Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oceans of Kansas

"In my opinion, one of the more interesting areas in the Prehistoric Journey is what is referred to as the Kansas seashore.... the eastern edge of a vast ocean during the Permian Period.... Fossils from the Hamilton Quarry and Elmo Insect Beds of Kansas are well represented in the exhibit."
 Posted by Picasa

The Virtual Silurian Reef

"During the Silurian Period in earth history, 425 million years ago, when much of North America was covered by a shallow, tropical sea, reefs flourished in the area now occupied by Wisconsin and Illinois. This site uses these reefs as a vehicle for students to learn general principles, local details, and environmental significance of the study of the ancient past."
 Posted by Picasa


"Among the best known geologists of his time, Roderick Impey Murchison had no aversion to fame, wealth, priority or mixing with European nobility. He also had a well-earned reputation for browbeating his colleagues.

Murchison named the Silurian, now understood to be one of the earlier rock formations deposited in the Paleozoic Era. Once named, Murchison expected the Silurian to get its due--from everyone. In an 1839 letter to a colleague, Murchison complained that a fellow geologist failed to "do justice to my Siluriana." A few years later, he recounted giving John Phillips "MY MIND for suppressing the title of my work in his new book." People who knew Murchison well could see this coming. When he presented a paper announcing the Silurian, a fellow geologist dryly remarked, "I can foresee the fate of geology for the next eight years--half of the globe will become Silurian."

Posted by Picasa

from The standard geologic column--

Roderick Impey Murchison, born 1792 (died on this day in 1871, discoverer of the Silurian & Permian layers)

"began his study of the Transition at the unconformity and worked his way down through its strata unfolding these and ordering them as he went. He paid much attention to the fossils in the strata and used them to correlate the strata between exposures. The system he described he named the Silurian (for a tribe, the Siluries, that had inhabited the area at the time of the Roman conquest). In 1839, he published in his first monumental account of the Silurian System. Murchison was knighted in 1846 for his geological contributions and was unstoppable in his adding ever older layers of the Transition rock to his Silurian System. These he announced in successive editions of his work Siluria (5th ed. 1872). His efforts came to intrude upon the work that Sedgwick had taken upon himself which was to work upward from the base of the Transition formation. Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) began his study of the Transition in the most mountainous part of Wales, which is its north and where, from Wernerian reasoning he would surely find the oldest strata in contact with the Primitive. He would work his way up through the Transition strata. The first formation he mapped in detail he called the Bala Limestone. In the company of Murchison, he noted that the fossils in these were similar to those of the Caradoc Sandstone Formation in Murchison's field area. However, Murchison used Lyell statistical method to assign age by fossil content, and the more contorted limestone and slaty nature of the graywacke rocks in Sedgwick's area decided them (by Wernerian reasoning) that these were of different age. The rocks in Sedgwick's field area were not very fossiliferous. To order the strata he relied mostly on lithology and the "strike" (from the German Streichen and which tells of Elie de Beaumont's influence) of units to correlate between nearby exposures. Use of the principle of superposition to order strata was made difficult by their folding (he coined the word synclinorium for an area of folds in which younger strata are exposed centrally). Acrimony arose when Murchison changed his mind and made the Caradoc and Bala age correlatives and then proceeded to add layers below to his Silurian system. in the faunas. However, in 1852, Sedgwick's paleontological assistant established a clear difference between the faunas in the upper and lower beds of the Carodoc. Also, careful regional mapping found that a angular unconformity (hard to see locally as all is folded) divides the Carodoc and the Bala Limestone Formation. This break in the rock record became the recognized bottom boundary of Silurian in Wales when, in 1879, Lapworth formally proposed the name Ordovician for the time represented locally by the Lower Bala and Carodoc Formations including a few of the strata in contact below. The name Devonian derives from a Romano-British tribe that once lived in the Bala District of North Wales. Beneath the Devonian is a slaty formation called the Lingula Flags and below this graywackes that contain the distinctive trilobite Paradoxides. These were part of the sequence that Murchison had originally included in his Cambrian (derived from the Latin name for Wales). And so they are called, which posthumously settles the squabbles of the erstwhile friends."

