In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012.01.10

1.   Internship with Presidio Natural Resources Dept
2.   SF's Wild West:  Early History of Lake Merced's Neighborhoods January 11
3.   McKinley Square hillside volunteer day Jan 15
4.   GG Audubon program: GGP: A Stroll Through History - Jan 19
5.   A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir's Journey in final weeks at Oakland Museum
6.   Thinkwalk Tours is back
7.   Golden Age of Mesopredators at Randall Museum Jan 19
8.   Lost Landscapes of San Francisco and Detroit, Jan 24/Feb 22
9.   Planned Parenthood voter registration drive at various SF locations January 22. 
10. Rick Santorum exposed on family planning
11.  LTE on food crisis in Africa
12.  American temperatures 40 degrees above normal
13.  Data points on world water shortage
14.  Tax revenues and schools/what we were like before EPA
15.  Americans supported Nixon because of his anger and resentment
16.  Quick study: How to be a dictator/Arab Spring and Martin Luther
17.  Feedback
18.  Denise Levertov on the mystery of being

1.  The Presidio of San Francisco’s Natural Resources department is seeking qualified applicants to fill two (2) 10- to 12-month-long Habitat Restoration internships beginning in February.

http://www.presidio.gov/NR/rdonlyres/03C31492-3CA9-40AA-AF3C-A88423BBF634/0/PresidioEcologicalRestorationVolunteerIntern.pdf


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2.  Wednesday |January 11  7:00pm - 9:00pm
Western Neighborhoods Project Presents SF's Wild West:  Early History of Lake Merced's Neighborhoods

From the 1850s to the early 1900s, the area around Lake Merced was a destination for gamblers, duelists, sporting men, and other San Franciscans looking for excitement.  Woody LaBounty, founder of the Western Neighborhoods Project will present historical images and tell tales of roadhouses, squatters' wars, and famous horse races and explain how the city's wild west was tamed into some of San Francisco's most desirable
residential neighborhoods.

Merced Branch Library - 155 Winston Drive at 19th Avenue, Free!

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3.  A special volunteer day for Martin Luther King Service Weekend
Sunday January 15th, 10am-12noon
McKinley Square Hillside
20th at San Bruno Ave., San Francisco

    •    Clear weeds on plants planted in October
    •    Improve trails
    •    Remove fennel
    •    General clean up of garbage & debris
    •    Planting new native plants

Special guests:
    •    Liam O'Brien from SFButterFly, who will give a talk on the importance of native plants, and their support for native wildlife.
    •    Supervisor Malia Cohen, who also joined us with the MLK Service Weekend at the creation of the 18th & San Bruno Ave Community Garden in 2010.     http://www.potreroview.net/feat10156.html

Lunch will be sponsored by Goat Hill Pizza.   Drinks by Chiotras Grocery
Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves and gardening tools if they have them.  Otherwise we will supply.

All volunteers will get to go home with a few native plants for their back, side, and front yards.  Plants that promote native wildlife for the hillside help in home gardens too!

RSVPs encouraged but not required. Helps us know how much pizza, drinks & plants to have on hand.  RSVP to: info@McKinleySquare.com

This is also posted at:   http://mckinleysquareblog.blogspot.com

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4.  Golden Gate Park: A Stroll Through History with Heath Massey
San Francisco: Thursday, January 19—7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 program (free for Golden Gate Audubon Society members, $5 non members)
Many dedicated naturalists have left memorable footprints in Golden Gate Park over the years. William Hammond Hall, the park’s first superintendent, applied principles of natural plant succession to stabilize the sand dunes that underlie the park. John McLaren, longtime park superintendent and experimental horticulturalist, arrived at the great variety of plants in the park through trial and error. Dr. Luis Baptista, curator of ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences, studied the vocalizations of the park’s White-crowned Sparrows and memorably whistled their calls at scientific meetings. Heath Massey will recount the stories of these and other fascinating individuals who helped chart the natural history of this remarkable park.

