29 March 2015

All the Way to Memphis

[Click to embiggen pics in slide show]
Entering Mississippi
Stopping for gas in Elvis's hometown
Ardent Studios: Home of Big Star
Yes, that Big Star
Portrait of Big Star in the Ardent hallway
The Big Board at Ardent
This probably means you!
Reunion of the legendary Seafood Orchestra at memorial for fellow member Rick Ivy (also late of Panther Burns). You know you're in a music scene town when the Presbyterian minister quotes Tav Falco at the memorial service!
Did not make it there, but snapped a drive-by pic of the billboard
Ruins of U.S. Marine Hospital
Metal!
Mississippi River Railroad Bridge
Another view
Where we didn't stay
One of our host's most prized possessions. And why wouldn't it be?! Thanks, D!
Elvis's favorite restaurant. Didn't get a chance to stop in this trip, but I've eaten there before.

I'm sure you've heard of it.
THE place to meet for ribs in town! Thanks, Ronny!

23 March 2015

This Week in Water

The island nation of Vanuatu is in desperate straits after a direct hit by a massive, Category 5 cyclone. Relief agencies desperately need monetary help.

Ocean acidification may destroy the economies of many U.S. coastal towns.

Massive glacier melt runoff in Alaska may have dire consequences for marine life in the region. Alaska is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the country. It is the canary in the climate coal mine or the frog in the boiling pot; and it is baking.

Winter Arctic sea ice achieved the lowest level in history.

The Totten Glacier in East Antarctica is melting from below as well as from above. It is roughly the size of the U.S. South (538,000 square kilometers), and if it melted global sea levels could rise eleven feet.

Boston set an all-time seasonal snowfall record.

California's record drought, now in its fourth year, has brought calls for $1 Billion in drought relief and conservation planning. The State only has about one year's worth of water left, and snow melt was down again this winter.

Coastal fog in California is declining, and that means the decline of its redwoods among other things.

Waikiki Beach is eroding and may soon disappear.

Oxygen-breathing microbes have been found teeming in sediment in the deadest regions of the world's oceans.

From slowly growing crust on the bottom of the ocean, cosmologists are able to decipher evidence of an ancient, nearby supernova.

They have found life—i.e., evidence of organic molecules—on Mars. For Real!

Scientists have found evidence of a vast hidden ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's and the Solar System's largest moon.

16 March 2015

Boys & Trees & Memories of These

"I had no idea who to call. I slumped down on the splayed roots of the great bur oak that still commanded the front yard of the old parsonage. The only sound I could hear was the rumor of an occasional breeze in the clacking of its high branches.

This tree was said to be well over a century old when I had climbed it as a boy. I lay my head back against its rough bark and stared up at the sky through the tracery of its dark arms. In the creaking canopy, I could still plot the route, the exact footholds, limbs, knots, and gnarls, that took me the highest—40, maybe 50 feet up.

On winter days I could see practically the entire square mile of the town of Fallstone Trace from my topmost perch: the rusted tin roof of the ruins of the cotton gin; the gingerbread post office; the red brick school where I snoozed through eight years of clanging radiators and stopped clocks; the rotting timber water tower every schoolboy for generations was condemned to climb in ceremonious challenge to its rickety steps; the gas station where I had my first summer job at fourteen and drank up each Saturday's pay in salted nuts and small green-bottle Cokes stamped on the bottom with the names of exotic, unfathomably distant cities—Peoria, Ft. Worth, Albany, and that jewel of distant jewels Seattle; the feed-and-seed store whose plate glass window front bobbled with newly-hatched chicks dyed blue and red and pink and even yellow come Easter-time; the cinder-block volunteer fire station and steel-frame siren tower (the only rival of the steeple on my father's church) where my father, solemn in black robe and Bible, presided over the mock pomp of a womanless wedding and fried chicken and watermelon supper fund-raiser each October around revival time.

