Saturday, August 31, 2013

la araña sinistera

How many people are just crazy about spiders? I don't hate em or anything. If I find a big fat one indoors, I'll put it outside (usually a death sentence) rather than sleep with it.

Don't know that I've ever seen a common house spider this size, though, which Kit discovered devouring my bug yesterday.

I mean, I know spiders eat bugs, but really...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

cob sighting in chimacum, wa

Al's Peace Bench is a fancifully decorated cob structure in the Farm's Reach Cafe gardens at Chimacum, WA.

About 20 feet long and studded with mosaic, paint, recycled hardware, and natural elements such as heartshaped rocks, the bench incorporates seating areas and two fish tanks.

The bench is longer than it is wide, and has the overall shape of a mythical sea monster like Nessie. It's about 20 feet from nose to tail.

And as you can see, the bench is quite roomy, and comes fully equipped with stone mermaid and a Buddha statue.

(Photos: Kit Wood.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

history you knew, but don't think about much

It's time.

Today I saw Lee Daniels' The Butler. It's a historical document, condensed and seen through another perspective. It's the perspective of people who were never given an equal break until very recently, and it vincicates Howard Zinn's view of American history.

It's as legitimate a perspective as any other,  and one the history books in my day merely hinted at.

I don't see how Forest Whitaker misses the Oscar for his performance as Cecil Gaines, the White House butler who served thrugh the conflicted Ike, the stoned changeling, John F Kennedy, the shitkicker polititical genius who in the end lacked spine, Lyndon Johnson, the insane Nixon whose mental illness melted him down in office, the bland short timer Jerry Ford, the sincere and ineffectual Carter, and finally Reagan, already showing signs of dementia and suppressed feelings of what?...humanity? empathy?

This is history, and everybody who sees it will know it, though some will be angered by it. History is a true record of real events that actually happened. I say that even though Lee Daniels plays fast and loose with events in Cecil Gaines's life, like for example, he didn't have a second son who died in Vietnam.

This film, along with Speilberg's Lincoln, fills in what have until now been gaps, and ought to forever silence the twatwaffles who say, "Oh, the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery," or "Oh, but those  days have been gone for so long.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

prevailing westerlies

Since I live in Utopia, I can speak on this topic with some authority.

First of all, Utopia isn't about politics at all, and there is no politics here. Zero (ø). Zip. None.  No politics of any kind, except among the Luddites, who are a backward, primitive tribe living on one of our local bays. Utopia is all about healthy minds in healthy bodies, which begins with a healthful environment.

We begin each day with exercise suitable to our individual ages and conditions. There is no obesity here, little diabetes, and no smoking. No alcoholism, either, since hard liquor, though legal, is seldom seen, beer is not much in evidence, and red wine with meals is drunk to excess only by visitors and misfits, who will leave eventually. We try to maintain the diet of tree dwelling apes, which is what we are, evolutionarily speaking. That would consist mostly of fruits, eggs, nuts, and seeds, and from the ground, vegetables, some grains, small (tiny) amounts of meat. 

In Utopia, the worst crime a person can commit is matricide, or a crime against the earth, the only capital crime. An example would be spraying weeds with Roundup.™ We're protected from the drift of pesticide and herbicide clouds, smoke from fires that always burn in the late summer elsewhere, industrial pollution, and to a great extent whatever little pollution is produced here, protected I say by prevailing westerly winds blowing from the western sea.

Physically and geographically, Utopia runs from Juneau, AK, is entirely west of the Pacific cordillera, and extends down as far as Morro Bay. The cordillera is the Cascades in WA and OR, the Sierra Nevada in Caliphornia. However, Utopia doesn't exist everywhere even in its home territory, since it is more a state of mind than a geographical location.

We don't need politics here, which invariably follows in the train of advertising. All advertising is prohibited in Utopia, and nearly all capital that exists here is held locally as a local trust. Life is not perfect because that's the nature of life, and we still have the Luddite immigrants with their strange customs and primitive superstitions migrating into the area, and a pulp mill operating in ways which will be stopped. Since the owners of it are in Japan, they will not be executed after the mill is demolished and the damages computed. 

So you see, life isn't without problems anywhere, not even in Utopia. But it is sweet, and as good as it can be, and politics is entirely unnecessary. Everyone knows the truth, and there is really nothing to debate.

Coming soon: the exciting conclusion of "Achilles and Patroclus: were they "just" cousins, or did they play leapfrog in the asparagus patch?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

post bellum, post mortem

The Trojan War, a semi prehistorical coflict of 3000 years ago, evolved into myth and legend by the time it was first sung by Homer as the Iliad, 300 years after the event, probably in the 8th century BC.

It's been 57 years since I read an English translation of that massive pile of a seminal work of classical culture, but I remember feeling, as I read Homer's remarkably explicit war porn with fascination in the summer of my 12th year, that I couldn't identify with the people of such a time and place. They seemed always to have one eye on what was happening in the world and the other cocked heavenward, trying to figure out who was favoured by the gods, and who was ill starred.

