Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snowfall


Tonight was the first accumulating snowfall of the year, although it had changed to rain by the time the pic was taken. Last year it snowed Dec 1st and we had snow on the ground until May.

The household had a heated dispute over who had the privelege of going out barefoot for the pic. I'll let you guess who won. ;)

Recent Reads

Tonight I read "The Good Life of Helen K. Nearing" by Margaret O. Killinger, 2007.

Helen and her husband Scott were pioneer back-to-the landers. I have read several of their books and also articles in "The Mother Earth News." I saw this headlined as a new book at the local library and snatched it up as something that might be interesting.

And it was. This is a biography of Helen Nearing, from her teen years until her death in 1995. Throughout the book I found ringing similarities between myself and Helen; and also my friend K and "Boss" from the farm. Perhaps Boss is most like Helen with her Northern European background and stronger work ethic. K and I are more like the lost hippies that Helen scorned as visitors.

However, a closer look shows that Helen shared a lot of those traits in her own youth. It was only when Scott came into her life that she developed strong political opinions and a good work ethic. Scott was also strongly influenced by Helen, which he is quoted as saying in his last years. It is clear that together they literally moved mountains.

I found it enriching and encouraging to find that what I deem to be my more eccentric tendencies were echoed in such an esteemed woman, and a relief that a woman could possibly be even more eccentric than myself.

Yesterday I read "The Time Machine" by HG Wells, 1895 (my copy a 1964 reprint snagged for .25 at the library used book shelf)

I either read the book or watched the movie-possibly both, as a pre-teen, so my mind needed some refreshing. Actually, an episode of "Big Bang Theory" featured the time machine, and it was really funny as usual. So, when I saw the book I grabbed it. I wanted to find out more about the subterranean-dwelling flesh-eating Morelocks and etheral, gentle Eloi. I know I either read the book or saw the movie because I remember the last part of the book.

I won't tell anymore about it -you'll have to go read, or re-read it, for yourself. It's a quick read, and still good after 113 years.


(Felis domesticus)


Hairy Woodpecker

(Picoides villosus)

Black-capped Chickadee

(Parus atricapillus)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Unexpected Visitor

Last night after dark I was in the kitchen fixing supper when suddenly there was a commotion at the window.

Two of the more adept moth-catching cats were at immediate alert, leaping to the window for a closer look. But it was no moth.

A tiny black-capped chickadee, the Maine state bird, was knocking and fluttering at the pane, leaping off the sill and trying to gain entry through the glass.

Our outdoor cat had slipped out at nightfall, so the situation became one of emergency level before the huntress on the outside of the house caught a feathery supper.

Quickly, without pausing to put anything on my bare feet, I charged out the door and around the dark side of the house. I cupped my hands and gathered the alarmed bird into my hands. Trying to think on my bare feet, so to speak, and seeing the cats staring through the window, I wondered what to do with the refugee.

I decided to put it in a tree on the other corner of the house-an evergreen hemlock with branches low enough for me to reach. By the time I came around the corner (mere seconds)the Willow had come out onto the back deck in her bare feet to see what was going on. I told her I was going to put the bird in the tree, and gave her a glimpse of its tiny black head at the top of my hands.

The bird tried to peck me-its diminutive size lending no force to the action. I reached up into the branches and carefully offered the bird the perch.

Either it was unacceptable, or the bird was in a panic, as it flew erratically to a second story branch on a beech outside my bedroom window. I was relieved that it did not return to the window.

The weather was freezing drizzle and the perch was well exposed to the elements. The chicadee did not look pleased. Willow commented that it looked about to vomit.

Another check a few minutes later showed that the bird had gone.

We checked all the windows and no sign of it.

The best I could surmise was that something had startled the bird out of its snug roost. Chickadees prefer to sleep in small cavities, and it is possible that the flying squirrels had frightened it out into the dark. Disoriented, the bird headed for the light at the windows.

Half asleep and in the dim light, it had trouble flying up to the branch, but hopefully after a few moments surveying things from the higher perch it got its bearing and found a safer place to sleep.

We just started putting seed out for the chickadee flock, which they dicovered on Thanksgiving. Willow has been trying to befriend them, and she insists that the bird was "Beauty", the one who trusts her.

Well, we hope that "Beauty" weathered the cold ice fog night in one piece, and finds a safer roost tonight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving eve-just the three of us and a pile of food for tomorrow. (see my other blog if you're wondering what we're eating)

This blog has seemed so gloomy lately! So here's a cheery little poem.

Merry Autumn

It's all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o'er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.

Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught 'em;
There's nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.

In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You'll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.

Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e'en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.

The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.

A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o'er with laughter.

The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.

The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.

Don't talk to me of solemn days
In autumn's time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.

Why, it's the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Tell Barack Obama the Truth – The Whole Truth

Dr. James E. Hansen

Here's an excerpt from Dr. Hansen's latest posting:

"...Tax and 100% dividend. A “carbon tax with 100 percent dividend” is required for
reversing the growth of atmospheric CO2. The tax, applied to oil, gas and coal at the mine or
port of entry, is the fairest and most effective way to reduce emissions and transition to the
post fossil fuel era. It would assure that unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar shale and tar
sands, stay in the ground, unless an economic method of capturing the CO2 is developed.
The entire tax should be returned to the public, equal shares on a per capita basis (half
shares for children up to a maximum of two child-shares per family), deposited monthly in
bank accounts. No bureaucracy is needed.
A tax should be called a tax. The public can understand this and will accept a tax if it is
clearly explained and if 100 percent of the money is returned to the public. Not one dime
should go to Washington for politicians to pick winners. No lobbyists need be employed.
The public will take steps to reduce their emissions because they will continually be
reminded of the matter by the monthly dividend and by rising fossil fuel costs. It must be
clearly explained to the public that the tax rate will continue to increase in the future.
When fuel prices decline, the tax should increase, to retain the incentive for transitioning
to the post-fossil-fuel-era. The effect of reduced fossil fuel demand will be lower fossil fuel
prices, making the tax a larger and larger portion of energy costs (for fossil fuels only). Thus
the country will stop hemorrhaging its wealth to oil-producing states.
Tax and dividend is progressive. A person with several large cars and a large house will
have a tax greatly exceeding the dividend. A family reducing its carbon footprint to less than
average will make money. Everyone will have an incentive to reduce their carbon footprint.
The dividend will stimulate the economy, spur innovation, and provide money that allows
people to purchase low carbon products.
A carbon tax is honest, clear and effective. It will increase energy prices, but low and
middle income people, especially, will find ways to reduce carbon emissions so as to come
out ahead. The rate of infrastructure replacement, thus economic activity, can be modulated
by how fast the carbon tax rate increases. Effects will permeate society. Food requiring lots
of carbon emissions to produce and transport will become more expensive and vice versa,
encouraging support of nearby farms as opposed to imports from half way around the world.
Beware of alternative approaches, such as ‘percent emission reduction goals’ and ‘cap
and trade’. These are subterfuges designed to allow business-as-usual to continue, under a
pretense of action, a greenwashing. Hordes of lobbyists will argue for these approaches,
which assure their continued employment. The ineffectiveness of ‘goals’ and ‘caps’ is made
blatantly obvious by the fact that the countries promoting them are planning to build more
coal-fired power plants.
If the United States accedes to the ineffectual ‘goals’ and ‘caps’ approach, in effect
continuation of the Kyoto Protocol approach, it will practically guarantee disastrous climate
change. Instead it should persuasively argue that other countries also adopt tax and dividend.
The countries agreeing to this approach will also agree that imports from a country that does
not apply a comparable carbon tax will be taxed at the port of entry. That tax, which should
be added to the public’s dividend, will be a strong incentive for all countries to participate..."

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Poem by Antanas Baranauskas
(1835 – 1902)


Stump-littered hillocks, desolate and bare,
Can anyone believe you once were fair?
Where are your former charms? Where did they go?
Where is your humming when the wind would blow
And toss the white-wood foliage to and fro
And rock your pines, as centuries ago?
Where are your birds and nestlings to be found
Whose chirping such contentment spread all round?
Where are your living creatures large and small,
The burrows and the lairs that housed them all?
All, all has gone: in the deserted plain
A few disfigured pines alone remain.
With needle, cone and twig the earth is strewn –
A barren waste the sun bakes hard in June,
A sight the soul views with as much distress
As ruined palaces rank weeds possess,
Or heaps of rubble where a town once teemed,
Or bone-dry moss where marshland softly gleamed.
Once walking here you found your eyes would ache:
The forest would your soul so merry make,
Your heart so glad you wondered in surprise:
Where am I – in a wood or Paradise?
All that surrounds you with such beauty glows!
With every scent the forest woos your nose
And lively sounds you hear in every part.
You sense a deep calm soothing to the heart.

What scents abound! Pine resin fills the air.
The scent of flowers gentle breezes bear.
In clearings white-red clover, camomile
And thyme with fragrance rare your nose beguile.
The presence of an anthill you can tell.
Leaf, needle, pine-cone have a different smell
Each time you pass. A breeze however slight
Will bring new scents each time for your delight.
Here's aromatic cranberry and moss.
Here orchard-blossom scents you come across.
The forest like a living creature breathes:
The nearby field and meadowland it wreathes
In fragrance, while among its pines in turn
The scents of field and meadow you discern.
All mingle in the air, so thick they come
Your nose cannot distinguish every one.
It is as if wood, meadow, field combine
Their richest scents to make a perfume fine
Which to God's glory they are offering
As they together sigh, rejoice and sing.
Their voices weave a hymn of many parts
To touch with perfect harmony our hearts.
How fine are forest sounds, not only scents!
The forest hums, resounds with eloquence,
While midnight brings a silence that is so
Profound you hear each leaf and flower grow,
Hear tree to tree in gentle whispers call,
Each star through heaven move, each dewdrop fall.
The heart is hushed. Such peace reigns everywhere
The soul soars heavenward in quiet prayer.
But when the new day dawns with gleaming brow
And blades of grass, dew-laden, earthward bow
The forest wakens, night-time silence flees
And day again resumes its melodies.
That rustle? It's a leaf the breeze has stirred
Or, stirring in its nest, a waking bird.
That crackling? It's a homebound wolf who, loath
To hunt by day, breaks through the undergrowth.
A captured duck the fox bears to his lair,
A badger scurries from his burrow there,
A roe bounds past, a squirrel neatly takes
A flying leap onto a bough that shakes,
A stoat or marten rummages about…
The forest creatures are all up and out.

There was a time, a time when beauteous calm
The forest breathed, our hearts to soothe and charm.
For Lithuanians relish calm and ease
As lush grass relishes a gentle breeze
That stirs dark ripples as it passes by:
We often weep in woods, not knowing why.
For it is there we feel a pain is eased,
The heart soothed and anxiety appeased;
Warm tears born of a sentiment unique
Come rolling then like pearl dew down the cheek.
Long afterwards our lungs breathe the forest air,
Our breast as gently stirs as pines do there.
Such deep tranquillity pervades the soul
It bows as wheatears do when ripe and whole.
This is the source from which our tears and sighs,
Our solace and our poetry arise.
Now all has gone… In the deserted plain
A few disfigured pines alone remain.