A tree like this was a thing to be prized. I was tempted to climb again but for my worsted suit and the leather soled shoes I had worn for the alleged funeral this afternoon. Besides, I had no heart for it. One is supposed to have a lingering affection for the things of youth, to bask in the everlasting radiance of one's past. Family, community, heritage, tradition: these were the things that mattered, the things that made you who you were. They anchored you. You carried them forward no matter where your roving took you. Then, by dint of some vague sentimental calculus, you cemented your identity by reclaiming them, even in exile. Wasn't that what the heart was, after all?

The only thing I felt now was pain as another cramp of an anxious nausea gripped my empty gut."  Jim H., EULOGY pp.258-59

12 March 2015

Satin Island Review

1 "The world is all that is the case."
1.1 "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."
1.2 Those quotes, I'm sure you'll recognize, come from Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, its first and last sequentially numbered propositions.
1.3 Tom McCarthy's new novel, Satin Island, is similarly sequentially numbered.
1.4 (I love a book that makes me pull my battered copies of Wittgenstein off the shelf.)
1.5 (Those of you who follow me (langame) on Twitter (@140xLangame) or who've located my email address on this page (langame[dot]wow@gmail[dot]com) will note that the handle of my online persona is drawn from his Philosophical Investigations (and has been since at least the early '90s). Language game —> Langame.)
1.6 There is the world, what we can say about it, and language. "The rest is silence." (Hamlet's last words.)
1.7 The early Wittgenstein (of the Tractatus) believed that in articulating the structure of the propositional logic he would reveal the true structure of the world. Call it metaphysical Realism.
1.8 The later Wittgenstein (of the Investigations) rejected the possibility of such a foundation. Call it metaphysical Anti-Realism.

2 Serious novels tend to try to solve one of two problems: the labyrinth of the human heart or the conundrum of the greater world.
2.1 The best tend to frame the collision of the two.
2.2 Tom McCarthy's first novel, Remainder, explored the manic arena of the former and found no center and no exit, merely neurotic repetition. His second, C., attempted to take the reader over and under and through the latter with all its fatalistic implications, and discovered hints of meaning but, ultimately, no solution.
2.2 In his new novel, Satin Island, the writer steps back from the abyss where the two worlds, the inner and the outer, approach (however asymptotically).
2.3 Satin Island begins with its protagonist, U., recalling being stranded with tons of other people in the Turin airport, a hub facility, because European airspace was at a standstill.
2.4 Here's a quote:
"People need foundation myths, some imprint of year zero, a bolt that secures the scaffolding that in turn holds fast the entire architecture of reality, of time: memory-chambers and oblivion-cellars, walls between eras, hallways that sweep us on towards the end-days and the coming whatever-it-is. We see things shroudedly, as through a veil, an over-pixellated screen. When the shapeless plasma takes on form and resolution, like a fish approaching us through murky waters or an image looming into view from noxious liquid in a darkroom, when it begins to coalesce into a figure that's discernible, if ciphered, we can say: This is it, stirring, looming, even if it isn't really, if it's all just ink-blots." (SI, 3-4)
2.5 Satin Island ends with U. in another transit hub silently declining to board a crowded ferry to Staten Island, NY.
2.6 Here's a quote:
"I was, as I mentioned, jet-lagged: disoriented, undirected. I'd travelled down to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to take the ferry and not taken it, or perhaps just traveled down there to not take the ferry. I'd been standing in the same spot for some time now. So, too, had the plain-clothes security personnel, and the MTA man. As the concourse filled up with incoming passengers, our arrangement, its sculpted geometry, which had impresed itself upon me with such clarity and (at the same time) mystery for a few minutes, faded back into the general mass of bodies. It was still there, though, camouflaged or buried: none of us had moved. The homeless guy was still there, too, going slowly down the row of payphones, searching for forgotten change caught in their mechanism. In his attempt to trigger its release, he lifted each receiver from its cradle and held it up for a few seconds, waiting for coins to drop. None did. I looked out at the harbour once again. The dazzle on the water now was all-consuming, overexposed, blinding: the departed ferry, Staten Island, all the other landmarks and most of the sky had disappeared in a great holocaust of light, whose retinal after-effects, in turn, made th terminal's interior too dark when I turned back to it. It took a few more seconds for the levels to adjust. I found myself still looking at the homeless guy. He was still holding a receiver away from his ear, making no attempt to listen to or talk into it. He looked all wrong; anachronistic. Who uses payphones these days? I wondered if these one even worked. I stared at him; our eyes met for a while; then I, uncomfortable, broke off the contact and started walking, past the growing stream of people, out of the terminal and back into the city." (SI, 188-89)
2.7 Shapeless plasma takes on form like a fish approaching through murky water. The departing ferry and everything around it dissolves into a dazzling holocaust of light on water. The rest is silence.
2.8 Beautiful.