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005


""Where you're at" and "where you're from" both seem to have things in their favour, though. And it's also the case that whatever "at" you're, er, at, will always carry traces of the "from" that was your departure point. C.f. Puff Diddy as sampled by Roll Deep: "sometimes I don't think you motherfuckers understand where I'm coming from, where I'm trying to GET TO." Bryan Ferry with the traces of Geordie accent lingering in his croon. David Sylvian growing up in Catford, his real name David Batt. Sun Ra's belief that he's from Saturn inseparable from the alien-ation of being in born in Birmingham, Alabama."

 Posted by Picasa

(A Letter from Hammertown to the Bottom of the East River)

Well screw you
Albert Ayler,
it is so about me--

if I could
leap the pommelhorse
of self I wouldn't

have failed gym,
let alone the real horses
I pemmicaned on field trips,

the chicken pavilions,
veal pens, the eels
I stashed without appetite, Creeley

reminds us
that all heat is derived
from some animal,

that deliberate misreading
ends in disappointment,
like Burgess Meredith

as Borges--
libraries are for losers,
no more than a bus passenger

controls the route
can we be said
to skate between the periods &

you & Shepp
& all the armies of death metaldom
could no more wake Enitharmon

than a cheap brass clock
in an aluminum pail
struck by lightning.

Posted by Picasa

Death Watch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

"He's like a zombie some days, walking around in a trance," says one aide who, for obvious reasons, asks not to be identified. "Other times he launches into angry outbursts, cussing out anybody who gets near him."

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn NY are having a big blues and bbq bash on the 27th. My first ever walk in NYC, ten years ago, the day I lost my heart to Brooklyn basically , took in the canal environs, now much changed...

Posted by Picasa

(The Fourth War)

Oh its all great fun
in the corn maze
until someone gets lost--

earth art,
crop circles without
the laughs, digging

around in Drumheller
for Beefheart's
"dinosaur cold"--

inside the Holy Mountain
midsummer light
etches your profile

onto plywood as you sleep.
The assumption is that
the big important shapes, say

where shotgun
overlaps with two-stroke
to define rural metrosexuality--

Richard Boone in
Have Gun Will Travel
on a pimped out

Triumph on the Parkway,
raw from the abrasions
of the English Leather soap label,

an angled mustache
that still reads "ex-officer"
from Victoria north to Campbell River,

whose neoprene longjohns
enable him to tough it out
until November,

or where rising fuel costs
temporarily trump
the fear of cresote & coalsmoke

to re-enable the choking fogs
that had disappeared
with the industrial base--

that all of this is safely tracked
from space, indeed
to be lost is ultimately

economic, those people
under the rubble assumed
their cell phones

would save them, an island
held in place
with mirrors, they

can hear you, they
can see you, they
just can't help you.
 Posted by Picasa
James Wolcott

"If it looks as if Cheney has to resign and Bush himself enters the Nixon danger zone, we'll hear the same frets and cries from the pundit shows about the country being torn apart and Americans losing faith in their government. But it isn't the country that will be torn apart by Plamegate any more than the country was torn apart during Watergate (which provided daily thrilling news entertainment value that bound citizens together); it's the Washington establishment that will be torn apart. And it should be torn apart. It's failed the country, and it's played by its own rules for too long, and "criminalizing politics" is exactly what should be done when political criminals deceive a nation into a war with Judith Miller serving as the Angie Dickinson to their Rat Pack and Richard Cohen auditioning for the part of Joey Bishop. "

handy guide to Pumpkin Festivals & weigh offs: I can't believe I missed the Shady Mile one in Nanaimo... Posted by Picasa
Rue Hazard has a lovely post today tying together Romare Bearden, Richard Hell, Samuel Johnson & Mary Magdalene.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Betty (from Permanent Collection)" by Tim Davis

