Saturday, June 30, 2012


Summer, Saturday night — here's summer Saturday night in case you haven't felt it yet via Big Joe Turner. He was wide in girth and sang across the chasms. Took you into Sunday morning; took you to the Fourth of July. He'll bring it up in this song.

Love Rollercoaster by Big Joe Turner on Grooveshark

Who doesn't like a rollercoaster, just to look at! You can stay on the ground if you want to. Who doesn't like the Fourth of July? Fireworks?! You can still hide away on the Fourth of July.

Revere Beach rollercoaster & boardwalk, 1914

For American history sake, Henry David Thoreau moved to his habitat Walden Pond on the Fourth of July 1845. It was a small, self-built and well-built hut on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The hut was in "a pretty pasture and woodlot" of 14 acres that Emerson had bought,1.5 miles from his family home. Think of that when crowded with heralders, noise, traffic, shoppers, fireworks, jams, bonanza wheeling & dealing. One of the great experiments in American history, so long ago, and today if you make a visit to the pond it doesn't look any older than you.

Play the song a few times. It's a rollercoaster.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

"Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"

early 20th c. photograph of Thoreau's Walden site with stone cairn
(there to this day, enlarged, a stone at a time)

Henry David Thoreau's last sentence, while dying
"Now comes good sailing"

Friday, June 29, 2012


Today is Cid Corman's birthday. If you don't know who Cid Corman is, Google his name and go and have some fun exploring. I could pinpoint to our own website of Cid and a ton of his books we have available by Cid but you'll come across all that if you go searching. It's sometimes fun to search, especially on a summer day. Or evening.

We were painting the big red farmhouse today and as I started to climb the 30 foot aluminum ladder with swinging paint bucket in my right hand, Sweetheart said from her step-ladder below, matter of factually, "Today's Cid's birthday."

It was said with such common decency, like, "Look at those morning glories." No pomp and ceremony. Like it will be important and will be with us all through the painting day, and so it was.

And so I loved two people even more.

drawing of Cid Corman © bob arnold
Calligraphy by Shizumi Corman
Cid Corman
(b. 29 June 1924)


Dama & D'Gary 1 by Dama & D'Gary on Grooveshark

The Long Way Home [Shanachie, 1994]

Dama is a classic folkie, a cosmopolitan leftist credited with inventing Malagasy nueva cancion, an elected legislator as renowned in Madagascar as Victor Jara was in Chile. D'Gary is a classic find, a prodigy-protégé from cattle country where the main road is an 11-hour walk away. Though their rainbow rhythms are formally unique and patently pleasurable, not even producer Henry Kaiser claims to apprehend them fully. The hook is D'Gary's distinctively Malagasy way with his recently acquired guitar, and even more, since that wasn't enough to put his solo album over, Dama's calm, good-humored, deeply assured vocal presence--a politician's gift from a place and time where oratory is still entertainment. Despite excellent notes, the satisfactions remain fairly general for the English speaker. But Kaiser and friends' understated filigrees remind me that said satisfactions far exceed those of similar projects--Ry Cooder's Ali Farka Toure soundtrack, say. B+

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have read some reports from Estonia that detest this book, its author, the ground he stomps around on. You just have to get used to Alexander Theroux. He isn't out, necessarily, to make new friends; he's living, a moving target, carousing, thinking steadily, deadly opinionated and probably already hates the semicolon I've used in this sentence. He goes nuts if a percentage point has a comma typo instead of the appropriate period. Or, better, decimal point. He's fussy, flinty, and while he does write about the visit with his artist~wife (Sarah Son-Theroux) to Estonia, and it is one of her paintings on the book jacket, this beast Theroux can't help himself but to storm off-message and attack or support almost any other subject you could possibly think of. He's not of this time, he's of his own time. It doesn't matter what I think. I want to know what his travel writing scholar brother Paul Theroux would think of the book, and would he include it in his pantheon of travel writing classics The Tao of Travel? I don't believe Paul Theroux is capable of writing a book like this one. Maybe Celine would have, if he wanted to bother. I'd like to see a sequence from this Estonia, maybe the chapter "Rumble Strips on the Road", embedded in the Tao.