3 In his Acknowlegements, McCarthy rather cheekily challenges his readers: "Satin Island, like all books, contains hundreds of borrowings, echoes, remixes and straight repetitions. To list them all would take up as much space as the text itself. The critical reader can entertain him- or herself tracking some of them down, if he or she is that way inclined."
3.1 Wittgenstein is clearly a presiding force here. As is the wavering Hamlet. I will venture two more before I tire.
3.2 In my 2010 review of C., I wrote the following: "Pynchon in GR [Gravity's Rainbow] portrays the demise of the individual in the rise of the paranoid style of politics. GR confirmed the suspicions of a generation of Luddites that the incursion of technology in human affairs, historically sited in the WWII "Zone", betokened the rise of a culture of death. The love of technology is the lust for death. Our hopes and aspirations for our creations, artistic and scientific and technological, ascend along the arc of the rainbow, reach their natural apogee and then, under the weight of gravity, come screaming across the sky and crash explosively back to earth. Now, think visually for a second: turn the finite rainbow arc on its side and what do you have? The letter C! Topple the letter C and what do you have? The arc of the rainbow. Coincidence? I think not."
3.3 My somewhat flippant remark that, thematically, C., based on a bit of visual symbolic logic, felt like a WWI prequel to Gravity's Rainbow's WWII now seems prescient. As if to confirm this, McCarthy names his protagonist in Satin Island 'U.', a further flipping of our visual arc. An upside down Gravity's Rainbow would be one in which there are no structures of meaning determining every aspect of our lives, but rather the meaning of the world is only what we can impose upon it, and, at the end, the world is too vast (too fast) for us to impose any real and lasting meaning on it.
3.4 (The fact that Melanie Jackson, Mr. Pynchon's wife, is McCarthy's U.S. agent does nothing to counter this observation. But I digress.)
3.4 (Now I digress further. Does this mean McCarthy's next novel will flip the visual symbol of the arc a further quarter turn so that it will somehow involve the logical symbol for material implication, the 'if-then' operator, the conditional: ⊃ ?
3.5 How about this? Motif: Causality, the principle at work in the greater world though not necessarily the human heart. Theme: This is how you know the world is real, you can do things that cause other things to happen in it. Tom?
3.6 Just saying. ;-))
3.7 In David Haglund's New Yorker piece about Satin Island, he recalls Zadie Smith's critical essay comparing Remainder with Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, and points out the sly irony of McCarthy's ending Satin Island at the Staten Island Ferry terminal while Netherland ends on the ferry itself.
3.7 I won't go over that ground again mainly because Satin Island calls to mind another novel where the protagonist flees a situation he doesn't fully comprehend and winds up on a ferry: Emmanuel Carrère's The Mustache. (If you don't know it, find a copy now and read it. There is also a movie directed by the author which you can find on the Web (if you know how to look). See it, too.)
3.8 Short synopsis: One day the hero decides to shave off his mustache. No one notices. He becomes increasingly suspicious of a conspiracy against him. He feels his identity slipping, and his paranoia grows until his sanity seems at stake. He flees Paris for, ultimately, Hong Kong where he winds up riding the Kowloon Ferry back and forth across the harbor over and over again.
3.9 Enough.

