More Earth Day

More Earth Day

Among the things I’m doing today is trying to understand why David Buckel’s self-immolation last week went largely unnoticed, barely reported and rarely discussed.  I understand the difficulties a suicide raises for the media.  But a man gave his life for a discussion we largely refuse to have.  Maybe if he’d been a porn star…IMG_0658

Noamic wisdom

There’s been nothing like this in history. It’s kind of an outrageous statement, but it happens to be true, that the Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history. Nobody, not even the Nazis, was dedicated to destroying the possibility of organized human life. It’s just missing from the media. In fact, if you read, say, the sensible business press, the Financial Times, BusinessWeek, any of them, when they talk about fossil fuel production, the articles are all just about the prospect for profit. Is the U.S. is moving to number one and what are the gains? Not that it’s going to wipe out organized human life. Maybe that’s a footnote somewhere. It’s pretty astonishing.  Noam Chompsky

This place don’t make sense to me no more

Let’s overturn these tables
Disconnect these cables
This place don’t make sense to me no more
Can you tell me what we’re waiting for, señor?

Bob Dylan, Señor


The Occupation of the White House continues, despite the constant suggestions that the whole criminal enterprise is about to run aground on the rocks of madness or the rule of law or that we will finally just all wake up and realize the whole thing was just a bad dream.

Often I intend to write about it, only to decide I have nothing new to offer and other writers have responded more brilliantly than I can. The morning’s outrage is eclipsed by the afternoon’s before I can construct the sentences I need.

Tomorrow I have a Noam Chompsky quote to post.  Today I’m going to write about a couple of things made me happy this morning and this week.  The first is that there was a tide so low, I got to walk on parts of the beach where I’ve never walked before.  There were starfish, egrets, and an underwater cave, suddenly high and dry that Lily and I could explore all the way to the back of.  It was like being in a children’s book, finding a new world in the back of the wardrobe.

Secondly, friend of the blog, Andrew Sean Greer, won the Pulitzer prize for his fabulous novel LESS.  If you haven’t read this book, apparently I am not the only person who thinks you should. Joy awaits you there.


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Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.

No darkness lasts forever. And even there, there are stars. Ursula K Le Guin.



For the great Ursula Le Guin’s 80th birthday, Debbie Notkin and I put together a festshrift as a gift to her.  My own contribution was a poem.  Missing her today, I pulled it out and I see that it needs much work.  But also that I won’t be working on it.  It was a birthday present, not a work of art. And it’s time is over.

I’ve spent the last month writing tributes to her and I think I’m worded out.  But I wanted something on my personal blog that acknowledges her passing and how lucky we were to have her when we did.  So here is the poem I wrote eight years ago:



Ursula’s Eightieth

A Sonnet Upon it


Sunrise at the edge of the world.  We dance,

the dog and I (the dog deadweight.)  We hear

the cri de coeur of seals, the “ur, ur, ur”

of Ursula.  The morning sun advances.


Dazzled sea and rock below.  Above

me, lines of pelicans, a cloud of gulls

unlock the air with joyful aerials.

We celebrate!  It is the birthday of


the worlds of Omelas, Urras, Gethen,

O, of Rocannon and the Ansarac,

and more.  All are very far away from

anywhere, yet each one holds this lesson:

that, wander where you will, (or even walk

away) and still you’re always coming home.

You’ve got to sing loud

I have squandered my existence
On a pocket full of mumbles such are promises

Paul Simon, The Boxer


Another bleak day in Democrat land.  Who was Lucy and who was Charlie Brown in today’s deal to end the government shutdown?  Mitch McConnell taunting Chuck Schumer?  Or Chuck Schumer taunting us?  How many times have we watched this play out, hoping to see the Democrats match their actions to their words, only to see them cave?

The Republican Party has moved beyond truth, beyond shame, beyond the last remnants of their morality.  We need something more from our Democratic Representatives than that they manage only to be better than that.

On Saturday we marched.  On Monday we mourn.

our new year

Where the river bends, is a place I’ve been
The water’s not as blue, and the grass, well it ain’t so green
The current gets strong, it can pull you down
You gotta swim hard, if you want to turn around.

                                    Michael Barber, Where the River Bends

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The morning began with the sounds of battle.  Skunk in the yard!  Lily ran around the corner of the house and I heard the excitement of engagement, all too brief, and then one startled bark signifying defeat.  She came racing back, frantically scraping her body and face against the pavement and the ground.  Her color changed completely from white to mud.  I dumped her into the bath, but neither of us was satisfied with the result.  She ran through the house, wiping herself off on all the rugs, furniture, and bedding.  We are turning her over to the professionals at Petsmart and I am spending the day in the great wash-up.  I know it’s pointless. The stink always wins.

Speaking of politics. 

I feel as if I spent a whole year in the constant hope of imminent rescue.  Headlines continually assuring me that Trump was losing it; he was melting down; Mueller was closing in; this or that bit of news was a game-changer.  Today marked the beginning of the end for Trump (Daily Beast, August 15, 2017.) Keith Olberman, retiring, predicts the end of Trump.  (Washington Times, November 28, 2017) Michael Wolff Says That Washington Will Bury Trump (New Yorker, yesterday.)  Meanwhile the support of the Republican Party for all things Trump deepens and broadens.  Lindsey Graham is not a real boy, but a puppet, and along with Chuck Grassley (less surprising) is all in for obstruction of justice.  Trump seems to me no less insane today than he did at his inauguration, i.e. he’s always been the raving bafflegab we see before us.  We have lived a year now caught at the event horizon of venal stupidity.  It’s exhausting.  Ask Tantalus.

So I attach two soothing pictures – art at the beach and the dawning of a new day. 

what fresh hell

And I’m going down
Where the waves will surround
To the roll and the pound
Of the wild wild sea
Talking sweet to me

A.A. Bondy, A Slow Parade




There were big, mean dogs at the beach this morning.  Lily told them off, but they didn’t listen.  Still, we persisted.  We will not be run off the beach.  We will just run.  We are very fast.  (One of us is.)  Lily is now lying against me in our chair, all tuckered out.

Otherwise, a beautiful morning.  An egret in the surf, five pelicans flying low over the silvery water, one otter on its back in the waves.  The tide out and the beach long.

We’ve been watching in horror as southern California burns.  I have a lot of family in Ventura.  One of my cousins lost her house and everything in it.  The others have spent the last days evacuated.  Yesterday a group of them arrived up here for a while.  They came with stories and nightmares.  Some of the footage online is simply unbelievable.  My son tells me the sky is full of ash and the horizon is a deadly orange.  A hellscape, is what he says.  We will take a moment from our national outrages to mourn.


Moment over, mourning ongoing.  Also outrage.


Mitch McConnell is lecturing democrats on responsible government.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders is lecturing John Lewis on the importance of the civil rights movement.  Donald Trump is lecturing Al Franken on sexual misconduct.  Irony has taken to her bed with a cold compress and a bottle of gin.