Poking Around the Periphery

Although Estonia is presently considered a high-technology country, computer-wired and all — citizens were given permission in 2007 to cast ballots by way of the Internet in parliamentary elections, and by parliamentary approval it will become the very first country to allow its citizens to cast their votes by mobile telephone in the next parliamentary election in 2011 — I began slowly to suspect that too much of the country was still local and pretty much a boat-axe culture of potato-sellers and loggers, apiculturists and cabbage-hoers. I took for granted that it was all there in the Kalevipoeg, the national epic, which in its legends depicts a rude and rustic world. So was I correct in my smug and self-assured estimate? Not at all. The incontrovertible fact is that Estonia has the third-highest literacy rate in the entire world (99.8), following — yes — Georgia and Cuba, higher than the United States. Its almost unresponsive smallness is what gives it, sadly, the rustification tag. Sparse as Norway, which has the lowest population density in Europe—only 4,3000,000 people — Estonia has fewer residents than the present-day Gaza Strip, only a few more people than Mauritania. Estonia's dwindling population-rate which has not quite reached the lower reproductive potential of the California condor poses something of a scandal even to them, and to know that it ranks somewhere near the bottom of the world in terms of world-population is a source of no small awkwardness and, to a large degree, even sorry to them. With only 1.3 million inhabitants, Estonia is one of the least populous countries in the European Union. The current fertility rate there is 1.41 children per mother. (Benefits for pregnancy in Estonia include a more-than-generous 16-month paid leave for the mother-to-be, so eagerly are births welcomed there.) I was often reminded of this in the way that Estonias almost superstitiously love children — to see, to pamper them — even though in a weird paradox they seem to rarely hold them. During the Soviet occupation, the country of Estonia also had the highest rate of emigration than any of the other Soviet republics, with people looking to emigrate at every possibility.

I walked everywhere. I tried, by walking, to observe the people and places. Walking in the electric blue cold always helped me proceed much faster and perhaps more purposefully. Harry Truman on his post-presidential constitutionals — for exercise — always saw to it that the fast pace he kept was precisely 120 steps per minute! I will bet that on a windy Baltic winter day if I did not match him, I came close. I walked past beet fields, through green mists and spoiling fog, walked out at night to outlying highways where it was eerie and soundless until roaring trucks would go past like a herd of Triceratops.

A sense of depletion in the outlying sections of Estonia still sadly maintains. There is a vastness of long woods outside all main cities. Nearly 40% of the country is forested, mainly with pine and birches along the coasts. Cutting down trees and selling lumber is probably the major small industry there, for its forests are vast, its countryside a flat, ongoing sameness.

Food, construction and newly-burgeoning electronic industries are Estonia's most important. The country exports mainly machinery and equipment, wood and paper, textiles, food products, furniture, metals, and chemicals products. It also exports 1,562 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The country had a frighteningly high unemployment rate — 14.3% — in 2010. It has a fairly high tax burden, with its VAT (value added tax) of 20% to make the comparison, even higher than it presently is in the UK. Its border with Russia is the fourth highest in Europe, but, from what I managed to see, little of significance is happening along that eastern march. A visitor looks around to try to find a figure in the carpet. What exactly is there in the country's profile that can be drawn as a way to know them? I felt confounded in the main, for there is in the national personality a guard that is rarely dropped, a methodical indifference that with an almost fatally easy sense of disobligation steadily refuses to invite one in. A want of identity is invariably a topic raised but rarely pursued in essential Estonian conversation. I have always considered it depressingly apposite to this situation, a sort of objective correlative, that in Theodore H. White's
Fire in the Ashes, a book that specifically addressed the subject of "Europe in mid-century," an astute, thoroughgoing report documenting the Soviet bloc and the merciless stranglehold that it held on so much of Europe for so long, he mentions the country of Estonia not at all. The country is not named, not referenced, never alluded to, not once. Neither is Latvia or Lithuania, and that includes the index. So much for postwar value.

I mention technology. Skype, the Internet telephone service, was once strictly as Estonian company. It was the pride of Estonia. It was bought in 2006 by eBay for more than two billion dollars. In May of 2011, however, Microsoft went on to purchase Skype for $8.5 billion in cash, the largest acquisition that Microsoft has ever made, but chump change for the Seattle giant. As I say, Estonia is more than just technologically hip; it is mobile-phone addicted and completely Internet-literate. (In 2010, Estonia got rid of every one of its street telephone booths and canceled the use of telephone cards intended for them. The number of calls made from them had decreased by 30 times over the past 10 years, and they were no longer in demand.) In this small country, Wi-Fi is everywhere. Voting can be done on-line by way of a national identity card. I believe that they have more cell phones in the country, percentage-wise, than does the United States, and there they are used for everything from buying newspapers from a vending machine to selecting numbers in the lottery to ascertaining when the next bus is coming. It is amazing how geekishly "connected" the country is in regard to technology. Identity cards in general are popular entry tools. As a visitor to that country, I had to buy a card in the University of Tartu library just to walk around. I may mention here, however, that Estonia is a highly dependent country in terms of energy and energy production. In recent years many companies have been investing in renewable energy sources. Wind power and interest in it has been increasing steadily in Estonia, and many projects in wind, to capture the robust east wind coming across from Russia, or sinewy west wind relentlessly driving in from the oceans, are being thoroughly developed even as I write. The country, which has no nuclear plant, however, is presently investigating nuclear power and looking to increase its oil shale production.