Our folk have always lived at one with trees
And know few closer lifelong friends than these.
With windfalls only would they heat their hut,
Plait doors from branches, no boards would they cut
And no ax to a trunk they ever laid
Unless the tree already was decayed.
In turn the forest soothed and gave delight,
Loved Lithuania's folk with all its might.
It clothed and fed them, sheltered them as well,
To bar the way to enemies it fell,
In evil days – a refuge from our foes,
In time of grief – a place of sweet repose,
In happy days its charms it would unfold,
At all times granting blessings manifold.
Then hard times came. Of hunger people died,
Made bark soup, baked their bread with moss inside.
Such starving folk who hardly eat at all
In time of plague like trees will reel and fall.
The forest pitied them, dew tears it shed
And wet its crowns in grey clouds overhead.
"My starving brothers all!" it cried. "Fight back!
A blessing on the hand that wields an ax!"
They wept, did those who first a few trees felled.
Their children groaned – the ax salvation spelled.
Their children's children sighed, cut more trees down.
Their great-grandchildren carted logs to town
And when to market forty loads they sent
Rejoiced, assured of one day's nourishment.
With timber so abundant prices fell.
They sold until there was not much to sell.
Whatever money they received they drank
And into ways of dissolution sank.
And so no forest did our fathers find,
Yet found they were like brothers of one mind
To save land for the trees for which they pined,
So sorely bitter tears would their eyes blind
On viewing stumps: for Lithuanian souls
Whom forest beauty nurtures and consoles
In treeless bleak expanses run to seed,
They wither and expire in sorest need.
Our treeless generation from old songs
Learns forest lore and for a forest longs.
Our folksong from a love of trees has grown
And all the songs were to our fathers known.
So now a pinewood patiently they reared
And in their loving labors persevered.
They raised a handsome pine grove, dense as reeds.
The young at heart and children were well pleased.
Such care of their new grove did people take
No twig, however tiny, would they break.
Anyksciai town rejoiced – the trees looked good –
And people went elsewhere for firewood.
Then came a forester who toured the site,
Dug ditches, posted watchmen day and night,
Barred grazing, mushroom picking... He seemed strict
But on the sly sold wood and mushrooms picked.
He lied to his superiors; when folk
Complained he punched them and their teeth he broke.
He rooted pinetrees up year after year
And soon there was again a wasteland here…
Bare hills with stumps are all that now remain,
For which we weep and sing our sad refrain.
Unfinished is my lay: such pain at heart
Lies heavy on the soul and makes it smart.
That force which gnawed the forest for so long
Assailing heart and soul… curtails my song.

Anykščiai, 1859

Translated by Peter Tempest

Antanas Baranauskas wrote The Anykščiai Grove at just 24 years old when he was a theology student. It is considered his major poetic work, and is celebrated for its rich, distinctive Lithuanian. Later in his life, Baranauskas became a pioneer in the study of Lithuanian grammar. Towards the end of his life, he was named Bishop of Seinai. Contemporary Lithuanian poet Sigitas Geda said this about the poem: "I can honestly say that there is nothing remotely similar to The Anykščiai Grove. It is so important to the Lithuanian national psyche because it captures the Lithuanian soul: the catastrophe and the pain of a soul, the tragedy of losing paradise forever. So, I'd say we must perceive Baranauskas' poem as the highest note of the Lithuanian soul. We speak of it in these terms, it may appear foolish to those who have lost their understanding of soul, of nature, of the universe. But a person who does not understand the earth, the oceans and the trees is a barbarian." The Anykščiai Grove was written between 1858-1859, when Lithuania was facing harsh Czarist repression. The poem, considered among the most influential works of Lithuanian literature, is not merely a celebration of forest. It also was written as a metaphor for a vanquished, moribund Lithuania, which was once a great regional power but whose fate under Russia at the time looked bleak, indeed. The poem also captures the passion for forests and trees that runs Baltic-wide.

Mad Cow in Pet Food?

A new law passed in the US requires animal rendering plants to remove brain and spinal tissue from animals prior to rendering.

Watchers and readers of "All Creatures Great and Small" will recall the knacker buying dead animals off of farmers. In more recent times in this country, farmers have to pay the company to collect the dead animals.

The rendering company then cooks the animal down and separates the result into different parts-protein, fat, etc, and then markets the by-products. The by-products are used in animal feed (although US regulation prohibits rendered cow from going into cattle feed as a current mad cow preventative_) the protein can still go into pet food and other livestock feed-chickens, pig, etc.

The trick with mad cow is that it is a prion, and is not destroyed by heat. So, if a chicken were to be fed protein contaminated with mad cow, and then the resulting litter-yes, that's right, some cows are fed chicken excrement-the prion could find its way back to the cow.

Years ago a Countryside magazine contributor pointed out that sheep should not have their feed measured with the same container as the dog-because scrapie, the sheep version of mad cow, could be passed through the residue in the container.

The by-products of rendered dead cows are also used in cosmetics including, but not limited to, toothpaste and lotions for human use.

The new regulations are to ensure that any possibly contaminated tissue (brain and spinal tissue) are removed from the carcass before rendering.

Well, that's good. The news is reporting that farmers are going to see an increase in costs of dead animal removal, as rendering plants pass those costs of precaution to the farmer. Many farmers might decide to compost, bury, or drag into the back 40, those dead cows, instead of rendering them.

In the meantime, since I know firsthand that composting and burying is an adequate solution, I am more concerned about the fact that I have been letting my kids handle the dog, cat, and chicken food as part of their daily chores. As a precaution, I am now handling the pet feed-much to my childrens horror after I relayed the story and the reason why I have now taken over those duties. Now I just need to scrape(pardon the pun) up the funds to buy some galvanized cans to get the feed out of the house-since I am worried that the dust might be carrying mad cow prions.

Hopefully not for long, with the new regulations...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Twenty Years Later: James Hansen

