Thursday, December 8, 2016

The rescue

I wonder if the concept of
'species' doesn't sometimes
get in the way of understand-
ing the effect humans are hav-
ing on the natural world.

After all, a species endures
even as the individuals that
make it up come and go. But
sometimes the word implies
that the collective whole -
the generality of goldfinches,
say - matters more than the in-
dividual. Only when a species
dwindles to its final numbers
do the individuals seem to be-
come, well, individual.

Reviewing a new and stimulat-
ing work of natural history
this week, our outstanding es-
sayist on the rural life has
written movingly of defending
the natural world through joy
in its autonomous qualities,
in "nature's right to itself."

At the same time, exultation
in restraint is unanswerably
exemplary resistance. Human-
ism is restored to the agenda.
To be despised for being fit,
will not be anything new; the
spectacle must always antagon-
ize a destroyer of species. To
be readier for their governance
than they are, is joy enough.

Verlyn Klinkenborg
Michael McCarthy
The Moth Snowstorm:
  Nature and Joy
New York Review Books, 2016
The New York Review
  of Books
December 22, 2016© 

i  Damon Winter, photography
   The New York Times, 2016©


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Revenons à nos moutons

   Have you tried
   it with cumin,
   aperol, and an
   organic spritz
   of cherry bark

    No, really, I 
    just couldn't

    It's almost awkward even to
    try to mean well, in coming
    to grips with our era's de-
    bauches of vanity over cock-
    tails and other nourishment.

    A man used to be able to go
    home, dress for dinner, and
    get an honest apéritif with-
    out sipping it alone. Times
    speak for themselves. Where
    is Peter Arno, as we drown?

François Chartier
Papilles et Molécules
Levi Reiss
Taste Buds and 
  Molecules: The Art
  and Science of Food,
  Wine, and Flavor
Les Éditions la Presse, 2009©
John Wiley & Sons, 2012©

Peter Arno
Harriet Follansbee!
  In the flesh!
The New Yorker
Condé Nast©

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Our grease to the abyss

this is be-
cause of my
class mates

The abduction of this republic
on an exuberant, constant tide
of what we know as, fake news,
shares striking resemblance to
a catastrophically ignored art
to which we all submit, in our
assimilation of literacy as we
praise it. How we restrain the
common tendency is what we are
really quarreling about. Now a
petit-bourgeois orgy of fabul-
ist factitiousness finds domi-
cile in a single Party, at the
very moment of this dispute of
meaning, exalting its absence.
This tendency always abided in
the structures we most revere.

   Expertise tells, at the edge: there is
   the juncture of a writer's pleasure,
   risk and pain .. from the way they wrote
   and the tools they used, ancient readers
   conceived the Greek alphabet as a system
   of outlines or edges .. Being a phonetic
   system, the Greek alphabet is concerned
   to symbolize not objects in the real world
   but the very process in which sounds act
   to construct speech. Phonetic script im-
   itates the activity of discourse itself.

   The Greek alphabet revolutionized this
   imitative function through introduction
   of its consonant, which is a theoretical
   element, an abstraction. The consonant
   functions by means of an act of imagina-
   tion in the mind of the user .. It is an
   act in which the mind reaches out from
   what is present and actual to something
   else. The fact that eros operates by 
   means of an analogous act of imagination
   will .. be seen to be the most astound-
   ing thing about eros.

Eros the Bittersweet
  Alphabetic Edge
Princeton University Press, 1986©

ii  Paul Fontanier

Monday, December 5, 2016

The electoral college will meet in two weeks

      Anybody want to
      volunteer to be
      a witness? Take
      down the names?

Philippe Proust

Alexander Beck

Steven Meisel
Vogue Italia, 1996©

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hold that thought

  Ville d'Avray
  not far from
  the center of
  Paris, maybe
  only once -
  maybe still

National Gallery 
  of Art

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Another birthday

a warm Pinch, a quiet steak -
no wine because the only ones
good enough aren't good after
a long day

                .. The sun fuses. The masts
                stretch out. The tireless sea-
                surge winnows sacks of stars.
                And the motes of water cavort
                with their reflections.

Pierre Reverdy
Ball on the Bounce
  Sea Weather
Mary Ann Caws
Richard Sieburth
Pierre Reverdy
NYRB Poets
New York Review Books, 2013©

Eber Figueira, photography

Friday, December 2, 2016

Zorro of the rust belt

   of munificence, a dilettante drop-
   in by the ascending hero of policy 
   disdain, in this ostentatious res-
   cue of a factory by such impulsive
   favoritism, with fascist flourish;
   this WTO-busting subsidy of extor-
   tion-sucking rapture. Half, it ap-
   pears, is never bold enough. He'll
   be the whole butt of his gestures.

   So daring it is, to make us watch.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Breakfast strategy

     Between the breadbox
     and the pepper mill,
     it's hard to figure.

     That's not a dilemma
     or even alternative.

Thomas Isermann

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

South Arm of Compounce Loop

After traversing a picnic area
in a pine grove it follows an
old road southward, passing a
huge boulder at .13 m. At .3 
it crosses a brook and turns
right up a very steep slope.

              The steepest climb on the Southern Tunxis.
              At .5 m the trail climbs gradually along 
              a shelf, crossing another small brook. At
              .75 m it turns right into an old road and
              thereafter is less steep.  

Shelton B. Hicock
Connecticut Walk Book
  Eighth Edition
Connecticut Forest and Park
  Association, Inc., 1970©