While technological growth is hugely important for the country, one also hopes that coming out of a long night of relative obscurity Estonia will not become a slave to science at the expense of free-ranging imagination. H.G. Wells' verdict on Lenin was that he was "a dreamer in technology." Lenin's gnomic remark, "Communism is Electrification plus Soviets" surely indicates a blind faith in the machine as savior and agent of socialism. As Andre Malaraux told Bruce Chatwin,

As the young have discovered, the secret divinity of the twentieth-century is science. But Science is incapable of forming character. The more people talk of human sciences, the less effect human sciences have on man. You know as well as I do that psychoanalysis has never made a man. And the formation of man is his most pressing problem facing humanity.

Estonia by Alexander Theroux
Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle WA 98115

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


May 19, 1941 ~June 26, 2012

I didn't at all like hearing that Nora Ephron may be dying. Then moments later in Internet-life, she was gone. That can't be possible — not a writer like Ephron, with her dazzle and humor and bite. I almost like her style and swift delivery as much as I like Saroyan. She writes the size of book that you can go to the library when it opens and find her latest book and have it all read by noon time. Go out (it's raining) and have a pizza slice and a Coke with your sweetheart, then come back and read another book — maybe the one that came out recently about
To Kill A Mockingbird. Another terrific writer. Another woman. It isn't lost on me that these writers are women, and it isn't lost on them that they write like only a woman can. A different verve and tough humor that most men never realize. Spunk, yes, that's what it is.

When Nora Ephron is gone a little bit of spunk will be gone. But she'll never be gone. There are books and her films; and you know, no one looked like her either.

Selected filmography

(1983) Silkwood (writer)
(1986) Heartburn (writer, novel)
(1989) When Harry Met Sally... (writer, associate producer)
(1989) Cookie (writer, executive producer)
(1990) My Blue Heaven (writer, executive producer)
(1992) This Is My Life (director, writer)
(1993) Sleepless in Seattle (director, writer)
(1994) Mixed Nuts (director, writer)
(1996) Michael (director, writer, producer)
(1998) Strike! / The Hairy Bird / All I Wanna Do (executive producer)
(1998) You've Got Mail (director, writer, producer)
(2000) Hanging Up (writer, producer)
(2000) Lucky Numbers (director, producer)
(2005) Bewitched (director, writer, producer)
(2009) Julie & Julia (director, writer, producer)

Awards & Nominations

(1979) Perfect Gentlemen -Best Television Feature or Miniseries- Edgar Allan Poe Awards (Nominated)
(1984) Silkwood -Best Drama Written Directly for Screen- Writers Guild of America Awards (Nominated)
(1984) Silkwood -Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for Screen- Academy Awards (Nominated)
(1990) When Harry Met Sally -Best Screenplay for Motion Picture- Golden Globes (Nominated)
(1990) When Harry Met Sally -Best Original Screenplay- BAFTA Awards (Won)
(1990) When Harry Met Sally -Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for Screen- Academy Awards (Nominated)
(1990) When Harry Met Sally -Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen- Writers Guild of America Awards (Nominated)
(1994) Sleepless in Seattle -Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for Screen- Academy Awards (Nominated)
(1994) Sleepless in Seattle -Best Original Screenplay- BAFTA Awards (Nominated)
(1994) Sleepless in Seattle -Best Screenplay Written Directly for Screen- Writers Guild of America (Nominated)
(1994) Crystal Award- Women in Film Crystal Awards (Won)
(1999) You've Got Mail -Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical- Satellite Awards (Nominated)
(2003) Ian McLellan Hunter Award - Writers Guild of America Awards (Won)
(2006) Bewitched -Worst Screenplay- Razzie Awards (Nominated)
(2009) Julie & Julia -Best Screenplay, Adapted- Satellite Awards (Nominated)
(2009) Golden Apple Award- Casting Society of America (Won)
(2010) Julie & Julia -Best Screenplay, Adapted- Writers Guild of America Awards (Nominated)[14]

Essay collections

Crazy Salad
Wallflower at the Orgy
(2010) I Remember Nothing: And other Reflections
(2006) I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
(1975) The Boston Photographs

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Drummond Hadley

Drummond Hadley has lived and worked over forty years along the Mexico-New Mexico-Arizona border as a cowboy and rancher. He is most recently the author of Borderlands and The Light Before Dawn, plus a handful of strategic books of poetry and song. Drum founded the Animas Foundation, which supports sustainable agriculture in step with the environment. He is also a founding member of the Malpai Borderlands Group, a community-based ecosystem management project. He lives in the Arizona-New Mexico borderlands, when not tucked away in the James Fenimore Cooper region of New York State.