Heath Massey lives in San Francisco and is a professor of landscape architecture at U.C. Davis, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1990. She is a licensed landscape architect and a landscape historian and is the author of Picturing California's Other Landscape: The Great Central Valley (Heyday, 1999) and Melodramatic Landscapes: Urban Parks in the Nineteenth Century (University of Virginia, 2009). Her blog on the park, Golden Gate Park: Views From the Thicket, can be found athttp://fromthethicket.wordpress.com.

San Francisco programs are held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church and Center located at 1187 Franklin Street (at Geary) zip 94109.
Map it!


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5.  Oakland Museum of California
Final Weeks!

Take the Muir Trail and see the exhibition A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir's Journey before it closes Sun, Jan 22.
Isn't it time you made a new year's resolution to help save the planet? Whether that means taking more time in 2012 to visit parks, go hiking, recycle, or pick up trash, this year you can make a difference. Start now by getting inspired by A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir's Journey before the exhibition closes Sunday January 22! Told through OMCA's collections of art, history, and natural sciences; exciting digital technology; and journals, manuscripts, and original drawings-the exhibition is a tribute to Muir's impact on California and to the importance of continued environmental stewardship. Learn more>>

PLUS:
OMCA's staff has created a unique John Muir trail throughout the Museum campus, complete with Yosemite-inspired trail signs and stops inside the Galleries of California Art and History, the gardens, store, and more. Download the map here >>

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6.  Thinkwalk Tours

I have a new way of handing reservations! And it's no reservations.

That's right, just show up. No RSVP needed. Bring your pals, and come to the meeting point on a day listed on the calendar. I've stuffed the calendar so you're more likely now to find what you want than you were with my old sparse walk and ride schedule.

http://thinkwalks.org/calendar/

Join one you've been craving.

Also, for our patients who do Facelessbookless, please click "Like" at the top of the thinkwalks web page or find it on Facebook at Thinkwalks-Nerdy-Tours-for-San-Franciscans (unwieldy name, a part of my tech confusion).

Oooooh, and in other cool news: Keep an eye out for an announcement of my new iPhone app, coming later this month! http://knowwhatapp.com/ (Eventually it will be available for other smartphones, I'm told.) My two guides will be 'Everything Explained' and 'Local Nerd', available for $2.99 after you've bought the basic sampler Know What guide which I think is also $2.99.

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7.  San Francisco Natural History Series at the Randall Museum

JANUARY LECTURE
The Golden Age of Mesopredators
Guest Speaker:  Glen Martin
7:30pm, Thursday, January 19th, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, San Francisco, CA

Glen Martin, former environmental reporter for the Chronicle, will recount how mid-level predators are thriving in the Bay Area.

You can get an intro to the subject through his Bay Nature article from July 1st of 2011, the Middle Way.
http://baynature.org/articles/jul-sep-2011/the-middle-way

FUTURE TALKS
http://sfnhs.com/upcoming-speakers/
Feb 16 – The Sturgeon in San Francisco Bay - Michael McGowan
Mar 15 – Return of the Harbor Porpoises - Bill Keener
Apr 19 – A Year of Sketching San Francisco's Wild Areas - Nancy King & Mary Swanson
May 17 – The UNnatural History of San Francisco Bay - Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
Jun 21 – Above and Below San Francisco Streets - Glen Lym

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8.  Please come to the San Francisco repeat screenings of the all-new LOST LANDSCAPES OF SAN FRANCISCO 6 and LOST LANDSCAPES OF DETROIT in the
beautiful, newly-refurbished Internet Archive screening space!

Tuesday, January 24, at 7:30 pm:

LOST LANDSCAPES OF SAN FRANCISCO 6 (2011) is the latest in a series of historical urban explorations, made from home movies, industrial and promotional films and outtakes, and other cinematic ephemera. It sold out the Castro Theatre in December, and this will be its second screening. As many of you know, this is interactive cinema: YOU are the soundtrack.  Please come prepared to shout out your identifications, ask questions about what's on the screen, and share your thoughts with fellow audience members.