Global Warming Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near
James Hansen1
My presentation today is exactly 20 years after my 23 June 1988 testimony to Congress, which
alerted the public that global warming was underway. There are striking similarities between
then and now, but one big difference.
Again a wide gap has developed between what is understood about global warming by
the relevant scientific community and what is known by policymakers and the public. Now, as
then, frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic.
Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.
The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to
defuse the global warming time bomb. The next President and Congress must define a course
next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for
the present dangerous situation.
Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the
greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from
passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of
humanity’s control.
Changes needed to preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed, are
clear. But the changes have been blocked by special interests, focused on short-term profits, who
hold sway in Washington and other capitals.
I argue that a path yielding energy independence and a healthier environment is, barely,
still possible. It requires a transformative change of direction in Washington in the next year.
On 23 June 1988 I testified to a hearing, chaired by Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado, that the
Earth had entered a long-term warming trend and that human-made greenhouse gases almost
surely were responsible. I noted that global warming enhanced both extremes of the water cycle,
meaning stronger droughts and forest fires, on the one hand, but also heavier rains and floods.
My testimony two decades ago was greeted with skepticism. But while skepticism is the
lifeblood of science, it can confuse the public. As scientists examine a topic from all
perspectives, it may appear that nothing is known with confidence. But from such broad openminded
study of all data, valid conclusions can be drawn.
My conclusions in 1988 were built on a wide range of inputs from basic physics,
planetary studies, observations of on-going changes, and climate models. The evidence was
strong enough that I could say it was time to “stop waffling”. I was sure that time would bring
the scientific community to a similar consensus, as it has.
While international recognition of global warming was swift, actions have faltered. The
U.S. refused to place limits on its emissions, and developing countries such as China and India
rapidly increased their emissions.
What is at stake? Warming so far, about two degrees Fahrenheit over land areas, seems almost
innocuous, being less than day-to-day weather fluctuations. But more warming is already “inthe-
pipeline”, delayed only by the great inertia of the world ocean. And climate is nearing
dangerous tipping points. Elements of a “perfect storm”, a global cataclysm, are assembled.
Climate can reach points such that amplifying feedbacks spur large rapid changes. Arctic
sea ice is a current example. Global warming initiated sea ice melt, exposing darker ocean that
absorbs more sunlight, melting more ice. As a result, without any additional greenhouse gases,
the Arctic soon will be ice-free in the summer.
More ominous tipping points loom. West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are
vulnerable to even small additional warming. These two-mile-thick behemoths respond slowly
at first, but if disintegration gets well underway it will become unstoppable. Debate among
scientists is only about how much sea level would rise by a given date. In my opinion, if
emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely this
century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees. No stable shoreline would be
reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive.
Animal and plant species are already stressed by climate change. Polar and alpine
species will be pushed off the planet, if warming continues. Other species attempt to migrate,
but as some are extinguished their interdependencies can cause ecosystem collapse. Mass
extinctions, of more than half the species on the planet, have occurred several times when the
Earth warmed as much as expected if greenhouse gases continue to increase. Biodiversity
recovered, but it required hundreds of thousands of years.
The disturbing conclusion, documented in a paper2 I have written with several of the world’s
leading climate experts, is that the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is no more than 350
ppm (parts per million) and it may be less. Carbon dioxide amount is already 385 ppm and
rising about 2 ppm per year. Stunning corollary: the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less
than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation.
These conclusions are based on paleoclimate data showing how the Earth responded to
past levels of greenhouse gases and on observations showing how the world is responding to
today’s carbon dioxide amount. The consequences of continued increase of greenhouse gases
extend far beyond extermination of species and future sea level rise.
Arid subtropical climate zones are expanding poleward. Already an average expansion
of about 250 miles has occurred, affecting the southern United States, the Mediterranean region,
Australia and southern Africa. Forest fires and drying-up of lakes will increase further unless
carbon dioxide growth is halted and reversed.
Mountain glaciers are the source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people. These
glaciers are receding world-wide, in the Himalayas, Andes and Rocky Mountains. They will
disappear, leaving their rivers as trickles in late summer and fall, unless the growth of carbon
dioxide is reversed.
Coral reefs, the rainforest of the ocean, are home for one-third of the species in the sea.
Coral reefs are under stress for several reasons, including warming of the ocean, but especially
because of ocean acidification, a direct effect of added carbon dioxide. Ocean life dependent on
carbonate shells and skeletons is threatened by dissolution as the ocean becomes more acid.
Such phenomena, including the instability of Arctic sea ice and the great ice sheets at
today’s carbon dioxide amount, show that we have already gone too far. We must draw down
atmospheric carbon dioxide to preserve the planet we know. A level of no more than 350 ppm is
still feasible, with the help of reforestation and improved agricultural practices, but just barely –
time is running out.
Requirements to halt carbon dioxide growth follow from the size of fossil carbon reservoirs.
Coal towers over oil and gas. Phase out of coal use except where the carbon is captured and
stored below ground is the primary requirement for solving global warming.
Oil is used in vehicles where it is impractical to capture the carbon. But oil is running
out. To preserve our planet we must also ensure that the next mobile energy source is not
obtained by squeezing oil from coal, tar shale or other fossil fuels.
Fossil fuel reservoirs are finite, which is the main reason that prices are rising. We must
move beyond fossil fuels eventually. Solution of the climate problem requires that we move to
carbon-free energy promptly.
Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of
moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global
warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated,
including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.
CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term
consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for
high crimes against humanity and nature.
Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on
a runaway climate to our children. Humanity would be impoverished by ravages of continually
shifting shorelines and intensification of regional climate extremes. Loss of countless species
would leave a more desolate planet.
If politicians remain at loggerheads, citizens must lead. We must demand a moratorium
on new coal-fired power plants. We must block fossil fuel interests who aim to squeeze every
last drop of oil from public lands, off-shore, and wilderness areas. Those last drops are no
solution. They yield continued exorbitant profits for a short-sighted self-serving industry, but no
alleviation of our addiction or long-term energy source.
Moving from fossil fuels to clean energy is challenging, yet transformative in ways that will be
welcomed. Cheap, subsidized fossil fuels engendered bad habits. We import food from halfway
around the world, for example, even with healthier products available from nearby fields. Local
produce would be competitive if not for fossil fuel subsidies and the fact that climate change
damages and costs, due to fossil fuels, are also borne by the public.
A price on emissions that cause harm is essential. Yes, a carbon tax. Carbon tax with
100 percent dividend3 is needed to wean us off fossil fuel addiction. Tax and dividend allows the
marketplace, not politicians, to make investment decisions.
Carbon tax on coal, oil and gas is simple, applied at the first point of sale or port of entry.
The entire tax must be returned to the public, an equal amount to each adult, a half-share for
children. This dividend can be deposited monthly in an individual’s bank account.
Carbon tax with 100 percent dividend is non-regressive. On the contrary, you can bet
that low and middle income people will find ways to limit their carbon tax and come out ahead.
Profligate energy users will have to pay for their excesses.
Demand for low-carbon high-efficiency products will spur innovation, making our
products more competitive on international markets. Carbon emissions will plummet as energy
efficiency and renewable energies grow rapidly. Black soot, mercury and other fossil fuel
emissions will decline. A brighter, cleaner future, with energy independence, is possible.
Washington likes to spend our tax money line-by-line. Swarms of high-priced lobbyists in
alligator shoes help Congress decide where to spend, and in turn the lobbyists’ clients provide
“campaign” money.
The public must send a message to Washington. Preserve our planet, creation, for our
children and grandchildren, but do not use that as an excuse for more tax-and-spend. Let this be
our motto: “One hundred percent dividend or fight!”
The next President must make a national low-loss electric grid an imperative. It will
allow dispersed renewable energies to supplant fossil fuels for power generation. Technology
exists for direct-current high-voltage buried transmission lines. Trunk lines can be completed in
less than a decade and expanded analogous to interstate highways.
Government must also change utility regulations so that profits do not depend on selling
ever more energy, but instead increase with efficiency. Building code and vehicle efficiency
requirements must be improved and put on a path toward carbon neutrality.
The fossil-industry maintains its strangle-hold on Washington via demagoguery, using
China and other developing nations as scapegoats to rationalize inaction. In fact, we produced
most of the excess carbon in the air today, and it is to our advantage as a nation to move smartly
in developing ways to reduce emissions. As with the ozone problem, developing countries can
be allowed limited extra time to reduce emissions. They will cooperate: they have much to lose
from climate change and much to gain from clean air and reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
We must establish fair agreements with other countries. However, our own tax and
dividend should start immediately. We have much to gain from it as a nation, and other
countries will copy our success. If necessary, import duties on products from uncooperative
countries can level the playing field, with the import tax added to the dividend pool.
Democracy works, but sometimes churns slowly. Time is short. The 2008 election is
critical for the planet. If Americans turn out to pasture the most brontosaurian congressmen, if
Washington adapts to address climate change, our children and grandchildren can still hold great
1 Dr. James E. Hansen, a physicist by training, directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a laboratory
of the Goddard Space Flight Center and a unit of the Columbia University Earth Institute, but he speaks as a private
citizen today at the National Press Club and at a Briefing to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence &
Global Warming.
2 Target atmospheric CO2: where should humanity aim? J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Kharecha, D. Beerling, R. Berner, V.
Masson-Delmotte, M. Raymo, D.L. Royer, J.C. Zachos, and
3 The proposed “tax and 100% dividend” is based largely on the cap and dividend approach described by Peter
Barnes in “Who Owns the Sky: Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism”, Island Press, Washington, D.C.,
2001 (