4 U., McCarthy's protagonist, is an academic, an anthropologist, who works for a London consulting firm. A big picture kind of guy. He seems to know little, however, about the company he works for and doesn't seem to have a particularly clear sense of his remit within it. He is put on a project—of which his company has a small piece—he does not fully comprehend. He doesn't even know quite how his own contribution fits into the overall scheme of his firm's aspect of the project, but he has some hearsay evidence that the greater project will somehow affect 'everything'.
4.1 His mercurial, enigmatic boss encourages U. to pursue his intellectual passion (when he's not otherwise occupied) which is a Present Tense Anthropology or an Anthropology of the Now, aka the "Great Report" (GR, anybody?). Something we are led to believe cannot be accomplished. A fool's errand.
4.2 U. has a colleague with an equally obscure, vague job description. They are 'big picture' guys stuck in the basement of a corporate consulting culture, presumably there to provide context for the company's clients.
4.3 U. also has a girlfriend (of sorts) and a dying friend.
4.4 U. travels to business conferences where he meets with mixed reactions to his vague ideas. He pursues random thoughts and, importantly, images down the rabbit-holes of research and the internet: e.g., the deaths of parachutists, oil slicks.
4.5 There is a randomness to his life, a disorientation.
4.5 It's almost as if McCarthy is saying that the way into the world isn't some systematic foray, it's serendipitous. Higglety-pigglety. Write everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant, down—the mantra of U.'s anthropologist (that dying 'science') heroes Claude Lévi-Strauss and Bronislaw Malinowski—then try to figure it out later.
4.6 Unfortunately, as Wittgenstein and systematic logic teaches us, the only way to make sense of it all is outside of the system you are trying to observe and describe. In the human case 'after' means after life; it means dying first: meta-physics, if you will.
4.7  (And, apparently, U. is not yet ready or willing to take that next step—as evidenced by his unwillingness to flow with the faceless crowd onto the (Stygian?) ferry. He accepts his life with all its anxiety and disorientation, and he determines to go on, to live with his discomfort—a true Beckettian anti-hero.)
4.8 And McCarthy does have some trenchant criticism for the Christian view of things, which is one historical attempt at an extra-systemic (or metaphysical) explanation of things. The minister at his friend's funeral tries to console those gathered with the standard platitudes and bromides, but "everything that was said about Petr was wrong. I don't mean that it was wrongly nuanced or beside the point or missing the essence of his character or anything like that. I mean that it was simply, in a factual sense, false. ... I just sat there, seething with quiet fury that this act of personal and cosmic fraudulence would never be requited." (SI, 152)
4.9 Also for the 'ever-popular tortured artist effect:' McCarthy gives himself, the writer/artist no quarter. His girlfriend, Madison, lets U. know she was stuck once in the same Turin airport where U. begins the novel but is cagey about telling him the circumstances. Eventually he wangles her story out of her: she was subjected to some very real physical and psycho-sexual torture due to her protest at a global capital summit; this in stark contrast to U.'s existential angst over his Great Report.