Thinking of Drummond Hadley

I first met Drummond Hadley about a quarter century ago when we drove from Vermont into New York State to hear him read with mutual friend Jim Koller. Both poets spaced their readings nicely, revealing their long friendship, and I thought Drum that night sounded like Jimmy Stewart.

Our next 'meeting' was when my book of poems
Where Rivers Meet was published and I don't know how Drum got a copy but he got a copy and he called me from his southwestern ranch. He told me it was on his cellphone and he had driven to the highest point he could find on the land where he was working, standing outside of his pickup truck and he wanted to tell me what the book of poems meant to him. Certainly memorable to me.

The third time was just yesterday when Jim Koller was visiting here and wanting to go over to New York State to visit with Drummond. He was concerned about his old friend's health. We all are, too.

Monday, June 25, 2012



We read aloud on the sidewalk eventually at kneeling level
The legs can only take so much

There is another world halfway down toward the earth
Cigarette butts come large, dogs are more our size

While a poet friend prepares
One of her new poems to read

I ask three little girl chums in very pretty rainbow wash clothing
If they would like to sit awhile and hear some poetry?

“Sure!!!” they cheer

They sit immediately attentive, dazzling keepsake wallets & purses
They hear the poem, talk about the poem, say they have written poems

The Earth momentarily seems healed

all true, I'm but a camera
photo : national geographic

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Larry Davis
(December 4, 1936 – April 19, 1994)

A terrific blues guiatrist and soul singer, too little known except by die-hards to the blues, Davis is best known for composing "Texas Flood", later made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Davis blues tune is perfect for the bar arena and the long open road. A blues life, motorcycle accident, and passing away to cancer at age 57 has kept his discography sadly shortened. Play some songs.

Penitentary Blues by Larry Davis on Grooveshark

Funny Stuff (1982) - Rooster Blues
I Ain't Beggin' Nobody (1987) Evidence
Sooner or Later (1992) Bullseye Blues
B.B. King Presents Larry Davis (2002)
Sweet Little Angel (2002) - P-Vine Records

Goin' Out West by Larry Davis on Grooveshark


Peter F. Drucker

Back Road Chalkies

Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an influential writer, management consultant, and self-described “social ecologist".

Back Road Chalkie
photo © bob arnold

Books by Peter F. Drucker

1939: The End of Economic Man (New York: The John Day Company)
1942: The Future of Industrial Man (New York: The John Day Company)
1946: Concept of the Corporation (New York: The John Day Company)
1950: The New Society (New York: Harper & Brothers)
1954: The Practice of Management (New York: Harper & Brothers)
1957: America's Next Twenty Years (New York: Harper & Brothers)
1959: Landmarks of Tomorrow (New York: Harper & Brothers)
1964: Managing for Results (New York: Harper & Row)
1967: The Effective Executive (New York: Harper & Row)
1969: The Age of Discontinuity (New York: Harper & Row)
1970: Technology, Management and Society (New York: Harper & Row)
1971: The New Markets and Other Essays (London: William Heinemann Ltd.)
1971: Men, Ideas and Politics (New York: Harper & Row)
1971: Drucker on Management (London: Management Publications Limited)
1973: Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices' (New York: Harper & Row)
1976: The Unseen Revolution: How Pension Fund Socialism Came to America (New
York: Harper & Row)
1977: People and Performance: The Best of Peter Drucker on Management (New York: Harper's College Press)
1978: Adventures of a Bystander" (New York: Harper & Row)
1980: Managing in Turbulent Times (New York: Harper & Row)
1981: Toward the Next Economics and Other Essays (New York: Harper & Row)
1982: The Changing World of Executive (New York: Harper & Row)
1982: The Last of All Possible Worlds (New York: Harper & Row)
1984: The Temptation to Do Good (London: William Heinemann Ltd.)
1985: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (New York: Harper & Row)
1986: The Frontiers of Management: Where Tomorrow's Decisions are Being Shaped Today (New York: Truman Talley Books/E.D. Dutton)
1989: The New Realities: in Government and Politics, in Economics and Business, in Society and World View (New York: Harper & Row)
1990: Managing the Nonprofit Organization: Practices and Principles (New York: Harper Collins)
1992: Managing for the Future (New York: Harper Collins)
1993: The Ecological Vision (New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers)
1993: Post-Capitalist Society (New York: HarperCollins)
1995: Managing in a Time of Great Change (New York: Truman Talley Books/Dutton)
1997: Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi (Tokyo: Diamond Inc.)
1998: Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management (Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing)
1999: Management Challenges for 21st Century (New York: Harper Business)
2001: The Essential Drucker (New York: Harper Business)
2002: Managing in the Next Society (New York: Truman Talley Books/St. Martin’s Press)
2002: A Functioning Society (New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers)
2004: The Daily Drucker (New York: Harper Business)
2008 (posthumous): The Five Most Important Questions (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Yves Bonnefoy