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Say Goodbye to the Earth as We know It (edited 11/19/08)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nothing like a word of optimism, eh?

I am so hopping mad!!! I just read AP's version of pres-elect Obama's video message to the Los Angeles meeting on climate change today.

He plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Let me just toss in here that today at the library I grabbed "Censoring Science" by Mark Bowen, released in January 2008. I started plodding through it, and primarily it centers around data that led Jim Hansen, regarded as the preeminent climate scientist of our time to state, in 1988 after testifying to a Senate Committee, "It's time to stop waffling...and say that the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now."

Folks, that statement was made in 1988. If we continue to allow greenhouse gas emissions to exceed 1990 levels for 12 years-where will the global climate be?

And cap and trade by auctioning carbon credits? I still argue that the rising price of oil crashed the global economy-so how is raising the price of energy via cap and trade going to help the economy?

I leafed through to the end of the book, and found Jim's web site that I was going to check out, when I came across the AP article on Obama'a climate change policies. So I haven't checked the website out yet and have other things going on at the moment, but here is the web page if anyone wants to check it out before me.

I have corrected the link-I misread the last character as an l instead of a 1. Should work now, but you need Adobe to read the PDF docs, if interested.

I will also add that Obama at least seems to be following James Hansen's recommendations in the latest PDF. Those are to reduce/eliminate burning of coal. Hansen projects that if the use of coal, the number one CO2 contributor, is curtailed, given the projection of the remaining oil reserves, by 2020 CO2 emissions will gradually start to return to approximate 1990 levels.

In other words, the declining availibility of oil will reduce consumption and the production of CO2 as contributed from oil.

Given those projections, Hansen estimates that there will still be climate change, but not in the extreme that would make life uncomfortable here on Earth.

Those were my impressions from the most recent PDF document.

From my personal climate observations here in my little corner of the Earth, I would venture to say that climate science is a very complicated thing.

For example, the last two summers have seen the greatest loss of Artic sea ice in recorded history. Last fall we had an extremely warm season here, followed by near record snowfall for the winter. This fall, we have been well below normal for average temperatures. Our highs this week, according to local meteorologists, are more in line with average temperatures for December. So, this fall we are below normal for temperature. We have also had a very wet autumn-so perhaps the extensive cloud cover has contributed to those lower temperatures.

Obviously there are many variables that create climatic conditions. If the loss of sea ice was a primary factor in our climate here, I would assume that the last two years would be similar, but they are not. I am curious as to what our snowfall amounts will look like for this winter compared to last year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Barack, Barack, Barack

Please excuse my constant misspelling of the president-elect's first name. I am not usually a phoenetic speller, but to me the spelling Barack screams the pronunciation Ba-Rack, when it is pronounced Ba-Rock. Spelled with two A's, my brain insists that the c be dropped, to read, Ba-Rak.

Ok, ok, it's Barack. I will probably do it again. Occasionally I run into these sort of spelling traps-some continue to haunt me.

names are especially embarrassing. Thank goodness mine is spelled like it sounds-at least when it is pronounced correctly. Over the phone I say it and then just start spelling it automatically. I learned to spell my last name by age three because I heard my mother spell it over the phone so often. LOL.

*walks off chanting, B*A*R*A*C*K* **

The Obamas' Interview on 60 Minutes

President-elect Barak Obama and his wife Michelle were on 60 minutes last night.

This was his first interview since winning the presidential election, and it was interesting to see husband and wife together. Their interaction was heartwarming-the playful give and take and familiarity that is often seen in couples that have been together for a long time.