And what an insane collection of gods, so human in their attitudes, and always fighting, scheming, gossiping, begetting, and forever playing favorites among the mortals whose lives they controlled. At times they appeared to move the hapless humans around like pieces on a chessboard, with this god favoring that person and some other deity opposing the will of the first with his or her own pet human.

The notion of trying to reproduce a mentality of such profound antiquity, the nearly Neolithic point of view of people who lived, ate, fought, and slept with the gods, would be undesirable  and impractical even if possible. And it's to the credit of the producer and director (Wolfgang Peterson) of "Troy" that they didn't try. And in the film's credits, they were careful to point out the movie was "inspired by" the epic poem.

"Troy" makes no attempt to replicate Homer, so it needs to be judged on its own terms, which are these: the story told in the Iliad, with the gods edited out, is necessarily about the warriors, and their individual motivations for warring. A lot of the negative criticism of the movie, however, comes from reviewers' conviction that Peterson was making, or should have made "The Iliad for the Compleat Idiot."

So for Peter Rainer of New York magazine, the film's main flaw (besides its production cost of $175 million) was the absence of "an infusion of mythic feeling," adding "either you''re mythic or you're not." But he never gives a hint of what this "mythic feeling" consists of, nor does he name another picture which, in his view, has it.

David Denby's criticisms of the movie in the New Yorker were more more specific, and his view of the production more positive than Rainer's. Denby believes the screewriter, David Benioff, and director Peterson "may have made some unfortunate choices—they compressed and changed elements in the story, making it morally conventional (the bad guys get punished) in a way that the Iliad isn’t, and they never found a comfortable language for their heroes to speak. (“May the gods keep the wolves in the hills and the women in our beds” is a fairly typical locution.)...Yet the movie is successful."

I found it more than successful, for if "Troy" has flaws, they are implied in the work itself, of bringing an alien and remote consciousness into our modern industrial age. Having sunk 175 millions into the production, its creators needed to find a way to preserve at least parts of Homer's narrative in a way intelligible to modern movie goers.

Denby says: "Benioff and Petersen must have thought that few people in a modern democracy would accept sullied honor as a necessary cause for war, because they have turned Agamemnon into a kind of Greek Bismarck, a man mad for power, who, in the entertaining person of Brian Cox, has a talent for insinuation and malice."

Despite its weaknesses, "Troy" is easily the best film of its type ever made. I'll get into the reasons why I believe this tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

blow boats

Here's everyone's dream. A little home in the west on the shore of Mats Mats Bay's sheltered waters.

Maybe one of the blow boats anchored in the cove is yours. And in the winter time, when the bay is socked in, you might sail away to warmer climes, such as Rio, Acapulco, or Brownsville, Texas.

Photo by Kit Wood.

Monday, August 19, 2013

weekend cat blogging

Here is lovely La Gata, enjoying the balmy zephyrs of another beautiful day here in Pt. Utopia from the railing of our deck.

As you can see from the scenery behind her, we live in one of the world's more scenic places...when the sun is shining. The cat is of course profoundly uninterested in the view, intent as she is on chasing a fly.

Sammy the cat, fat and fluffy, with a regal bearing, gender female, age unknown, rules the roost here, and graciously allows us to stay in her adopted home.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

no class

This is another take on the old "Are they stupid or crazy" debate.

For example, here's former Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, on the use of the term "middle class."

"Don't use the term the other side uses. What does Barack Obama talk about all the time? The middle class," he said at a fundraiser hosted by the Lyon County GOP. "Since when in America do we have classes? Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class? That's Marxism talk.
"When Republicans get up and talk about middle class, we're buying into their rhetoric of dividing America. Stop it. There's no class in America. Call them on it."
I truly don't think Santorum is stupid (although he may be of less than average intelligence), nor is he crazy. He knows as well as your or I do that using the term "middle class" is not "Marxism talk," but only that some people use the term in a way he dislikes.
It's like when Orson Scott Card starts saying that Obama is planning to recruit a police force from among the ranks of Angry, Unemployed Roving Gangs of Negro Youths (AURGNY) to serve as his personal bodyguard and palace janissaries. It's not like he actually believes it's true in, you know, the three dimensional world. It's just stuff he likes to think about, and riff on.

For Sen. Santorum and Mr. O.S. Card, such tropes as these bear the same relationship to reality as pornography does to masturbation. Everyone knows the images of people in porn videos and photo spreads aren't real, but there are still many who enjoy looking at them, and pretending they are.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


OK, I know it's SPOZE to be photos, not photo's, which indicates apostrophitis (plural nouns have no apostrophes, nor do possessive pronouns). I'm just messing around.

Anyway on to todays picture's.

Sun & Fog

Took this one from inside the house early this a.m., of the sun shining through the morning fog.

Produce Dept.

We purchased this aroused tomato yesterday at Chimacum Corner Market.

Kit took this picture of a beautiful stump a couple weeks ago, up by the village store.

This area was logged, but not clear cut, back around 1880, and there are lots of picturesque stumps here abouts. However, this tree appears to have burned, but that hasn't prevented it from supporting new life.