(born 24 June 1923)

Happy Birthday !

French poet and essayist, Bonnefoy was born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, the son of a railroad worker and a teacher. His works are at the same time poetic and theoretical, examining the meaning of the spoken and written word.


I long to grant eternity

To this flake

That alights on my hand,

By making my life, my warmth,

My past, my present days

Into a moment: the boundless

Moment of now.

But already it's no more

Than a bit of water, lost in the fog

Of bodies moving through snow.


À ce flocon

Qui sur ma main se pose, j'ai désir

D' assurer l'éternel

En faisant de ma vie, de ma chaleur,

De mon passé, de ces jours d'à présent,

Un instant simplement : cet instant-ci, sans bornes.

Mais déjà il n'est plus

Qu'un peu d'eau, qui se perd

Dans la brume des corps qui vont dans la neige.


New Poetry and Prose 1991-2011
( Yale / Margellos )

translated by Hoyt Rogers

photo : Eric Garault pour Lire

Friday, June 22, 2012


please click on the image to enlarge

The first and last time I saw Pulp Fiction on the big screen I was still eating meat, which is now a long time ago. The American brand hamburger and fries had an acting role all it own in the film. So afterwards the merry pranksters I was with all had to go out together and chow down at a royal hamburger feast. It almost completes the film. One of my other fondest memories of the film was the opening credits — huge and thrilling as they unrolled. Lighting up the dark theater. Pure cinema. Its moment.

Digital design student Noah Smith created this visualization of the classic film for his class - posted it on where you can have a look and support his dream scheme. He's taken the film, and your mind, and attempted to put it into order.

Image credit with thanks :

( NOT )

"The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, would extend health coverage to millions of uninsured people, establish new consumer protections and seek to reorganize the delivery of care with the intent of lowering costs and boosting efficiency.

But 26 U.S. states have asked the high court to overturn the measure, saying it exceeds the federal government's constitutional authority.

Polls show the law, dubbed "Obamacare" by critics, is unpopular with most Americans. Republicans have vowed to repeal anything the Supreme Court leaves standing."

NYTimes 22 June 2012

Way to go, Americans!


"country'll grow" Bob Dylan

"I Shall Be Free"

Well, I took me a woman late last night

I's three-fourths drunk she looked all right
'Til she started peelin' off her onion gook
She took off her wig, said, "How do I look" ?
I's high flyin', bare naked ...Out the window.

Well, sometimes I might get drunk

Walk like a duck and smell like a skunk
Don't hurt me none, don't hurt my pride
'Cause I got my little lady right by my side
(She's a tryin' a hide pretendin'
She don't know me).

I's out there paintin' on the old wood shed

When a can a black paint it fell on my head
I went down to scrub and rub
But I had to sit in back of the tub
(Cost a quarter
Half price).

Well, my telephone rang it would not stop

It's President Kennedy callin' me up
He said, "My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow" ?
I said, "My friend, John, "Brigitte Bardot,
Anita Ekberg
Sophia Loren"
Country'll grow.

Well, I got a woman five feet short

She yells and hollers and squeals and snorts
She tickles my nose pats me on the head
Blows me over and kicks me out of bed
(She's a man eater
Meat grinder
Bad loser).

Oh, there ain't no use in me workin' alla time

I got a woman who works herself blind
Works up to her britches, up to her neck
Write me letters and sends me checks
(She's a humdinger
Folk singer).

Late one day in the middle of the week

Eyes were closed I was half asleep
I chased me a woman up the hill
Right in the middle of an air drill
(I jumped a fallout shelter
I jumped the string bean
I jumped the TV dinner
I jumped the shot gun).

Now, the man on the stand he wants my vote

He's a-runnin' for office on the ballot note
He's out there preachin' in front of the steeple
Tellin' me he loves all kinds-a people
(He's eatin' bagels
He's eatin' pizza
He's eatin' chitlins).

