larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
Some links about people:

John McPhee finally let someone profile him, and it wasn't published in The New Yorker. (Has McPhee ever written about being a fire lookout? I don't think so, yet it feels like it'd be a natural subject for him.)

"Ten years as a lookout on a fire tower requires a particular aptitude for idleness."

That Awkward Moment When Your Twin Brother Is a U.S. Citizen at Birth, But You’re Not. (via)


Subject quote from "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d," Walt Whitman.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
Three great posts from Jason Kottke:

The 100 best solutions to reverse climate change, ranked.

Michael Lewis and the parable of the lucky man taking the extra cookie.

Systemic racism in America explained in just three minutes.


Subject quote from "Shout," Tears for Fears, which is about political protest not primal scream therapy yes if i could change your mind i'd really like to break your heart.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
TBD is four years + one month old.

Achievements unlocked this last month: counting before seeking in hide-and-seek, connect-the-dots pictures, a recognizable written A, recognizing own $realname by spelling out the letters, appreciation of fractured fairy tales, and funhouse mirrors. TBD is trying to figure out how rhymes work, and asking us if a given pair of words rhyme, but this is not down solid yet. It is a harder leap than I remember. Also, they've started remembering dreams and reporting details surreal enough ("I dreamed I was a white car") that we believe they were not invented.

Three emotion-related bits:

1. TBD has learned that soldiers fight and kill, and while they are supposed to fight only other soldiers, they also know that people do not always do what they are supposed to. That there is an air base on the edge of town and half the aircraft overhead are fighting planes also became clear at the same time. Nonetheless, a visit to the local Air and Space Museum, which is slanted towards military craft, was greatly enjoyed -- especially the space exploration exhibits.

2. While shopping for a Mother's Day gift, TBD remembered without prompting Janni's one-time comment several weeks before that she likes challenging jigsaw puzzles, and insisted on getting the biggest one we could find: 2000 pieces. That is, on own initiative picked out something they themselves didn't want. They did, in the end, find that many pieces overwhelming, but have been helping gamefully with small, localized subsets. Sometimes. (Sometimes, they do one of their own puzzles next to the big one. Or just whine for attention.)

3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has been the bedtime reading nine nights in a row now.

In physical skills, we now all use full-size dinner plates because, gasp, TBD sometimes wants more than one thing on it at a time, even at the risk of them getting mixed. Also, I'm needing less and less to echo statements/questions to make sure I've understood them correctly -- or at least, for pronunciation: when the sentence gets tangled up or has antecedents missing, I still need to try a clear version, to make sure I'm responding to the right thing.

Which of course leads into talking, talking:

"Daddy, you be on a march."
"What's this march about?"
"Is this against planets or supporting them?"
"A march for planets. Got it."

$friend: "When I shoot ice, you get frozen."
TBD: "When I shoot webs, you get stuck."
(playing superheroes)

"Hey Siri, why do some people died?"
(this was TBD's first question for Siri; it was followed up with "Why do some rocket ships have a lot of astronauts?")

"Who is is Lunchbox Squarepants?"

"What are Scooby-Dooby snacks?"
(followed shortly by "What was the earliest dinosaur?")

"What comes before 1?"
(followed two days later by "What comes before 0?" -- and explaining negative numbers is HARD. First try using a number line didn't take -- will try again soon.)

"We are the dentasaurs!"

"I'm a superhero."
"Well it's time for the superhero to go to bed."
"But I have to save the day!"

Needless to say, the superhero had to save another day.


Subject quote from "Show Me," Mint Royale.
larryhammer: a wisp of colored smoke, label: "softly and suddenly vanished away" (vanished)
For poetry Monday -- except, is it chestnut blooming time yet? Well even if it isn't, here are some:

"The chestnut casts his flambeaux," A.E. Housman

The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
    Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away,
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers.
    Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May.

There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
    One season ruined of your little store.
May will be fine next year as like as not:
    But aye, but then we shall be twenty-four.

We for a certainty are not the first
    Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
    Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.

It is in truth iniquity on high
    To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
    Fare on our long fool's-errand to the grave.

Iniquity it is; but pass the can.
    My lad, no pair of kings our mothers bore;
Our only portion is the estate of man:
    We want the moon, but we shall get no more.

If here to-day the cloud of thunder lours
    To-morrow it will hie on far behests;
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours
    Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts.

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
    Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
    Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

Shoulder the sky, indeed. (I've had to tell a disappointed toddler, "I can't get you the moon--I'm only a Daddy.") This is from Housman's 1922 collection Last Poems. Now pass that can.


Subject quote from "To Blossoms," Robert Herrick.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
Poetry Monday:

Black Country Coal, 1868, Taylor Graham

This whole town’s built on under-tunneled ground
where coal pays wages. Here’s the collier’s door –-
it sinks so gently, you don’t hear a sound.

