body, but that seems like a far off dream (but not totally gone). Maggie and I are trying our hardest to live more simply. We have made a point of spending money on only those things we need. Of course "need" is a relative term. I need good books, food, art, music, movies, and beer! But there are ways to get those things for free or discounted. The library, free days at museums, the garden, coupons, etc... Maybe some day we will live here --
I did find this site, Off Grid--life unplugged, that I enjoy. There are hundreds of sites on living simply. I know if you walk down Michigan Avenue it is hard to believe, but there really is a movement happening. You can call it whatever, green, living simply, slow food, whole earth, Gaia, whatever, but people seem to be changing slowly. Maybe we are just scared of dependency on Mid-East oil or we feel something is missing in our lives, whatever the reasons it feels like something is happening. I hope so. It needs to happen for MANY reasons. We need to take responsibility for our actions. Where does our food come from? Our fuel? Electricity? Who profits from our purchases? Why can't we recycle Starbucks cups? Why does the guy on the El platform dump the recycled paper into the "regular" trash? Why is their regular trash? We try to insulate ourselves from everything. We want convenience, not questions. But we are slowly asking these questions. We are starting to need a connection with family, community, and the earth.
Personally I don't think a person needs to ask these questions so we can prevent global warming and the degradation of natural resources, but because these questions need to be asked to help us become better. These global problems won't be changed until as individuals we feel it is an imperative to do so. And until we question how we live that won't happen.
In college I was a member of Earth First, if there was such a thing. I was just a kid in Kansas pissed at what was happening. Pissed at how stupid we could be. But I am starting to see that our actions and motives behind those actions just aren't that easy to discern, even as the individuals that have the motives and take the actions! It takes a LONG time for groups of people to open their eyes. There are a lot of people to blame (yes I am looking over at big business and our quivering government), but like I said I think it is happening. And it is an accumulation from Aldo Leopold to Rachel Carson to the Beats to hippies to Ralph Nader to Al Gore to any classroom of 3rd graders that start a recycling program.
Posted by Chet at 2:34 PM
Friday, November 16, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I recently read a NY Times review of Nina Berman's photographs of injured Iraq War Veterans called Purple Hearts. One of the photos they showed (not on the front page) was so disturbing that I had pushed it out of my mind until I was rereading Owen's poem. I know it shouldn't take these kinds of images to help me realize we are at war, but sometimes it does.
Posted by Chet at 1:04 PM
Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce Et Decorum Est (It is sweet and right) was written during World War I. Owen died a few days before peace was declared. His mother was notified on the day peace was declared. The entire saying the title comes from is Dulce et decorum est Pro patria morito (It is sweet and right to die for your country)
Dulce Et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
With mustard gas the effects did not become apparent for up to twelve hours. But then it began to rot the body, within and without. The skin blistered, the eyes became extremely painful and nausea and vomiting began. Worse, the gas attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. The pain was almost beyond endurance and most cases had to be strapped to their beds. Death took up to four or five weeks. A nurse wrote:
I wish those people who write so glibly about this being a holy war and the orators who talk so much about going on no matter how long the war lasts and what it may mean, could see a case--to say nothing of ten cases--of mustard gas in its early stages--could see the poor things burnt and blistered all over with great mustard-coloured suppurating blisters, with blind eyes . . . all sticky and stuck together, and always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."
This passage is from John Ellis, Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I, (1976), pp. 66-7.
Posted by Chet at 12:47 PM
Monday, November 05, 2007
We Owe the Dead
this much at least, to wonder
what to call them. From Eve
to just this evening, more than
100 billion—give or take
some millions, depending on when
we start to imagine,
shriek of Australopithecine,
murmur of Homo sapiens.
The din swells with the O, O
of each act of generation,
decibels of mortality, furtive
or brazen. Some signed in,
but most left no way to say
them. Crawling from oceans,
lungs filling with the bloody froth
of moments, they lived only
to be swept into the brine
of dissolution, their unspoken monument
the brittle script of bones.
Who becomes our tribal duty.
Listen. Singing from that oak,
from cave, river rock, fallow field,
spume of sea, the wild wind's guttural.
Every storm and dream roars out
the dear names of the lost.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
"We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies." -- Pablo Picasso
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
While I was birding down in SW Kansas I drove down to Clayton New Mexico specifically to see the dinosaur footprints. I had seen some in Black Mesa, but heard there were many more in Clayton. I wasn't disappointed.
The tracks are actually in Clayton Lake State Park which is north of the town of Clayton. The tracks were found a few years after they started building the dam for the reservoir. It took a while for the sediment on top of the tracks to wash away. The first picture here shows an overview of the area the tracks were found. Pretty much all of the depressions you can see filled with rain water are prints. There are over 500 prints, with 8 species of dinosaur. The area was on the shore of an inland ocean which made for great opportunities to step in some mud.
This last picture fascinates me. The rock shows the shoreline pattern from over a 100 million years ago! The waves formed the ripples in the mud that can be seen here.
There are tracks where you can see a tail dragging. There is only one other instance of this in the world. Usually dinosaurs used their tails for balance and didn't let them touch the ground while walking, but here the dinosaur was off balance walking through the mud and had to catch itself with its tail! There is much detective work still left to do at this site.
It really is an amazing thing to see the actual footprints of dinosaurs. The only thing I would like to see more are the footprints Mary Leaky found of Australopithecus in Tanzania, but still these are older!
While there I found this Western Hognose Snake hanging out in its ancestors' tracks.