Oh, set me down on a television floor

I'll flip the channel to number four
Out of the shower comes a football man
With a bottle of oil in his hand
(Greasy kid stuff
What I want to know, Mr. Football Man, is
What do you do about Willy Mays
Martin Luther King

Well, the funniest woman I ever seen

Was the great-granddaughter of Mr. Clean
She takes about fifteen baths a day
Wants me to grow a moustache on my face
(She's insane).

Well, ask me why I'm drunk alla time

It levels my head and eases my mind
I just walk along and stroll and sing
I see better days and I do better things
(I catch dinosaurs
I make love to Elizabeth Taylor ...
Catch hell from Richard Burton !).


Ali Farzat

Ali Farzat (born 22 June 1951, Hama, Syria), is a renowned Syrian political cartoonist.

Happy Birthday !

UK: the Guardian

Thursday, June 21, 2012


a French country house library


Amazon rainforest activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, who were murdered last year.
Photograph: Reuters

Environmental activists 'being killed at rate of one a week'

Death toll of campaigners involved in protection of forests, rivers and land has almost doubled in three years

The struggle for the world's remaining natural resources is becoming more murderous, according to a new report that reveals that environmental activists were killed at the rate of one a week in 2011.

The death toll of campaigners, community leaders and journalists involved in the protection of forests, rivers and land has risen dramatically in the past three years, said Global Witness.

Brazil – the host of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development – has the worst record for danger in a decade that has seen the deaths of more than 365 defenders, said the briefing, which was released on the eve of the high-level segment of the Earth Summit.

The group called on the leaders at Rio to set up systems to monitor and counter the rising violence, which in many cases involves governments and foreign corporations, and to reduce the consumption pressures that are driving development into remote areas.

"This trend points to the increasingly fierce global battle for resources, and represents the sharpest of wake-up calls for delegates in Rio," said Billy Kyte, campaigner at Global Witness.

The group acknowledges that their results are incomplete and skewed towards certain countries because information is fragmented and often missing. This means the toll is likely to be higher than their findings, which did not include deaths related to cross-border conflicts prompted by competition for natural resources, and fighting over gas and oil.

Brazil recorded almost half of the killings worldwide, the majority of which were connected to illegal forest clearance by loggers and farmers in the Amazon and other remote areas, often described as the "wild west".

Among the recent high-profile cases were the murders last year of two high-profile Amazon activists, José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo. Such are the risks that dozens of other activists and informers are now under state protection.

Unlike most countries on the list, however, the number of killings in Brazil declined slightly last year, perhaps because the government is making a greater effort to intervene in deforestation cases.

The reverse trend is apparent in the Philippines, where four activists were killed last month, prompting the Kalikasan People's Network for Environment to talk of "bloody May".

Though Brazil, Peru and Colombia have reported high rates of killing in the past 10 years, this is partly because they are relatively transparent about the problem thanks to strong civil society groups, media organisations and church groups – notably the Catholic Land Commission in Brazil – which can monitor such crimes. Under-reporting is thought likely in China and Central Asia, which have more closed systems, said the report. The full picture has still to emerge.

Last December, the UN special rapporteur on human rights noted: "Defenders working on land and environmental issues in connection with extractive industries and construction and development projects in the Americas … face the highest risk of death as result of their human rights activities."

19 June 2012 update: The number of deaths in Brazil was wrongly cited as 737 – this has been corrected to 365. The headline and opening line of this story have been changed to reflect that.

in Rio de Janeiro,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


please click onto image to enlarge

Harper's Magazine July 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


“If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.”—Marcus Aurelius

True — they have to hit their free throws, and they're a great free throwing team — the Oklahoma City Thunder are — but they're missing their free throws, and they're missing them when it really counts, like an NBA Finals Championship against the Miami Heat. Just ask clutch players like Larry Bird and Reggie Miller about what a free throw can do in a tight game.

But there's something else going on. Games two and three, one in Oklahoma City and one in Miami, have been very close down the stretch in both games, and in both games the officials have done what I call the Strange Days Phenomenon (SDP) right before our eyes. The Strange Days Phenomenon can be anything from war criminals like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld being let off the hook for their crimes by the Justice Department of the Obama Administration; to Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan — the latest crook in the long and disgusting legacy from Wall Street coming to Washington, D.C. and sitting before Congress in a soft and cuddly catbird seat and actually being praised. Do keep in mind, these men and women in Congress are being elected into office by the people amongst ourselves. It isn't finger-pointing time, it's Strange Days Phenomenon time. You go and have another drink with this stuff, or another puff, or throw the tv out for good, or look across the mainly empty restaurant from your table at the early bird special hour and see a family of four dressed in summer-relax, three adults and an older teenage girl, waiting for a meal (like I am) that isn't coming anytime soon because the restaurant is "under staffed," and we adults are waiting and talking and waiting and finally complaining and waiting with Strange Days Phenomenon, while the teenager is plugged the entire time into ear plugs and a cell phone held up to her face.
Texting. Never utters a word. For well over a half hour of waiting the cell phone is never lowered from her gaze. It could have been a book. It isn't a book.