Some of the interview highlights:

Pres-elect Obama admitted that there will be a Republican in his cabinet-more than one? wouldn't say.

He admitted that he had met recently with HIlary Clinton-what for? Wouldn't say. :D

Barak said that he had been reading a lot of Lincoln and some Roosevelt and confided he was willing to try different things to see if they worked.

His reading time has been mostly consumed by reading security briefings, however.

Michelle admitted that things have changed greatly since their last interview with Scott Pelley two years ago, but pointed out that they have changed in increments so that it has been easier to adjust.

There was a discussion about Barak's senatorial apartment in DC. Scott joked that it had been said that he was the only senator who had lesser living quarters than his aides. Michelle admitted that she had visited it but had refused to stay there, and had chosen to stay at a hotel during her visits to DC. She said that it was reminiscent of Barak's apartment when they first started dating. She then went on to describe Barak's car at that time-the floorboards on the passenger side were so rotted out that she could see the road passing beneath her feet.

Barak laughed and said, "Well, you didn't marry me for my money, then..."

So what does this tell us about the president elect?

Perhaps that he is willing to make due with less for a greater good. Most likely the cheap apartment was to ensure more money for his wife and daughters. Or perhaps that he doesn't require luxury to be content. Seems like a good sign of frugality in our president-to-be. Perhaps his promises to go over the budget with a scalpel to cut the fat from some programs to put the money where it is needed is sincere. And his promise to put an end to corporate greed at the expense of the working class.

Michelle, on the other hand, seemed to be looking forward to an increase in their status. She spoke with wonderment at the honor of living in the luxurious accomodations of the White House while sporting a decadent triple-strand necklace of colored pearls. Of course she is not to be faulted for this-most likely the pearls were a gift or loan-and most people would revel in such a leap of status.

Barak just seemed disappointed that he couldn't go out for a walk. Michelle shrugged her shoulders. Barak said he would love to take a stroll with his wife, but admitted that it was cold for a walk. Michelle agreed and laughed and said she wouldn't go for a walk if they could.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just so -- Jesus -- raps

Just so -- Jesus -- raps --
He -- doesn't weary --
Last -- at the Knocker --
And first -- at the Bell.
Then -- on divinest tiptoe -- standing --
Might He but spy the lady's soul --
When He -- retires --
Chilled -- or weary --
It will be ample time for -- me --
Patient -- upon the steps -- until then --
Hears! I am knocking -- low at thee.

Emily Dickinson



Society and the American Dream

As an addendum to my last post regarding Maine Revunue services, I add this comment.

I had another call to MR to speak with my account manager regarding the certified notice I received yesterday. Now, I know that I am current on my agreement, so I wanted to know why MR had mailing regarding payment in full.

My account manager said that this is something that MR does every year. (without any suggestion from me that this was a special thing this year due to lower revenue)

MR sends a certified letter to everyone on a payment plan. Supposedly this is to inform the person that if they are not paid in full by the end of the year, MR can turn over the balance to the Feds and have it deducted from tax returns. The certified notices are sent out to prevent the deliquent taxpayers from calling up MR in March protesting that they did not know that would happen and it was unjust.

I argued unsuccessfully that if MR made it clear in the initial agreement they would not need to send out all these certified letters. Of course everyone on a plan pays interest and also an equal amount in charges and fees, so the actual cost of the letter is probably born by the person on the plan, and not an additional cost to MR in general.

Although I was not harmed by the letter, the premise of the letter was legal protection for MR against those taxpayers that are deliquent and want to use the "I didn't know-that's not fair!" argument.

Ok, fine.

While I was taking Peko on his sniff and stroll in the middle of nowhereville last night, the situation crept back into mind. I contemplated how America began with people wanting to escape persecution and over-regulation and live their lives in freedom. So they headed into the unknown to live in wild America and founded a country where people could live in freedom and happiness.

I came to understand that the formation of any society is like entropy in reverse. We have lawmakers that we elect to make laws. Where does that lead? To more laws. Everytime someone does something that society doesn't agree with, or perhaps that harms society, a law or rule is created to stop that from happening-or rather, to incur fines and punishments.

Where does that leave us? Is that freedom? Because of terrorist from other countries, all our communications are monitored. Because some people run redlights, there are cameras at traffic stops. Because people shoplift, there are cameras in stores.

Some might argue that a law-abiding citizen not be concerned about these things. If you do what you are supposed to do, what is the harm? These things are only designed to catch the folks breaking the law.

Well, I am aggravated.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Maine Revenue

Maine State Revenue must be in a mess. Maine gets a lot of revenue from tourists during the summer. This year when gas was over 4 a gallon, there was a lot less traffic on the road than usual, so I imagine the state of Maine is in a real budget crunch right now.

Add to that fact that earlier this week the state sent out a bunch of certified letters to folks on payment plans for taxes owed. These went out before the monthly due date for the total amount owed. A few folks might just mindlessly pay that amount, even with a check for part of that amount in route.

It is, as the woman who answered the phone at the revenue service stated, "under-handed."

If in fact none of the unsuspecting taxpayers bite and pay in full, the state is still out the cost of sending all that certified mail. How many letters went out? I imagine to everyone that is on a payment plan, as the postmaster at my tiny post office said that he had seen "quite a few" of the certified letters come through this week. Hhhrruumpp.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Full Moon


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Home Thoughts

THE SEA rocks have a green moss.
The pine rocks have red berries.
I have memories of you.

Speak to me of how you miss me.
Tell me the hours go long and slow.

Speak to me of the drag on your heart,
The iron drag of the long days.

I know hours empty as a beggar’s tin cup on a rainy day, empty as a soldier’s sleeve with an arm lost.

Speak to me …

Carl Sandburg

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday's nightfall


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Random Stuff

"Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.” Katherine Hepburn

I grabbed that quote off the bottom of . There are a few more good quotes and always great pix and stories. Check it out!