5 The central image—in a book full of images (always a strength of McCarthy's!)—is that of U.'s dream of Satin Island.
5.1 Here it is:
"I was flying...over a harbour by a city. It was a great, imperial city, the world's greatest—all of them, from all periods: Carthage, London, Alexandria, Vienna, Byzantium and New York, all superimposed on one another the way things are in dreams. We'd left the city and were flying above the harbour. This was full of bustle: tug-boats, steams, yachts, you name it, bobbing and crisscrossing in water whose ridges and wave-troughs glinted in the sun, though it was nighttime. Out in the harbour—some way out, separated from the city by swathes of this choppy water—was an excrescence, a protuberance, a lump: an island. Was it man-made? Possibly. Its sides rose steeply from the sea; they were constructed of cement, or old bricks. The island was dark in hue; yet, like the sea, it seemed somehow lit up. As we approached it—flying quite low, parallel to the water—the building on it loomed larger and larger. These buildings—huge, derelict factories whose outer walls and rafters, barely intact, recalled the shells of bombed cathedrals—ran one into the next to form a single giant, half-ruined complex that covered the island's entire surface area. Inside this complex, rubbish was being burnt: it was a trash-incinerating plant. Giant mountains of the stuff were piled up in its great, empty halls, rising in places almost to where the ceiling would have been. They were being burnt slowly, from th inside, with a smoulder, rather than roaring, fire. Whence the glow: like embers when you poke them, the mounds' surfaces, where cracked or worn through by the heat, were oozing a vermilion shade of yellow. It was this glowing ooze, which hinted at a deeper, almost infinite reserve of yet-more-glowing ooze inside the trash-mountain's main body, that made the scene so rich and vivid, filled it with a splendour that was regal. Yes, regal—that was the strange thing: if the city was the capital, the seat of empire, then this island was the exact opposite, the inverse—the other place, the feeder, filterer, overflow-manager, the dirty, secreted-away appendix without which the body-proper couldn't function; yet it seemed it its very degradation, more weirdly opulent than the capital it served. We were homing right in on it now: descending in our chopper through the factory-cathedral's shell, skimming the rubbish-piles as walls and rafters towered above us, gazing in awe and fascination at the glowing ooze, its colours as they morphed from vermilion yellow to mercurial silver, then on to purple, umber, burnt sienna, the foil-like flashing of its folds and gashes as light flowed across them. And, as we skimmed and veered and marvelled, a voice—the helicopter pilot's maybe, or some kind of commentator, or perhaps, as before with the roller-blader half-dream, just my own—announced clearly and concisely: Satin Island." (SI, 141-43)
5.2 Try this on for size: The heart is a smoldering dreamscape over which the self floats, the great world's ruined garbage dump: Satin Island. Its objective correlative, Staten Island, can only be approached at one's peril, for as one does the world (of the self) dissolves into a silent, pixellated tin flash of sun dazzle.
5.3 (Want more literary trash talk: have some Eliot, Pynchon, Gass, DeLillo, Beckett, and Ammons (from 2008)).
5.3 U. is not on some internal quest to find himself, as was the nameless narrator of Remainder. Nor is he on some pilgrimage to find the meaning of the world, as was C. He, his identity, is assumed, given; his Being is bracketed, in Heidegger-speak, and U. is seeking the tantalizing but elusive name of the world.
----------
À propos of nothing, Query: How does one pronounce U.'s boss's name, Peyman? Is it "Pie-man", as in 'Simple Simon met a ...'? or is it "Pay-man", as in ...? Well, you get the picture.

11 March 2015

Let's Talk About Cars

Here's Lee Rourke in his 2010 novel, THE CANAL (Melville House):
"'It's an Audi TT 225 Quattro Coupe. It's a powerful little machine able to explode from zero to sixty in six point six seconds flat. A top speed of one hundred and fifty-one miles per hour. Although, I'm positive I've pushed it further. It's specified in pearl-effect black with a grey leather interior. But the wheels—perfect seven and a half by seventeen inch rims. People would turn heads whenever I sped by. It's really my ultimate machine. You should see the engine—seventeen eighty-one cc's in size, gleaming all year round.'
...
"'It's simple: we are technology—we rival nature. We are able to mould ourselves into something superior. Put simply, my car means more to me than any other thing I can think of..." [p. 58]
...
"'I had to do it. I saw him and...I had to obliterate him from my life. I had to make him obsolete. There was no other option...It felt good, butterflies in my stomach, that type of thing, some call it a buzz...My god, the sound of the engine as I approached him, dropping a gear, there was nothing I could do except hit him.'
...
"'He didn't matter. We don't matter. If you could have felt what I felt behind that wheel—just the rumble, the slight tremor of surface movement, of things, bitumen, passing beneath me. The speed...the engine growling...We are limited. We need something more, we need that added extra in life. Technology provides all we need. Technology dominates a large part of our unique relationship with the exterior world. I have never wanted to hide behind technology. I have always wanted to use it, to control it, to display it. It has always puzzled me why one would want to hide one's hearing aid away from the world. Why do that? Do you understand? It is an extension. That's all. Part of us...All of us should understand that technology will be the death of us, not our saviour...It's leaving us all behind. I am just repeating the obvious.'" [p. 66] Lee Rourke, THE CANAL
Now here's me, in my as yet unagented, unpublished novel EULOGY (which was requested and is currently in the hands of an agent at Writer's House in its totality. Waiting...waiting...)
"The car, a bare-bones airport rental with nothing to speak of for acceleration—not that I could use it now—crept along the jammed expressway. I slammed my palms against the steering wheel. There had been no signs to alert me to the delays. I glanced at the digital clock on the dashboard: 7:39. Worthless piece of shit! I was so used to being a passenger in an unending series of cabs and trains I could never again feel at ease behind the wheel of an automobile.
"There was a book I had read in college, a book of poetry. I couldn't remember who it was by. Some obscure younger poet. A vanity pressing, maybe. What was it called? Something about people and cars. Rivers of Rust. Seeing the stream of traffic strung out before me on the highway put me in mind of it. The extended metaphor of the long poem—or series of poems, I forget—posited a world in which human beings had evolved an automobile-like exoskeleton: homo automobili or some such. And these car-people flowed along the rivulets and creeks and streams and rivers of their new roadway world until they gave out and were junked and their shells cannibalized for parts. Maybe it was called Driven. It might have been an allegory about death, I don't know. I was never very apt at literature. I looked at my watch. It was nearly one o'clock and I had, under the best of conditions, another half-hour's drive ahead of me. The funeral was at two. This felt nothing like poetry.
"A greasy drizzle confounded the two speeds of the car's windshield wipers: they either squeaked across dry glass or smeared the spatters of water in blurry arcs across my field of vision. To make time, I drove along the right shoulder of the road wherever I could and took every exit and sped down each on-ramp, waiting to merge with the stalled stream of traffic until forced to do so by a bridge abutment or signage or other roadside obstruction. I knew I was pissing off the other drivers who didn't have the balls to do what I was doing, but I didn't care. They would have to deal with their own timidity and jealousy. I had a funeral to make. Their rules did not apply to me." [ms pp. 244-45] Jim H., EULOGY.