""All art ends up as photographs," Tim Davis has pointed out, "and in a strange misalignment, most of those photographs depict only the artworks' images, not the fact of their material presence." Tim Davis' new photographs of paintings are phenomenological, relishing in the materiality of the paint and the history and labor embedded in the canvas. Made in American museums, they are photographed from oblique angles so light from existing museum sources changes the often-reproduced meaning of these works, adding light to familiar narratives, and blotting out anticipated images. In a move unfamiliar to photography, the light in these pictures is often used to obscure, as well as to illumine."

Posted by Picasa

hunting around--a possible visit in mind--to find the present-day location of the site of the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel I found the fine Weehawken Time Machine site, which had plenty of information and many fine images, including this one of "The Gang at Butch Wosorki's Bar, 1920's-1930's"
 Posted by Picasa

"Amanita muscaria reposing by the river, Sapperton, B.C." from Anodyne
 Posted by Picasa
don't miss Frank Rich: It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby

" As we learn in 'Bush's Brain,' bad things (usually character assassination) often happen to Bush foes, whether Ann Richards or John McCain. On such occasions, Mr. Bush stays compassionately above the fray while the ruthless Mr. Rove operates below the radar, always separated by 'a layer of operatives' from any ill behavior that might implicate him. 'There is no crime, just a victim,' Mr. Moore and Mr. Slater write of this repeated pattern.

This modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called 'the greatest strategic disaster in United States history.'"

nice appreciation of one of my favorite artists Samuel Palmer--

"Palmer's drawings of the Lullingstone oaks were in answer to this, though he wrote fellow "Ancient" George Richmond that he would "never be a naturalist by profession." And to Linnell: "Milton, by one epithet, draws an oak of the largest girth I ever saw, 'Pine and monumental oak': I have just been trying to draw a large one in Lullingstone; but the poet's tree is huger than any in the park....""

(thanks robot wisdom weblog)

 Posted by Picasa

"Drum Beat for Baby" by Weekend (offshoot of Young Marble Giants) from a Gallery of New Wave Single Sleeves
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

PDF's of back issues of Jonathan's excellent ecopoetics, "An annual journal dedicated to exploring creative-critical edges between making (with an emphasis on writing) and ecology (the theory and praxis of deliberate earthlings)" with subscription information, etc, can be found here. His field-ready "Political Cactus Poems" is available from Palm Press--


vinyl cooking is worn
in periodic waves with slips
circadian zone attunes rain
one final night of rest
out the back yard window
summer gives up its thaw
the city moves inside
of solitary note's flagrant
shiny pin on the shirt

 Posted by Picasa

from the excellent Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History an Olmsted Park Cybertour with history, images and information about the numerous Seattle parks designed by the great landscape architect between 1903 and 1908.

(this correction from Olmstead maven Jonathan Skinner--

"I just noticed on your blog you have the Seattle parks as designed by “the great landscape architect,” but note it’s his nephew who did the work, who had joined the firm in 1893. John Charles Olmsted and Olmsted’s own son, Frederick Law, effectively ran the firm from the mid-1890s on—from the point at which Olmsted himself began to succumb to Alzheimers. Olmsted lived out his last five years at the MacLean asylum in Waverly, Mass., on grounds he had himself designed... Many “Olmsted” parks are actually by the Olmsted firm, some done as late as 1950. The great Olmsted went out on August 27, 1903.")

Posted by Picasa

from The Teletype Story--my dad ran a teletype machine (an early form of internet?) for the RCAF at various Canadian outposts of the "Pine Tree Line" early warning system, and then (still with the RCAF) for 4 years in Scotland, where at some point I got to see one--vast, clattering, gray (bigger than the ones here) though what most impressed me was that you could only type in capitals with no punctuation. When they started phasing them out in the 70's he would bring home the big rolls of carbon paper on which I would type my early poems Kerouac-style...