One story I always loved about Katherine Hepburn was that whenever she arrived at her destination she would light a fire in the fireplace to make the place cozy. Many times when I light my woodstove I think of that story, and a picture of elegant Ms. Hepburn balling up the newspaper and lighting the logs in an immense stone fireplace comes to mind.

For those of you who were doubting that Obama meant Change-a breaking news story says that Obama is planning on using Executive Orders to reverse some of the Bush administration policies.

Lastly, I have fired up a new blog. This one I will try and return to its origins of commentary on local , national, and world events, mixed with quotes and poetry. The personal stuff is going on another blog, .

I wanted to have a place to keep track of some personal things without having to search for the paper or notebook I jotted it down on. More of a personal diary. I think the move will help clean this one up a bit, especially since I noticed I had a few hits from banks and financial companies following my economic comments. LOL. ROFLMAO.

Tree 1108

Friday, November 7, 2008

Return of a Stalker?

Peko was bugging for his nightly sniff and stroll early tonight, but it was still afterdark by the time I leashed him and we headed down the drive. One of two neighbors on the hill has acquired a dog with a large bark, and he was exercising it this evening. Instead of heading up the road, we turned down the road.

I thought I heard an approaching vehicle, so once we reached where the road narrows over the culvert, we crossed to the other side. After Peko did his business, he wanted to walk over to the pond. I acquiesced, since he had not been there in awhile. There was mist rising off the pond and drifting through the old growth. The mist reflected the light from the other neighbor's porch light, offerring some illumination.

We were about half way to the water when a pick up truck suddenly roared down the road and pulled into my drive. I thought it was going up the drive, but it stopped. Then it backed out and slowly pulled parallel to the pond right of way, blocking our exit. I stood with the dog observing all this, and then the truck door opened and one person got out and started to walk or reachover the back of the truck.

That was more than Peko's nerve could bear, and he let off a couple of "who are you?!?" barks. The guy from the truck turned and growled. I doubled my grip on Peko's leash and said, "hey, hey, hey...." in a low register with reproachment in it; to both calm the dog and let the ass know I didn't appreciate him antagonizing my dog.

He had no idea I was there until I spoke, and then he turned and jumped back into the truck, acting guilty-like caught in the act. Weighing my options, and not wanting to be cut off from the road, I decided to move forward and cut behind the truck if needed to get back to the road. I had slung the leash around my behind to keep Peko from dragging me, and as we moved forward, the truck slowly pulled away. I noticed it was missing a tailight lens cover on the driver's side-the tailights showed as one white and one red.

I initially supposed it was someone disposing of deer parts. In the past I have found a garbage bag with deer parts along the stream. Then some puzzle pieces started to come together.

Earlier in the week, the Firebird had thought someone was walking up the drive. He had seen lights at the end of the road-one white and one red-which went out.

Then there is the missing Obama sign.

And one more that I hadn't mentioned. A few days ago we noticed that my scarecrow effigy's face was stained an orange yellow. I dismissed it was the dye leaching out of the straw hat band-or tannins from the leaves we had used for stuffing. About ten days ago we had a bad storm and I found mine and Willow's collapsed on the ground and re-situated them, blaming the wind and the rain. So, I thought the stain might have been related to that.

When I was investigating the missing Obama sign, I examined my scarecrow more closely. It was a distinct possibility that the stain was urine. Well, that seemed sort of weird, and not caring for that too much, Willow and I tore the scarecrows apart yesterday. I had several thoughts on the matter-but could really only think of one person that might be disturbed enough to urinate on my scarecrow. My "friendly" stalker from many months ago. He kept coming around and was a nightmare to get rid of. He most likely holds a grudge.

I also seem to recall him growling at my dogs back then, as well.

Hopefully if it was stalker boy he was startled away tonight for good and that will be the end of it. I just wish I didn't have the edgies over it. :( Maybe I'll set up a few booby traps around the yard just in case. ;)

Political Satire

I have a great idea for a political cartoon. I just wish that I could draw it or sell it.
Here it is:
Bush is giving Obama a tour of the White House. The sign above the open door they have just passed is "Torture Room," where one can see folks hanging hooded and one being waterboarded.

The next one down is "Privacy Room," which has a hundred communication cables snaking underneath.

The sign over the door Bush is opening says, "Treasury Room" Bush is saying to a stunned Obama, "and here is the Treasury Room."

Sec of Treasury Paulson is cartoonized as the Grinch, and is hanging down out of the chimney grasping one last shiny penny from the hands of a starving American taxpayer characterized as a skinny dirty mouse. The rest of the room is empty.

(no offense to my non-American mouse readers...;) )

Obama Acceptence Speech Video virus alert and political satire

Just a quick head's up I just received a call from a friend that the online video of President -Elect Obama's acceptence speech has been hacked and packed with a trojan. Anti-virus programs are updating protection.

Some folks are taking Obama's win pretty hard. :(

Sort of along the vein of ripping up political signs-don't these folks understand the concept of free speech?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Last of the Russet Potatoes...

Tree 1108

More Blessings!

Ok, I know I said that I love to dig fresh taters for Thanksgiving, but it has been so cold I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get the taters out of the ground if I waited much longer. This is the last of the Russets-a real fave with the saplings.

The Russets did very well this year! So well ,in fact, that I think I will present a meal to a beloved gardener friend of mine who outgrows me in everyway in every season. He never plants russets since they rarely do well in Maine....hehehe not this year!

My early red potatoes are long gone, but we have been enjoying the russets for awhile. I also dug up a small row of Kennebec whites-full of scab and some green ones. I never got around to hilling that row, and I think I had taters there the last few years, so that may explain the poor showing. That, and the fact that the saplings mistook worm-digging directions this summer and dug up half that row in search of good fishing wrigglers. LOL.

Also today, the Willow help me dissect the scarecrows and dig the russets. Then she went off digging the tiles out of the overgrown garden paths, while I dug the scaby white potatoes.

She and I then positioned the tiles on the ground off the back entry-a skitter-skatter, pell-mell of color and texture, filled in with gravel scrapings and topped with some ancient goldfish tank gravel for highlight.