Most of the footage in this program has not been shown before. It includes footage of San Francisco's cemeteries just before their removal, unique drive-thru dootage of the Old Produce Market (now Golden Gateway) in the late 1940s, cruising the newly-built Embarcadero Freeway, grungy back streets in North Beach, the sandswept Sunset District in the 1930s,  and newly-rediscovered Cinemascope footage of Playland, the Sky Tram and San Francisco scenes, all in Kodachrome.

RSVP NECESSARY to rsvp@archive.org (please see below)

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Wednesday, February 22, at 7:30 pm:

LOST LANDSCAPES OF DETROIT 2 (2011) is an all-new feature-length compilation of home movies, industrial films, outtakes and newsreels showing Detroit as it was. Most of the material has never been shown publicly, and this year's show will include a great deal of new footage, including:

-- women workers at World War II Chrysler
-- Detroit public school students (1947-48) in class, on the streets, and on a field trip to the Diego Rivera murals
-- postal workers on break
-- new footage of Detroit's 250th anniversary parade, including Joe Louis
-- Detroiters making a pilgrimage to the newly opened Northland Center in 1956
-- driving down Woodward during the 1950s, in Kodachrome
-- homes, neighborhoods and ceremonies for you, the audience, to identify

Composed mostly of home movies and family films, this screening is especially relevant to Internet Archive's Personal Digital Archives 2012 (PDA2012) conference, which will begin the morning after the screening. We especially encourage PDA2012 participants to join us at the show.
Information on PDA2012 is here: http://www.personalarchiving.com/

While the show presents many places and activities that are no longer with us, it's not an exercise in nostalgia -- rather, it's an attempt to kindle conversation about Detroit's complex present and possible futures, as  informed by its glorious past. Again, this is an interactive show -- YOU are encouraged to shout out your identifications, ask questions, and share your thoughts with fellow audience members. Members of the Detroit diaspora are especially welcome to share your experiences and expertise.

RSVP NECESSARY to rsvp@archive.org (please see below)
- - - - -

Suggested admission for each screening: $5 bucks -- or 5 books, which will be donated to Internet Archive's book scanning project

VERY IMPORTANT: RSVP necessary. The room seats 500, but these shows can be popular. Your RSVP to rsvp@archive.org will reserve you a seat.

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DIRECTIONS:

Internet Archive is located at 300 Funston Avenue, corner of Clement Street, in San Francisco. It's one block east of Park Presidio (California route 1) at Clement, and reachable by many Muni lines, including the 1, 2, 28, 38.

Detailed directions are here: http://www.archive.org/about/contact.php

If you'd like to reach me (especially with information about San Francisco or Detroit home movies and family films in your collection), please email me at my address above.

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9.  Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific Public Affairs is hosting a Voter Registration Drive on Saturday, January 21 at various locations throughout San Francisco.

January 22, 2012 is the 39th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. PPSP wants to commemorate Roe by making a positive impact! Unfortunately, there are people who still do not trust women to make their own health care decisions. In 2011, you showed your support for the essential health care services that Planned Parenthood provides by making over 40,000 phone calls to Congress, over 2,100 e-mails to Governor Brown, and writing 91 Letters to the Editor. We must continue to build on this momentum as we enter 2012, and there’s no better way than giving our supporters the chance to express themselves through the voting process.

To sign-up register voters during one of the following shifts please contact:
Marsha Donat at mdonat@pp-sp.org.

SF Ferry Building Farmers Market
8:00am-10:00am
10:00am-12:00pm

16th Street BART Station
8:00am-10:00am
10:00am-12:00pm

Union Square Shopping Center
12:00pm-2:00pm
2:00pm-4:00pm

DeYoung Museum
12:00pm-2:00pm
2:00pm-4:00pm

All volunteers will receive a brief 30-minute training prior to their shift. Call-in information will be provided when you RSVP to Marsha Donat at mdonat@pp-sp.org. If you cannot attend one of the following teleconferences, we ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your shift for on-sight training.

