Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thalassa, Thalassa!

Hard to believe that two months have flowed past since April's poetry challenge had me writing a poem a day.  May and June have been busy with my last classes of my ESL career (as I see it from here, but you never know) and with rage, grief, and constant reading of news about the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been on Facebook more often than not, reading news, posting items on my own page, sharing feelings about this event with like-minded friends. I don't know what this social networking is for others, but I see it as the reason the Internet was invented.  I have found a community of interesting, sensitive, compassionate, politically savvy friends via this medium.  They are people I know in the Real World, mostly people with whom I had long ago lost touch, as well as people I know only in the Virtual World, some for many years, some for the past months only. Having this medium to vent feelings, gather and share information, has kept me from going completely mad during the past two months since Deepwater Horizon first blew.

If you have read any of my poems on this blog (blog I refer to is my poetry blog, Poetic License), you know I write about small quotidian bits of life - birds, gardens, weather, food, the conjunction of any of the above - and this Gulf disaster is far too big a subject for my heart to encompass, for my brain to form words.  I think about it all the time, I wake in the night imagining the loss of the marshes, the plight of the birds, turtles, sea mammals.  I go to the river, the Rio Bravo, or Rio Grande as we call it now, and send my prayers for all of the creatures floating down the redbrown muddy currents to where it empties into the Gulf.  A very valuable new friend found on Facebook is a writer named Julia Whitty.  She has written quite a few books, and is also an environmental writer for Mother Jones.  Her blog, titled, like her most recent book, Deep Blue Home,  is on my daily reading list.  She has a lovely habit of posting poetry on Sundays, and this one stopped my breath, went straight to my aching heart:

by Cleopatra Mathis

    When I woke, the waves had gone black,
    turning over the macerated
    curd of the ocean bottom, heaving its sludge
    onto the beach. Some storm far out, I thought,
    had ravaged the sea, stirred up its bed,
    sent the whole mess flying to shore.
    At my feet I found a grave of starfish,
    broken and gnarled among the fleshy
    snipes and heads. Every shade of death
    covered the sand. It looked hopeless
    in the pale day but for the birds,
    a congress of gulls, terns, and the rarest plovers,
    calm for once, satiated, a measure of
    the one law: this sea will claim it all—
    feed them, catch them, grind their complicated bones.

(Crossposted from Poetic License.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hands Across The Sand

If you live, work, or play anywhere near a large body of water you may run into some crowds tomorrow around eleven a.m. your timezone.  That's when the event being called Hands Across The Sand is taking place on beaches and shorelines all over the world. From the Grist article about the event: 

Saturday could bring the biggest public demonstration yet about the Gulf oil gusher, when Hands Across the Sand gathers people on beaches around the world at noon to hold hands in support of coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industries.
Organized by surfer and Florida restaurant owner Dave Rauschkolb, the dispersed event looks to be aiming for a surfer zen vibe, as opposed to the angry demonstrations against BP that have arisen in New Orleans and elsewhere. (The precedent, fellow young folks, is the 1986 Hands Across America chain.)
Even here in the desert we will be participating.  Here in Albuquerque we will be holding hands on the Bosque Bike Path that follows the Rio Grande, and on the old Alameda Walking Bridge across the Rio.  The Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and is therefore a wonderfully appropriate place to share in this protest.  I don't know if I can pull off a "surfer zen vibe," but Gail and I will add ourselves to the numbers gathering to make our voices heard across this planet.  I know it's late notice, but if you feel that we need to begin now (actually we needed to begin thirty years ago, but we'll take what we can get) working for a clean energy future that doesn't include ill-regulated freeform off-shore drilling, then check the Hands Across The Sand website map for your closest location.  All hands on deck, or on the sand, the bridge, the edge of the pond in your local park. (Cross-posted from Quid Nunc.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Kathy posted this on facebook today. I love it. Too bad I couldn't make it any bigger without it getting totally pixel-y on me....

WWJD? He probably wouldn't text while driving...

Friday, June 18, 2010


“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

On or about June 5, 1944 General Dwight Eisenhower scribbled this note and stuck it in his jacket pocket. He never had to use it and it was found years later, still in the jacket pocket. Since the little sheet of paper shows the editing he did as he wrote, many historians believe he probably wrote it as he traveled from base to base to visit with the airborne troops as they readied to board their planes for the invasion of France.

Worst case casualty estimates for the airborne troops was up to seventy percent. The man believed it was important to look into the eyes of the men he was sending into harm’s way. Contrast this with the Deepwater Horizon survivors who were asked to sign liability waivers as soon as they reached shore.

Contrast this with the “nobody told me anything, I apparently haven’t displayed any curiosity whatsoever about how the company I’m in charge of drills for oil, I wasn’t on the Deepwater Horizon rig before the disaster, so these events are not my responsibility” testimony of BP CEO Tony Howard in Washington DC yesterday. It may be catty, but I picture the man in his office eyes closed, fingers in ears, humming really, really loud.

In another note, Rep. Joe Barton R-Texas (recipient of over $1,400,000 in oil and gas contributions since 1989 ) first apologized to Howard at the beginning of the hearings for the “shakedown” by the White House that forced BP to set up an escrow account to cover damage claims from the spill, then withdrew his apology later in the day. It appears he was strongly encouraged to do so by members of his own party. As in “eat crow now or risk losing your seat on the committee.” Again the prĂ©cis of the news story is my own, but it gets the gist of it.

After all the ‘Pubs are hoping to pick up as many seats at possible this fall. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out as the supporters of “leave industry alone to regulate itself” face the voters. At least the escrow fund may help the alleviate some of the capitalize the profits, socialize the cost of cleaning up the messes we’ve seen in the past.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Woman Hit By Car Sues Google Maps Over Directions

(May 31) -- A California woman is suing Google after she was hit by a car while following walking directions provided by Google Maps. Lauren Rosenberg claims Google Maps led her to walk from one Park City, Utah, address to another via Deer Valley Drive, a rural roadway also known as Utah State Route 224.

In a lawsuit filed in district court in Park City, Rosenberg claims Google is to blame for a car striking her on the road, an accident she says has cost her $100,000 in medical bills."As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google's careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer severe permanent physical, emotional and mental injuries," the complaint reads.

Rosenberg is asking Google for the cost of her medical bills plus loss of earnings and punitive damages. She is also suing the driver who struck her, Patrick Harwood of Park City. In the complaint Rosenberg says Google should not have instructed her to walk along Deer Valley Drive, which does not have sidewalks and pedestrian paths. Rosenberg alleges the roadway "exhibits motor vehicles at high speeds" and "is not reasonably safe for pedestrians."Google Maps issues a warning about its walking directions that is visible on PCs but not cell phones or PDAs, saying: "Walking directions are in beta. Use caution -- This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."

Yes, my title is more than a little on the snarky side. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a WTF or a YHTBK (you have to be kidding.) Yes, the directions on Google sent her to a road with no sidewalks or bike paths. But, YO!!!!!!, where were your brains woman? Fast traffic plus no side walks plus narrow shoulders equals danger with a capital D. I'm surprised she hasn't included the state in her lawsuit for not posting NO WALKING signes.

If the route hadn't been updated since a lake appeared on the landscape would she have tried to walk on water?

I've long believed that there's a finite amount of intelligence in the universe.....and it 's getting spread thinner and thinner all the time.