Strange Days Phenomenon has the world economy by the short hairs. It has your paycheck (if you have one), your plumber, carpenter, electrician, auto mechanic, even health food store, fruit stand, crummy tag sale event by those same short hairs: it's all unaffordable.

I just went to a lumberyard to look over new window prices — casements or lone sashes, even double-hung windows with or without the full unit, it didn't matter, just to find something possibly affordable. I'll take a unit, or windows loose, and I'll build my own frames. Can I get out of there with my shirt on. My pants. My boots? Will I be able to buy gas to get home afterwards? Will I be able to afford my pickup truck, 23 years old and still running (thanks to Japan), parked out in a mainly empty business lot? I can sense in my bones why the lot is almost empty and the big building houses lots of good stuff. The windows I want could cost up to $600, insulated glass,
each. I want three windows, maybe four. I have opened up a side exterior wall back home just begging for three windows, maybe four. I'm still allowed to dream, right?

Wrong. The three windows can cost you upwards to $2000. Don't even think of a fourth window. The sales clerk is a nice enough fellow but he gets SDP when you veer your dream talk into the land of buying the windows out of their package (unit) to save money; and he'll admit to you that if you even dare to think of buying separate sashes, uninsulated glass, and you'll build your own storm windows to complete the job, well the sashes may say $95 per but because it's such "trouble" (meaning you are too), it'll cost you over $200 for that one sash. Meaning don't buy the sash. Forget that road of dreams and making-do, and come along with us and pay through the nose. It's good for you.

My dream partner and I leave the place on very good terms. We even take all the pertinent information, prices and email addresses to write our friendly sales clerk back and forth a few times — just to see even away from the diamond-studded lumberyard, the email information is just as frightening. Screw up a 3/8 sheet of plywood over the hole in the house wall for the time being since it's going to rain and you have to pull down tighter that dreamer cap you insist on wearing. Call around all the lumberyards still alive in your region. It's all the same. SDP. Prices are out of this world.

It's nighttime, sit down with the basketball game. Everyone, except maybe a speck of person here or there, is either in blue (if were in Oklahoma), or white (Miami). I mean 10s-of-thousands, all dressed in the same color, cheering madly. What's wrong with team-spirit and cheering? Nothing. Except it now looks and feels Orwellian.

Thank goodness for the mute button.

In game one Oklahoma beats Miami in Oklahoma City, and it puts the media glitz favorite Miami team back on their heels. What in the world is going on here with this whipper-snapper young Oklahoma dream-along-with-me squad? They've won everything and everywhere and brought down giants, like a very disciplined and talented San Antonio Spurs team. I hated to see that and I love San Antonio, but I'm loving, like the good dreamer that I am, the Oklahoma City Thunder even more. We've won game one.

By game two, SDP will hit us right between the eyes, when at the close of a very tight game, and the Thunder are roaring from behind from a deficit only kids and dreamers will play at, and they're doing it well: a minute left, two points down, and our dreamer of dreamers Kevin Durant runs the baseline against star power LeBron James for Miami, and is clearly fouled, deserves two shots at the free throw line to even the score and possibly pushing the game into OT with a zillion blue jersey fans going bonkers. And the foul isn't called!?
The windows cost what?! The ref is standing right there; the announcers are standing right there; the New York Times is standing right there; the UK Guardian is standing right there; I'm standing right there, and we can all see the clear foul to be called and properly register the flow of the game, and it isn't called. Stop your whining, it's SDP. Don't you know SDP when you see it?

