25 01 2017

…another guest post, from a longtime correspondent of mine in Taos, New Mexico, who also happens to be a classical composer. Here’s a link to an interview with her, if you’d like to learn more.


written by Joanne Forman

May It Please Your Eminence:

I pray Your Eminence will deign to accept this preliminary report on the successful rescue of The Singers; one of the most intricate, and if I may humbly venture to say, one of the most arduous projects—which exists, of course, due to the wisdom and compassion of Your Eminence.

As Your Eminence will well understand, our expedition will be very gratified to return, as we will shortly, to the civilized society of our own planet, though our endeavors have not been without interest.

The Singers themselves are, on the whole, doing well, and are most becoming in their fervent expressions of gratitude and relief. On the part of a great many of the whales there is a perhaps remarkable note of regret and deepest melancholy upon having to leave their home planet. Already there are symphonies and requiems in progress, partaking of the usual magnificent harmonic structures. Even more stunning is a note of pity for the rapidly approaching demise of the primitives, even though they have persecuted and murdered whales throughout their sorry history. Read the rest of this entry »


23 03 2008

At what cost?  The story says that worldwide krill stock has already dropped an estimated 80% due to global warming.  Krill are the foundation of the ocean/planetary life pyramid.  If they’re disappearing from climate change AND we’re sucking them up as never before, what are the whales, seals, and penguins supposed to do?  Trust us?  Like we’ve been trustworthy stewards of the planet!?

The Antarctic, one of the planet’s last unspoilt ecosystems, is under threat from mankind’s insatiable appetite for harvesting the seas.

The population of krill, a tiny crustacean, is in danger from the growing demand for health supplements and food for fish farms. Global warming has already been blamed for a dramatic fall in numbers because the ice that is home to the algae and plankton they feed on is melting. Now ‘suction’ harvesting which gathers up vast quantities has been introduced to meet the increased demand. It threatens not just krill, but the entire ecosystem that depends on them, say environmental campaigners. Krill are also believed to be important in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by eating carbon-rich food near the surface and excreting it when they sink to lower, colder water to escape predators.

‘Whales, penguins, seals, albatrosses and petrels – all those creatures we think are absolute icons of Antarctica – depend on krill,’ said Richard Page, a marine reserves expert with Greenpeace International. ‘It’s part of the global commons, and one of the most pristine environments on Earth. That’s why we should treat it with the greatest of respect.’


closing notes

12 07 2007

I appreciate the overall tone of that song, but I have to take its gallows references as a metaphor for the end of a dysfunctional identity–like being a member of the Bush/Cheney administration—not the termination of a human life. Scum that they are, I wish them no harm. When I hear the refrain, ” I’d like to see him dance.” I do not visualize Mr. Bush dancing at the end of a rope. I see him—and his wife, and all that whole sad, inhibited, psychotic crowd–dancing around a fire at a Rainbow Gathering, dancing long past midnight to raging drums and shakers and shrill flutes, their eyes unfocused, sweat pouring off their bodies, hair gone wild, ripples of ecstasy shimmering through their brains, having the time of their lives at last. I don’t want the Bush junta hung, folks. I want them, as the Firesign Theater calls it, “returned for regrooving.” Enough said.

This month’s “truth in strange places” award goes to Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is famous for calling global warming “a hoax.” He joined with Senators Jim Jeffords, Mary Landrieu, and David Vitter to pass a bill closing the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Channel, an Army Corps of Engineers boondoggle that helped the flooding of New Orleans last summer and has been responsible for the erosion of thousands of acres of southern Louisiana wetlands. Thanks, Jim. Now, about the rest of your record…

And we give the “one step forward, one step back” award to both Japan and Norway. Japan has decided to withdraw its troops from Iraq, and Norway is undertaking the construction of a a world seed bank on the isolated and, so far, frozen island of Spitzbergen; but the two countries teamed up to soften the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling. The Japanese got permission to expand the number of whales they catch for “scientific study”–and oh, their scientific studies are financed by selling the whale meat they just happen to harvest for $100 a pound. Thar she blows! And I mean it–that really blows!

And finally, we give the “my dog ate my homework” lame excuse award to the Bush administration and their leading defenders in Congress, who argued with a straight face for seizure of prescription drugs that individuals bring back from Canada on the grounds that they could be used to hide dangerous chemicals for terror attacks. If you or I insisted on something that ludicrous, we’d be candidates for prescription drugs, ourselves. But nooo, this is the government…..our tax dollars at work…good grief! Fortunately, even the Republican-dominated Senate wasn’t buying that level of looniness, and the bill failed.

John and Beth will be here with you next week. Good night!


James McMurtry: See the Elephant

The Waterboys: Wind in the Wires

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