Beneath, they dig with pick; with sledge they pound
a way toward deeper-buried seams: black ore.
This whole town’s built on under-tunneled ground

where roofs that settle, day by day, astound.
The steeple’s lost another inch or more;
it sinks so gently, you don’t hear a sound.

Through passages by torchlight, ironbound,
the miners delve toward hell, or planet’s core.
This whole town’s built on under-tunneled ground

that can not hold. Though greening hills surround,
their roots can’t stay the tide, nor timbers shore
what sinks so gently, you don’t hear a sound –-

no word of outrage, just earth’s sigh profound
at what our tools have wrought and can’t restore.
The whole town’s built on under-tunneled ground
that sinks so gently, you don’t hear a sound.

Found in Villanelles ed. by Finch & Mali.


Subject quote from "Pollution," Tom Lehrer.
larryhammer: text: "space/time OTP: because their love is everything" (space/time otp)
The Interactive Periodic Table describes how we use each element. (via)

Fossilized dinosaur feathers found in amber. Check out the size of the 'saur, too. (via)

Photos by Dorothea Lange documenting the process of interning Japanese Americans during WWII, which were censored until 2006. (via)


Subject quote from "A Song of You," Sara Hickman.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
A Monday, a poem, a poetry Monday:

A Litany for Survival, Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive


Subject quote from "In the Wood of Finvara," Arthur Symons.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Twenty lessons from the 20th century on resisting the conversion of a democracy to an authoritarian government. (via Janni)

If nothing else in this post, or even this journal, read that. And, if necessary, practice as much as possible.
"The (mostly BS) accusations older generations make about Millennials is that they are overly-sensitive and mollycoddled; stuck in a perpetual childlike mentality. Those generations’ decision to isolate their children from the comings and goings of everyday life, including exposure to people different than themselves out of a combination of fear and prejudice no doubt has had some adverse effects on their children."

On adolescence as a specifically 20th-century cultural construct, and how it has been breaking down.

And on the lighter side, a short compilation of some of the most unsatisfying things in the world. (via)


Subject quote from "In God's Country," U2.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
"When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
—Lev. 19:33-34


Subject quote from "Call and Answer," Barenaked Ladies.
larryhammer: topless woman lying prone with Sappho painted on her back, label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (classics)
For Poetry Monday, "Say not the struggle nought availeth," Arthur Clough:

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
    The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
    And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
    It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
    And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
    Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
    Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
    When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
    But westward, look, the land is bright.

Another foundational poet of early Modernism, especially for the subjectivism of many his poems (which influenced Eliot and others). Not that you'd know that from this, his most popular (and often only known) work. I'm especially fond of his novel in verse, Amours de Voyage, but this is more important for right now.


Subject quote from "Same Love," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
larryhammer: topless woman lying prone with Sappho painted on her back, label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (classics)
For Poetry Monday, a hat tip to [ profile] mme_hardy:

"After great pain, a formal feeling comes," Emily Dickinson

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –


Subject quote from "No Surrender," Bruce Springsteen.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Two nights ago, for the book to read before bathtime, TBD requested "the girl who was first." On questioning, this was clarified as, "the one about Clinton" -- which led to a scramble to find, amid the piles of picture books that is our former coffee table, Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead.

The girl who was first, indeed. We surely hope so.


Subject quote from "Make You Feel My Love," Bob Dylan.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Some relevant links for the times:

Monsoon III, a timelapse of local thunderstorms (I recognize many locations near here, along with some shots of Phoenix and the Ditch). View fullscreen for best effect. The prevalence of dust storms is, um, overstated, but yes, that's what the our summer (second half) is like. (via)

Machines making tiny springs. Just as hypnotic as the above. (via)

The Yale Record does not endorse Hillary Clinton. (via Janni)


Subject quote from "Everything You Want," Vertical Horizon.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Things the world's most and least privileged people say. (via Janni)

An adaptation of Star Wars IV: A New Hope as a very long infographic. (via)

And because I love you for putting the 'trophy' in 'astrophysics', here's a pun generator. (via)


Subject quote from "The Knife," Genesis.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
How tone policing protects privilege. (via Janni)

Magnets and Marbles. (via)

Sandra Boyton and the Highly Irritating Orchestra give us Bolero Completely Unraveled. It's even better if you imagine it performed by cattle and poultry. (via)


Subject quote from "Simple Gifts," Joseph Brackett.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
My child is an immigrant, and for that matter not white. When you repeat race-baiting anti-immigration rhetoric, I am not taking it personally when I get angry. You made it personal by attacking my family.

larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
Gallup liked to say that pollsters take the “pulse of democracy.” “Although you can take a nation’s pulse,” E. B. White wrote after the [1948] election, “you can’t be sure that the nation hasn’t just run up a flight of stairs.”

The paradox of unanimity.

Why you shouldn't pick the low-hanging fruit first. (via)


Subject quote from "Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads.

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