Training calls are scheduled on:
Tuesday, January 17 at 2:30pm
Thursday, January 19 at 6:00pm
Friday, January 20 at 10:30am

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10.  From Population Institute:
The New “Anti-Choice” Movement
Thank you, Rick Santorum, for clarifying what it means today to be “anti-choice.”  Historically that label has been applied to those who would deny women the right to an abortion.  Now the whole world knows that an increasing number of social conservatives are not just anti-abortion; they are avidly anti-contraception as well.

For years, even decades now, many social conservatives have justified their opposition to family planning by linking it to abortion, but within the past year it’s been increasingly clear that they are also opposed to contraception.

When Rick Santorum said last week that he thought states should have the power to ban family planning, he wasn’t saying anything new.  He had been saying it all along; most of us just weren’t listening.  Apparently, he has always believed in the “dangers of contraception.”

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11.  LTE, Guardian Weekly - Population is the problem

Your article "Sahel region faces major food crisis" described the bleak food situation facing the five countries of the Sahel.  A million children face malnutrition and up to 12 million are at risk of hunger.  Poor harvests following erratic rains were cited as the reason.

While our hearts - and we hope food aid - go out to those suffering, how long will it be before rapid population growth is cited as a contributing factor?  All these countries have very high fertility rates: Niger 7.60, Mali 6.44, Burkina Faso 6.14, Chad 5.05 and Mauritania 4.30.  Niger's fertility rate is the highest, not only in Africa, but the world.

Put another way, the population growth rates in each of the five countries are: Niger 3.64% (doubling time 19 years), Burkina Faso 3.09%, Mali 2.61%, Mali 2.35% and Chad 2.01% (doubling time 35 years)

Even in a region that is not arid, these growth rates are unsustainable.  These Sahel countries have few means of buying food on the world market and must depend on food aid.  Yet, in less than 20 years, there will be twice as many people in Niger.

The means of lowering fertility and stabilising population numbers are well-known: universal access to reproductive health, including family planning; education of girls; equality of women; banning of child marriages and so on.  If the countries of the Sahel are to receive food aid, there must be some kind of agreement whereby they take on at least some of these measures.  It is everyone's interests, not least their own.

Jenny Goldie
Michelago, NSW, Australia

(I have become dismissive of crises, such as the current Somali famine, for the very reason identified in this LTE.  Pundits will talk about compassion fatigue.  It is not; it is because providing aid does nothing to address the problem, only the immediate consequences.  It is time to ask questions of the "humanitarians" [Bill and Melinda Gates come immediately to mind] ready to step in to relieve the suffering while doing nothing to prevent its eternal return.  Add to that the fact that much--in the case of Somalia, most--of the aid never reaches its intended recipients--it goes into the hands of tyrants or crooks of various stripes.  Start by addressing the problem, which is a consequence of population growth beyond the ability of the land to sustain.  For some reason that is considered too "sensitive".  That provides an easy out for ambitious politicians.  JS)

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12.  AlterNet Record Heat Floods America With Temperatures 40 Degrees Above Normal

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/760102/record_heat_floods_america_with_temperatures_40_degrees_above_normal
Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth has flooded the United States, shattering records from southern California to North Dakota. “Temperatures have reached up to 40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota,” the Weather Channel reports. Cities are seeing late-April temperatures at the start of January — Minot, ND hit 61 degrees, Aberdeen, SD hit 63 degrees, and Williston, ND hit 58 degrees, all-time record highs for the month of January.

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13.  Data Points from Scientific American, June 2003:

NOT ALL WET

    In March, the United Nations reported on the state of the world’s freshwater.  Population growth could mean that by the middle of this century, seven billion people in 60 countries could be affected by a lack of clean water.  Yet little is being done to confront the impending crisis.

