This is Maggie one of our three cavaliers. A tough and hardy breed. I brought my video camera outside to try to catch the approaching storm--lots of lightning and thunder echoing around the mountains and valleys. It's quite a show.
Instead of the storm, I wound up capturing one of Maggie's daily rituals which is trying to focus on doing her business.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Here are three books I've been reading lately.
The Burke novel is beautifully written, as always. There are several pretty serious coincidences in the plotting that kind of bother me, though Burke has never been the greatest plotter. Still it's a fine work and takes Dave out of his element and brings alive quite an array of striking characters.
On the non-fiction front I'm also almost finished with:
It's written by a Newsweek journalist and sketches out a very broad historical and economic picture of "the rise of the rest." Meaning, China, India and other developing economies. It's not about America's fall or anything like that, but it gives an overview of the ways in which China, India and other nations are becoming larger players on the world stage.
I'm a big fan of Jared Diamond, whose book Collapse has a very wide scope as this book does. Though Diamond is much more of a social scientist while Zakaria is a pretty straightforward journalist. Nevertheless,I've learned a lot from this one.
At any given moment, I'm usually reading one non-fiction book, along with one or two novels, and then try to work in short fiction and poetry as spice.
Reading it on my Kindle.
Also on my Kindle, I'm reading:
Funny and accessible and full of intriguing insights and imagery. What all good poetry should be. Billy Collins is wonderful.
I've put aside for now John Burdett's engaging novel, Bangkok Haunts. When I'm finished with Burke, I'll get back to it. It's the first of his I've read and I find it amusing and colorful, though not on the same level as Burke.
On the beside table waiting for me is the new Bob Crais and a novel by Junot Diaz. I've read the first few chapters of Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and am eager to get back to it.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Here are some pretty pictures, and some not so pretty.
And this from the Miami Herald on the Time Magazine Article.
And Time's view.
Despite all this, there are several hit TV shows set in Miami, Hollywood movies set in South Florida, and countless novelists mining the landscape. The fascination persists.
I watched a few episodes of "Burn Notice" in the last couple of days. It's produced by Terry Miller, a former student of mine, and friend. He grew up in South Florida and he really captures an aspect of the place, its sexiness, its goofiness, its danger, its intriguing qualities.
Don't put South Florida in the body bag yet.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Back in the 80's when Thorn was being born page by page, I decided to give him a passionate Thoreauvian quality. I was living in Key Largo at the time and watching the local environmental battles, and was shocked at how willingly the locals were being bribed and bullied into surrendering that beautiful island.
Thorn was never a strident environmentalist, but a man trying as best he can to live a simple life in harmony with nature. This was a time before carbon footprint and melting polar caps were common phrases in our vocabulary. It was a time when I (wrongly) believed that issues concerning the protection of the enviornment, particularly the Florida environment, would stir the same kind of passion I felt.
Not one to stand on a soapbox and give speeches about development and other Florida issues, Thorn is more of a poet, trying to lyrically describe the place he loves in language that would do it justice and perhaps inspire others to appreciate its subtle beauties and vulnerabilities. As much as I loved John D. MacDonald, I always found his anti-growth messages a bit dry and moralizing. I wanted to do that differently. Create the beauty and fragility and exoticness of the Florida landscape without getting all preachy about it.
I suppose I was naive. In the twenty years since Thorn first appeared,I've come to see how passionate the debate on both sides of these issues are. Though it is hard for me to fully understand how anyone could mock the seriousness of the global issues facing us today, both in Florida and around the world, I'm beginning to see that a segment of the population (especially in America) is so heavily invested in preserving "our lifestyle" that any criticism about the way Americans and American business and American government operates environmentally is often taken as an attack on the American culture as a whole.
But the overwhelming body of evidence is disturbing.
There have been world wars and great depressions and upheavals of various kinds before, but it seems clear to me, from seeing the dying coral reefs and observing the dramatically falling fish stocks around the world, and seeing in person the retreating glaciers in Alaska, and the destructions of millions of acres of forests due to infestation of insects that can now tolerate the slightly warmer temperatures, that Thorn's simple, withdrawn, non-soapbox approach is not sufficient anymore, and that the growing dangers facing all of us are so serious, so extreme, that inaction on a personal level and a governmental level is morally indefensible.
While this kind of inaction doesn't surprise me anymore, I am convinced that from the vantage point of a few years in the future most Americans will see this as something akin to criminal negligence.
If you want to read about two plans to combat what increasingly seems to be inevitable this article is fascinating. Well-written as all her pieces are.
The challenges of this new era are being taken on by some unlikely characters. What's exciting to me is that we're living through a revolutionary period in global terms. New technologies, new energy sources, and new visions of the future are emerging, and I'm hopeful that they may begin to save at least part of the planet. Only a few more months of this guy will certainly help.
In the meantime, Thorn's simple, low wattage choices fit right in. And there's an interesting movement underway that Thorn would approve.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
On my morning run today I had a brief encounter with some deer. Three of them crossed the path in front of me. When they spotted me, they broke into two groups. A single deer ran up the hill a little way and stopped. The other two disappeared down the slope. The single deer and I had a face off from about twenty feet away. It lasted maybe two minutes. Him watching me, me watching him. Then he started to stomp as in the movie below. A warning to the other two deer that something was threatening him.
He stomped one foot, then the other. Then repeated.
He stomped one foot, then the other. Then repeated.