(thanks Antti)

Posted by Picasa
important PBS documentary on the torture question tonight--

"The legal framework developed by administration lawyers like Berenson, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo provided the impetus for unprecedented rules for interrogating detainees, rules authorized by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- rules officials insist never condoned torture.

FRONTLINE follows the implementation of the Rumsfeld rules from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, where eventually the FBI began to document a trail of abuses by interrogators.

In one e-mail, an agent reports on conditions in an interrogation room: "[T]he A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

The Torture Question follows the migration of such practices to the horrific scene photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in the fall of 2003. "Guantanamo Bay people were implanted in the prison around October, and they showed up and changed everything," a person with intimate knowledge of the events at Abu Ghraib tells FRONTLINE. "Things got more harsh." "

Merle Haggard

'Yea, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track
And let's rebuild America first.'
 Posted by Picasa

A minor mystery solved, of who had been neatly scything--as with a bluntish but well-wielded knife, sections of some of the numerous windfall apples around the place. Raccoons are theoretically around but rarely seen & would have found much else to their liking & made a big mess, bears wouldn't leave a half apple under any imaginable scenario & who knows where they are this year, ravens perhaps but just can't see them bothering with fruit what with all the carrion around, but just now I saw a steller's jay fly by with a good third of a big red apple in its beak with a bit of cut edge showing: they must use their beaks, apples must be splittable with a good pivot and a couple of sawstrokes. And yesterday I saw a young swain walking home from school hand in hand with his girlfriend in the rain run into a yard to fetch a big yellow apple off a tree, which he dried and polished on his hoodie and presented with courtly panache. Like Daph (who deigned to construct a pie last week) & Bob (who ran onto the coaltip farm & fetched one for me some weeks back), but unlike me, the jay had that mental map of good trees, secure caches, secret routes, recipes.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005

spare a thought for my wife & thousands of others marching in the rain today, on picket lines or onto the legislature lawn in support of BC's teachers today--

Where Are Our 'Guardians of Public Interest'?

"What kind of public fails to appreciate the national investment entrusted to the work of our teachers? What kind of public tolerates the kinds of suffering they now endure? It is a failure of the state, not of the teachers. This is nowhere better expressed than in the words of the influential and respected French academic, Pierre Bourdieu, who died a few years ago. Writing of the growing disillusion felt by our public servants, by 'social workers, family counsellors, youth leaders, rank and file magistrates, and also, increasingly, secondary and primary teachers'. Bourdieu went on to point to where the blame lay: 'One of the main reasons for all these people's despair is that that the state has withdrawn, or is withdrawing, from ...sectors of social life for which it was previously responsible ...What is described as a crisis of really, in reality, despair at the failure of the state to act as the guardian of public interest.' Where today, here and now, are our guardians of public interest? Without them, without their defense of those public servants, like teachers, who labor in the service of the greater good, there can be no public welfare, and there can be no justice either. "

Posted by Picasa

the written view of Mount Baker below is from John Muir's "Steep Trails" at EXPLORION a truly vast trove of traveller's tales, includes all of Hakluyt, Aubrey's Wiltshire, Bartram &c &c (via Metafilter)--

"Passing through the strait, we have the Olympic Mountains close at hand on the right, Vancouver Island on the left, and the snowy peak of Mount Baker straight ahead in the distance. During calm weather, or when the clouds are lifting and rolling off the mountains after a storm, all these views are truly magnificent. Mount Baker is one of that wonderful series of old volcanoes that once flamed along the summits of the Sierras and Cascades from Lassen to Mount St. Elias. Its fires are sleeping now, and it is loaded with glaciers, streams of ice having taken the place of streams of glowing lava. Vancouver Island presents a charming variety of hill and dale, open sunny spaces and sweeps of dark forest rising in swell beyond swell to the high land in the distance."

Posted by Picasa