You don't? Well, wait for game three because it showed up again even more blatantly for that game on Sunday night. We're now in Miami, white jersey crowd, remaining Orwellian, though not as cheerful and hopeful as the blue jersey folks back in Oklahoma City. Don't ask me what it is, I just hear something promising and less moneyed and less entitled about the OKC folks. We probably aren't ever going to see them again (but prove me wrong, please) if SDP is allowed to take full effect. In the third quarter (better known as OKC's quarter) with Kevin Durant coming on with superman powers — I don't think I've ever seen anyone
ever throw in a three pointer with such ease, nonchalance, or Taoist charm — not Bird, not Miller, not Ray Allen, not Jordan, or Kobe. SDP sees that, sees a comeback roaring into focus, sees a young team about to take command, hears a crowd raising high the roof beams carpenter, senses way way way too much natural phenomenon and we've got zillions of dollars invested by all sorts of creepy crawlers into this thing, and SDP refs charge Durant with another foul (the guy looks like a gazelle, plays like a gazelle, may touch you like a gazelle) and this sits him down on the bench and so goodbye OKC rhythm, captain, and heart. This never would have happened to Michael Jordan, trust me, not in a playoff game.

In times like these, go back to your window job. Luckily you live in Vermont, luckily there are scrappers like yourself everywhere, you see each other, you nod to each other. I found a salvage lumberyard after writing my last email to nowhere (new lumberyard) about window prices and possibilities. Since I grew up in a lumberyard in the Berkshire hills with five lumberyards to the family name, I feel at home walking through this salvage yard's side gate and not the front door, which really looks like the lumberyards of old, my style. Open racks of pine lumber, spruce lumber, stacks of framed screens, old storm windows, someone's left off a huge stack of pine clapboards painted on one side and all still pretty much in fine shape. Out back are two or three buildings stuffed with stuff, think dreams. In the main building are enough old windows, old doors and old hardware and trim and accessories to build a Trump Tower. My kind of Trump Tower — built like a wood haven castle, windows fluent through all the rooms, floors laid down like a Viking ship, four coats of paint on the woodwork. Affordable. Doable. My windows have got to be hidden here. I can
feel it. They are. And Sweetheart finds them, while I'm up in the rafters digging through barn sashes and thinking it's still the 1970s, I hear my name called (and that's sweet enough in these times) and right on the floor, waiting for me, Sweetheart looks befuddled and overwhelmed because what I asked her to keep an eye out for seems to be right before her eyes. The exact windows. The exact size. Insulated glass. Out of their old units. Just the casements. All primed. Some silly hardware to remove, so what, the three windows side by side will match right down to the inch what I have planned back home and the hole in the wall. Plus there is some room left over for the transom (7 lights) I find leaning by the door we entered. Bought new, all of this would cost around $2500.

Hang onto your blue and white jerseys because the manager of the place I found looks like Steve Earle and he isn't at all against talking prices for things and being fair. So we're taking the three windows you bet, the transom, and let's go out into the yard and dig around for awhile and fill the rest of the pickup truck with T & G pine (a small pallet in short lengths) and while we're at it, all the beaded pine boards we can find, even the ones with the nails still in them, doesn't matter, and we don't want the beaded side, so we'll flip it over and use the flat stock pine and this will go perfectly for any trim work and fill. Go ahead, fill the truck: insulated glass windows, old style transom, all the pine lumber, toss in the extra panel of luan, and what did you say the price was? don't gloat because SDP is watching with a sneer right over yonder, it would be a little higher but with the 40% off sale (O lucky days!) the whole truckload comes to something like $100.

Back at the lumberyard, the two gallons of paint you'll need to finish the job up will cost you more than that whole truckload of pure and beautiful and practical gimme.

What's "gimme"? Go ask SDP. He doesn't know.

see ya at tonight's game, be there or be square

Monday, June 18, 2012


It's ready!

"The idea for this chapbook, a facsimile edition of the handmade book Lorine Niedecker sent to Cid Corman in 1964, cropped up several years ago."

Homemade PoemsLorine Niedecker
John Harkey, Editor
Series 3, Number 2, Spring 2012
The Center for the Humanities
The Graduate Center
The City University of New York

Limited edition.

Use Paypal? Total including s/h for U.S. orders $33.95

Or, this may be purchased from Longhouse
inquire here ~

Visit my previous "Homemade Poems" posting & film

Lorine with her father Henry Niedecker


Aung San Suu Kyi greeted in Oslo by Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
On 16 June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech at Oslo's City Hall, two decades after being awarded the peace prize.

photo :Daniel Sannum Lauten/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Sunday, June 17, 2012

( Earth )

Bacteria biofilm
Fernan Federici, Tim Rudge, PJ Steiner and Jim Haseloff
Scale: *******
This is Bacillus subtilis, a rod-shaped bacterium commonly found in soil. Distinct lineages of bacteria expressing different fluorescent proteins were initially mixed randomly on a petri dish. As bacteria grow, they organise themselves into reproducible patterns and shapes that can be predicted with mathematical models. The researchers took this image as part of a project designing artificial genetic circuits for pattern formation in bacterial colonies and plant tissuesPhotograph: Wellcome Images