Soundtrack:










(as mentioned in THE CANAL)

06 March 2015

This Week in Water

It's official: NOAA has announced the arrival of El Niño, a warming of temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that affects weather and climate in various ways around the globe.

Arctic sea ice is thinning faster than previously thought.

For only the second time in its history, the Alaska Iditarod sled race had to change its starting point due to poor or no snowfall and rivers that did not freeze due to warming weather.

Here's a graphic depiction of the decline of Arctic sea ice from 1987-2014. (from NOAA)(h/t)




At the other pole of the globe, glacial melting and retreating ice makes Antartica 'Ground Zero' of global climate change.

Not only are the oceans rising, many land areas are sinking, dramatically increasing the incidence of flooding. This phenomenon, known as subsidence, is beginning to be felt in many coastal cities of the U.S. East Coast, including Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay and Miami.

Mars apparently once had oceans that covered up to one-fifth of the planet's surface. NASA has taken pictures of frosty slopes on the Red Planet.

Though the Earth's oceans are becoming increasingly more acidic, scientists are now able to map pH levels using satellite data and are finding that the acidity is unevenly distributed. Open ocean areas are more alkaline (basic).


As previously reported, Sao Paulo, Brazil, the world's 12th largest mega-city will run out of water (pop. 20,000,000) before Summer—unless something changes drastically.

Drought-weakened Amazonian forests absorb less carbon from the atmosphere—the same issue facing acidifying oceans.

Droughts can lead to famines. Who knew?

Methane leaking craters are proliferating in Siberia due to thawing of permafrost.

PNC Financial Services Group is scaling back its financing of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.

Maybe my favorite thing: the world's first wave-generating power grid station was switched on in Australia. It not only generates power, it desalinates water—with ZERO EMISSIONS. Good on ya', Mates!

Maybe my second favorite thing: An octopus in a lab at Middlebury College took a GoPro camera that scientists had placed in its tank and took a picture of its captors. [Grigori v. Katje, anyone?] Okay, it's my favorite!

Female sticklebacks in the North Sea prime their offspring to cope with climate change. Scientists also discovered a deepsea microorganism that hasn't evolved in more than 2 billion years. Meanwhile, citing Old Testament scripture from Genesis 8:22 as authority, a man with real political power, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who not coincidently chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee now that Republicans have taken control of the Senate, used a snowball he'd brought into the chambers from outside the Capitol to refute the existence of climate change.