Not the end of the chores, I then coerced the Firebird into helping me re-dig the other half of the russet bed; long-gone lettuce over-run with moneywort and tall fescues-a nit-picky, back-breaking job. The ruthless dictactatoress that I am, I then highjacked him into digging well-rotting animal bedding and compost and wheel-barrowing it onto the bed we dug over. Then he was finished. (!!!!)(poor kid :P)

The Willow then leapt into enthusiastic assistence, and once I showed her how to use the compost forks, she set to work single-handedly filling wheelbarrows while I edged and turned over the next bed; former home to aforementioned red potatoes and the early row of peas, long gone. My work was frequently interrupted with shouts from Willow, "isn't this FUN!?!" and,"look how much I got on this fork...and this fork and this fork!!!" and, after each wheelbarrow, "One, more, ok Mommie?!"
Blessed! Yes, I am. :)

Between the three of us, we turned over two 5X25 foot beds and dumped 8 wheelbarrows of compost. The chickens will spread it out later.

Peko kept us company throughout-standing on the fresh-turned earth and staring into each fresh-turned hole. He loves to dig, but has been reprimanded for it. He dug hesistantly at the beach the other day, and barely managed to restrain himself in the garden today, although he got some good sniffs in.

We continue to revel in poverty! We do what we can with what we have, and are thankful for it! Some might call it mad, but I think it is making the most of what is given to you, and enjoying every minute. ;)

Crush~Dave Matthews

It's crazy, I'm thinking just as long as you're around.
I'm here I'll be dancing on the ground.
Am I right side up or upside down? To each other, we'll be facing.

My love, my love, we'll beat back the pain we've found.
You know, I mean to tell you all the things I've been thinking, deep inside my Friend.

With each moment the more I love you. crush me, come on, baby.
So much you have, given love, that I would give you back again and again.

Oh, the love, many now hold you but please, please, just let me, always

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Indian Summer! Someone stole my Obama sign...Any good pear recipes?


Congrats to the Obama camp and condolences to the McCain camp. McCain put up a tough close fight.

I noticed this morning that my Obama sign was missing from the end of the driveway. I cannot remember the last time I saw it. I think it might have been stolen a couple nights ago. The Firebird had seen lights at the road late at night earlier in the week, so that might have been when it was taken.

Actually I expected it to be stolen right after I put it up. I am suprised it stayed put so long.

Indian Summer is here! Today it is even warmer-trying to bust the 70F mark. We have had a below normal last couple of months. I think it might be related to the huge Arctic Ice melt from this summer. A lot more moisture in the air and clouds that cover the sun makes a cool fall.

Lastly, any clever recipes for pears? I have quite the box full. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Great Beach Day

We can't seem to get enough of the ocean this week. Today we had a busy schedule: library by noon, voting, and depending on other factors, dump run and possibly beach trip. Under the time gun, I was trying to recall exactly what we had out from the library. I was pretty sure we were missing one of the Firebird's. Clever Willow suggested calling the library to enquire.

So, after scouring the most likely places (we have many books of our own-a dozen or so recently acquired to add to the confusion) I gave in and called the library. The librarian, bless her heart, after saying loudly, "It's very loud in here," and, "we're open all day due to voting at the town office next door," to, "how about I just extend you two more weeks?"

LOL. Yeah, sure. More time for me to finish the Satanic Verses by Rushdie (snooze-it's got to get to a point,

Well, that left plenty of free time to sort through all the garbage and recyclables that the SKUNK has been sifting through for the last week. Well, in my own defense the dump runs had been put off due to the condition of the tires on the auto-but I had four put on last week, so no excuse.

By the time we finished goat chores we were down to tees and sweating. Perfect beach day!

Straight to the dump and then off to the beach. We passed several voting stations enroute one of which was doing lively work. Mine was dead, when passing and upon return-when I was "doing my civic duty," as one aquaintence put it...

We were lawabiding citizens on this occasion to the oceanfront, and I headed straight for the gate at Big Beach. One other vehicle was there, parked outside the locked gate. We walked in, and passed two ladies who were exiting-one clad in a tank top and no jacket! who assured us it was a perfect beach day.

And so it was.

So, I sit and type this with one ear on the evening news downstairs... I hope you all voted! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Harbor Breakwater




We took a hike out onto the breakwater today. The temperature was probably high forties (F) and the wind was howling a gale. There were two vehicles in the parking area. We headed out from the picnic area around to the little beach and waterfront path. There was a group of five or six people just coming off the breakwater.

About halfway to the breakwater, we decided to yield to their large group, and dropped down onto the beach. The seaweed was piled up enormously, and it appeared to be high tide. There was a small strip of sand clear by the embankment that we walked along.

No sooner than we hit the sand, we noticed a seagull skeleton complete with feathers atop the seaweed. (a big ewww) There was a lot of stuff in that seaweed! I found a brand new tennis ball for Peko. LOL.

We passed abreast of the other group just as they reached a stone bench along the upper walk, and one of their members sort of collapsed onto the bench. I thought it was from the bitter wind and exertion of hiking the breakwater.

So, we took off down the breakwater, the fierce winds kicking spray up from the harborside. We were grateful that the wind was blowing from inshore, since the leeward side of the breakwater is braced with large granite rubble. If one were blown off in that direction, it would means cuts and scrapes rather than sure drowning if one went over the other side.

We didn't make it out to the lighthouse-time constraints-. So we headed back, with Peko near dragging me in a half run. I realized how cold he must be! We raced off the breakwater skipping over cracks, and headed down the upper path. When we got to the second stone bench, there was a fresh bunch of florists roses sitting on the seat. Closer examination showed the bench to be newly installed. It was a lovely pink granite, and carved, like the other benches, with a memoriam.

I didn't read the name-I pushed the bouquet aside and read, "Mother, daughter, sister," and felt like I was intruding on the fresh grief of the group, having witnessed the collapse of a most likely a relative- and now just come upon the flowers.

I thought it was a lovely memorial in a beautiful spot.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Less than half the haul


Sonnet 38: How can my Muse want subject to invent

How can my Muse want subject to invent
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,
For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight Muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

by William Shakespeare