97 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

Of venus and mother nature

Capitoline_venus Rendering of the Capitoline Venus (hope that she wasn't damaged in the earthquake)/ August 2011

This was the lovely summer afternoon coming on the heels of a summer with stretches of intense heat and then intense rain when suddenly mother nature shifted and stretched and the chair beneath me rocked and the walls swayed and moaned and I finally got my wits about me and realized that it wasn't the usual tremors caused by the passing train and ran down the stairs and out the front door into the bright sunlight.

Of the people

Thatkindofday A drink and a shot of Elvis might help / August 2000

This was the morning of waking in a stupor, depressed by the stupidity and pettyness of one's government that was in no way working by the people or for the people and searching for a little relief and hope in a beat and a little movement of the feet...



The remarkable wind effect

Setting_sun_ww Setting sun over beach art during a heat wave / Wildwood, NJ

This was the evening (when the thermometer read 74 degrees and a cool breeze whipped around the exposed beach) before the afternoon when the temperature hit 104 degrees, which can feel remarkably refereshing when a breeze comes off the ocean's cool water: nature's version of air conditioning.

Of flightless birds who are excellent navigators

Biggreenmuck Basking in the glow of late afternoon spring sunshine / May 2011

A story that I read has been on my mind lately: A person travels to a faraway place where a penguin vomits a big green mess on them. They are at first upset, then see it as a cosmic joke until someone tells them that penguins nurture their young by chewing food, mixing it up with God's enzymes, and then vomiting it into the mouths of their babies. It is suggested that the person was not the butt of a cosmic joke, but rather received a special gift of love and nurturing. I keep thinking about how things happen to us that we perceive as "bad" when, if we look at it another way, perhaps it is a gift (albeit one not tied up neatly in a bow).

I want a countenance like hers

New_growth_oregano A patch of fresh oregano springs up out of the muck / April 2011

This was the day when the woman at the door with the nice hat handed me a brochure proclaiming that Jesus “takes away the sin of the world” and invited me to “find out”; I couldn't get the peaceful countenance of her face out of mind for the rest of the day.

More weather to talk about

Wintertrees Some trees stay upright, reaching for the winter sky

“There has been more talk about the weather around here this year than common, but there has been more weather to talk about. For about a month now we have had solid cold — firm, business-like cold that stalked in and took charge of the countryside as a brisk housewife might take charge of someone else's kitchen in an emergency. Clean, hard, purposeful cold, unyielding and unremitting. Some days have been clear and cold, others have been stormy and cold. We have had cold with snow and cold without snow, windy cold and quiet cold and indulgent peace-loving cold. But always cold.” 

~ E.B. White in his essay from January 1943, Cold Weather

Heliopolis, Aphroditopolis, Lycopolis

Ancientegypt Map of Ancient Eqypt from the Historical Atlas of the World, 1962 /

These were the days of being in awe of ordinary Eqyptians and their courage and persistance in taking to the streets and standing up for themselves and their people.


“In the wide courtyard of our house
a child not even nine yet
tossed some wheat on the earth
sprouting cities of hunger.”

~ an excerpt from Five Fragments for the Sadness of Great Figure by Egyptian poet Ahmed al-Shahawi

Imagine all the people

Guitarhands Remembering December 8, 1980 and John / Dec. 2004

I was a senior in a college in New Jersey typing yet another sociology paper on my clunky old “portable” typewriter (yes, it did buckle into its own carrying case, but, because of its weight it was like carting around an anchor). It was late in the evening — a Monday, I think. The little black and white TV was on in the background. Suddenly newscasters broke into the broadcast to announce that John Lennon was dead. The moment is seared into my memory. The Beatles always seemed like a mythical group to me as I was too young to appreciate them in their heyday. Their music was funny, wise, harmonious, uplifting, thoughtful. That one of them who incessantly preached peace (and had such a wonderful sense of humor) could have died in such a violent manner just up the turnpike from my college didn't seem possible. It didn't seem fair. It just wasn't right.

I was thinking last night about how the world has changed in the past 30 years. There were no 24-hour cable news channels, no internet sites to check for details, no email or cell phone or text messaging to contact friends. You were left in your own surroundings with your own thoughts and feelings about what had happened. The girl who lived across the hall from me, Joanne (a smart, efficient biology major from a town in north Jersey that I'd never heard of), was visibly upset by the news. And the memory of her emotion has stuck with me much longer than the incessant recitation of facts and video feeds that we get on any of our media devices today.

Sadly, we seem to be no closer to the peace that John Lennon imagined. I find myself wishing he was here to lead “bed-ins” and peace rallys. To challenge the pundits with his wit. To be a guiding light. But maybe his example is for we who are here: what can each of us do every day to promote the cause of peace?