04 March 2015

Call Me Infidel

Satin Island, the new novel by Tom McCarthy, is required reading. I'm pretty sure I'll have more to say about it after I re-read it—and it demands re-reading—as I have his previous novels Remainder and C.. Here, though, in the meantime, is a video taste from Johan Grimonprez:



The imagery of skydiving, with its implication of faith, is one of the threads McCarthy weaves through the book. If it takes faith to skydive, readers of WoW will readily remember my own lack of same. In 2009, in what has turned out to be my longest serial post I indicted myself as incapable of making the necessary Kierkegaardian leap.

Here's the link to my essay, memoir, whatever you want to call it: Thyraphobia, or Purity of Heart is to Fear One Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Not Do Again. (Because it's a blog, you'll have to scroll to the bottom of the long page to read the first post, then scroll up. Sorry. Maybe one day I'll put the whole thing together, update, edit, and submit for traditional publication. But for now, it's still in the eternal digital ether.) [Spoiler Alert: maybe it's a good thing I didn't jump! {But see, Coda}]

02 March 2015

Tell Me Do You Miss Me

Full length rockumentary about the break-up of the quartet Luna in 2005:



In celebration of their reuniting for a tour in 2015! Please come to Atlanta!

15 February 2015

St. Valentine's Day Weekend Playlist













And because you can never get enough MBV:







And for a completely different take, here's another Valentine's Day compilation of the original and tons of covers of Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love?' (Hoodoo You, Love), many of which appear no longer to be there. But here's a taste—my fave of the bunch:

13 February 2015

This Week in Water

The U.S. Central Plains and South-West are facing potential unprecedented drought risk this century according to climate models based on historical soil moisture, rainfall, and evaporation records and data sampled across North America, perhaps the worst in 1000 years and greater than those of the last few years.

Drought-stricken Sao Paulo, Brazil, has only 100 days of water left in its reservoirs.

Rising seas are threatening South Florida's seemingly plentiful drinking water.

An oil pipeline burst in Montana spilled up to 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River effecting downstream drinking water.

Vantage Energy Appalachia LLC, a shale gas drilling operator, was penalized for environmental violations resulting from illegal waste disposal and a landslide that covered and diverted two small streams in Western Pennsylvania.

The disastrous Duke Energy coal ash spill into North Carolina's Dan River could have been prevented.

Not only was 2014 the hottest year on record, breaking highs of 2005 and 2010, global warming has continued unabated and ocean temperatures are rising at alarming rates.

Massive amounts of methane gases are being released from the seabed off Siberia as the permafrost continues to thaw.

Unprecedented floods across Southern Africa have affected the lives of nearly a million people, and aid is slow reaching them. Food, water, sanitation, and the spread of waterborne diseases are the most urgent needs.

UN peacekeepers from Nepal are immune from a U.S. lawsuit even though they discharged raw sewage into a major river likely causing a cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Elites at this years gathering of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, are urging quick action to alter the disastrous effects of climate change.

UN delegates have agreed to develop the first legally-binding agreement to conserve marine life in the high seas and international seabeds.

One energy company in New England believes it can convert oceanic pollution into clean energy and has teamed with the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to show how.

One company hopes to store surplus energy in giant balloons under Lake Ontario.

Abu Dhabi is funding first-class research to explore the potential for solar-powered seawater desalination (long a favored technology here at WoW).

Qatar is continuing to explore technological means to restore growth in the Sahara Desert and deserts around the world, incorporating solar power, saltwater greenhouses, evaporative hedges, desalination, salt production, salt-loving plant species, and algae production

Governor Chris Christie signed a law allowing for fast-tracking the privatization of New Jersey's public water systems. Folks around the world are mobilizing against these power grabs.

After powerful storms swept through the West, waterfalls began flowing again in Yosemite.

The world's rivers constitute only about 20% of the water that flows yearly into the oceans. The rest apparently comes from underground estuaries.