Powerful Images From a 'Primitive' Age

Incredible - art is indeed life, and has been since before the dawn of history itself.

As far back as 40,000 years ago there were people who, despite their grueling existence, were able to rise above the daily struggle for survival to carve, sculpt and paint.

(link) [Wall Street Journal]

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That Sunk Cost Feeling

Wise words for many situations...

The Jets have stumbled into a classic economic dilemma, known as the sunk-cost effect. In a purely rational world, Sanchez’s guaranteed salary would be irrelevant to the decision of whether or not to start him (since the Jets have to pay it either way). But in the real world sunk costs are hard to ignore.

(link) [The New Yorker]

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I Think I Spoke Too Soon

about having Internet access restored... but it's up this morning pretty solid, so I'd better strike while the iron is hot!

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Back Online

Well, internet access seems to be more or less stable now. It still fades every once in a while, but hasn't been down for more than an hour in over a week. So assuming I can find the time (and have something to say) posting will resume. Happy New Year!

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Spotty Access

I feel I should apologize for my recent lack of posting. However, unlike previous instances of blog silence on MacRaven, this time I must disclaim responsibility. My access to the network has been spotty, and that's being kind. Yes, we have broadband, so called, out here. Sometimes. When it can manage to wirelessly connect. Which has not been a frequent occurrence of late. They'd scheduled a repair call several times now, always ducking out because of bad weather. I seriously wonder if the problem is really hardware ... I suppose we'll find out. If they ever manage to make it out when it's clear.

If I lived across the street (literally), I'd have had wired DSL for ten years. But AT&T, my monopoly wired telephony provider, can't seem to find it in their budget to put in the required equipment. So I'm stuck with wireless - expensive, complex and, well, spotty. Hopefully this situation can be resolved in a week or so. If not, I may have to investigate satellite providers, none of whom comes with a good rap.

Happy New Year.

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Poem of the week: Musk-Ox by Jane Yeh

I rarely find a modern poet whose words resonate this way - here's a link to the title poem from the book mentioned: On Ninjas.

This week's poem, "Musk-Ox", is from Jane Yeh's second collection, The Ninjas, recently published by Carcanet Press, and deservedly welcomed in a recent Guardian review by Aingeal Clare. Jane Yeh is an American poet based in London. Her voice, to my ear, has a distinctly English quality. Combining fantasy, melancholy, precision and gently-disturbing wit, it suggests at times how Lewis Carroll could have written, had he been a young 21st-century postmodernist.

(link) [The Guardian]

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When the Drought Broke

Storm Front 8-16-12

I have been remiss in posting of late, but we've been very busy. So busy, in fact, that we'd forgotten to download pictures from the summer off the camera. This one was taken on August 16thwhen I noted the storm was moving in ...

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Loss & gain, or the fate of the book

A bibliophile's lament...

But the consolation that my library will dissolve into its constituent parts in the great world of second-hand books is not as great as it was even a few years ago. Second-hand booksellers are closing their shops and transferring their businesses online because 90 percent of their sales come from the Internet and 90 percent of their overheads come from their shops. It is a very simple business decision.

(link) [New Criterion]

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A Long Year

It's been a year since my heart surgery. I'm still vertical and taking fluids, so I guess that's good. The anniversary has effected me more than I anticipated. I suppose when one comes that close to one's own mortality one shouldn't be surprised to find it's effects prolonged. Oh, well. With any luck whatsoever, I'll have a few more anniversaries of this date to reflect on.

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A Trip to the Faroe Islands

In pictures, not in person (unfortunately). Perhaps I have a soft spot for a place whose capital and largest city is Tórshavn ("Thor's Haven"), or perhaps it's the sheep and the mountains, but for whatever reason I find these 33 of the most stunning pictures I've ever run across. Makes me want to book a flight or hop a freighter.

In the North Atlantic, halfway between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are home to more than 50,000 people. The rugged, treeless archipelago is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and has been inhabited by humans (and sheep) since the early 8th century. The local economy relies heavily on fishing and maritime industry. The unique landscape and location attracts photographers with its fantastic play of light between sun, cloud, meadow, cliff, and sea. Collected here are images of the Faroes from recent years.

(link) [The Atlantic]

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The Heinlein Maneuver

Found this gem from a mailing list - read it for a glimpse of genius. In fact, go ahead and browse the whole site for several such visions...

My only regret at living in this idyllic ivory tower surrounded by snow-covered mountains, deer, Chinese pheasants, tall pine trees, and silence is that while a writer needs a lot of silence, he also needs stimulating talk.

(link) [Letters of Note]

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Haunted by Our Amnesia

Fascinating article on some of the history of new religions in America. Camp Chesterfield, founded 1886, is still going strong here in Indiana.

It's amazing what you don't learn in school. Even more so, it's amazing how much "common knowledge" has absolutely nothing to do with the actual facts. I'm not talking about folk wisdom here but the assumptions that the majority of supposed experts cling to when discussing the reality that underlies our common lives.

(link) [The Teeming Brain]

via Letter from Hardscrabble Creek

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Boo, 6 Aug 2006

A good dog left Midgard today. He wasn't our dog - he was our daughter Hilary's - but he lived here for a bit over 2 years, and we became quite fond of him. An enormous beast with as gentle a disposition as any dog ever had, he will be sorely missed. He loved the farm, and Hilary tells us she'll be returning his ashes to be scattered here. In his memory, here's a poem by a favorite poet of mine, in which the poet's departed bulldog remembers ...

The House Dog's Grave
(Haig, an English bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Robinson Jeffers, 1941

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For the record

We got another half inch of rain last night and today, making it a very wet August by Indiana standards. In our rain gauge we've logged eleven and a half inches since the fifth - the average is about three and a half inches. No more worries about drought here, at least not until this winter or next spring.

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Unexpected Rainfall

We actually had a round of pop up storms last night that delivered an inch of rain - first time we'd had a summer pop up all year! I'm sure the drought is broken now, not that it will do the crops any good. It sure has helped the pasture, though. High today was 76°F.

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