Percent of the world’s accessible freshwater used by humans:  54
Percent estimated to be used by 2025:                            70

Percent used by agriculture:       69

    For industry (average):       22

    For industry, high-income countries:                59

    For industry, low-income countries:                               8

Annual number of deaths from water-related diseases:         5 million
Annual number sickened by poor water:       2.3 billion

Available water per person, in liters per day:

    Countries with the least:
        Bahamas:                                181
        United Arab Emirates:             159
        Gaza Strip:                              142
        Kuwait:                                      2.7

    Country with the most:
        Greenland                 29.5 million
        U.S. (contiguous):     20,300

Source:  World Water Assessment Program; see www.wateryear2003.org

“Because of population growth, California will be chronically short of water by 2010.”
    (Association of California Water Agencies)

“When the well’s dry, we’ll know the value of water.”
    Benjamin Franklin

“Twenty percent more water than is now available will be needed to feed the additional three billion people who will be alive by 2025.”
    World Commission on Water for the 21st Century

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14.
"An inconvenient truth is that jobs and tax revenues from large corporations support schools and add other economic benefits to cash-starved states…Nevertheless, the 99% bears an unsustainable cost for these benefits…"
    Tim Lydon, in his essay "Greens need to occupy the Occupy movement," in High Country News, www.hcn.org/wotr

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Since the Republicans are working hard to do away with the EPA, it's a good time to look at what America was like before the EPA existed:
http://www.treehugger.com/economics/what-us-would-look-without-environmental-protections-photos.html


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15.  Richard Nixon, born 9 January 1913

The fuel of power

Nixonland:  The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, by Rick Perlstein

A fascinating biography argues that Americans supported Richard Nixon because of his anger and resentment, not despite it

…Nixon hardly has a reputation as Mr Normal.  But it is still astonishing to be reminded of quite how odd Nixon and his circle were.  He wore a necktie when he was in his dressing gown.  He once visited his mother, camera crew in tow, to wish her a happy birthday—and shook her by the hand.  He sent memos to his wife, Pat, about how “RN” would like his furniture arranged.  Nixon matter-of-factly ordered H.R. Haldeman to draw up a list of the “big Jewish” contributors to the Democratic Party.  “Could we please investigate some of the cocksuckers?”  Chuck Colson, Nixon’s general counsel who famously said that he would run over his grandmother for his boss, once contemplated firebombing the Brookings Institution, a stately think-tank, and then sending in FBI officers dressed as firemen to steal a document that Nixon wanted.

What drove this extraordinary man?  Boundless ambition was part of it.  Nixon once told Leonard Garment, another adviser, that he was willing to do “anything” to get what he wanted—anything except “see a shrink”.  But it was ambition turbo-charged with resentment.  Nixon hated the liberal snobs who ran America—the holier-than-thou Ivy-League types who looked down on ordinary people while pretending to champion their cause—and he was never happier than when confronting them…Nor was the loathing all one way.  Hating Richard Nixon was almost the defining feature of American liberalism during his glory years.

But light struggled with dark in Nixon’s soul.  The dirty trickster also had a foreign-policy brain.  Nixon had little interest in home affairs:  he was content to sub-contract what he called “building outhouses in Peoria” to bright liberals such as Patrick Moynihan…Mr Perlstein’s biggest contribution to his subject is to set Nixon’s private resentments in the context of a broader culture of resentment.  Nixonland is a study of how the consensus of the early 1960s turned into the cacophony of the late 1960s, when “regular” white Americans found everything they held dear thrown into question:  threatened by black activists, looked down upon by point-headed intellectuals, vilified by student radicals, corroded by a rising tide of lawlessness and vulgarity and fatally challenged not just by the anti-war movement but also by America’s failure to achieve its aims in Vietnam.  As far as Nixon’s supporters were concerned, the swinging sixties were the seething sixties.  Mr Perlstein rightly points out that many people supported Nixon not in spite of his boiling rage but precisely because of it.

It is hard, in the current political season, to read this book without hearing the sound of history rhyming, to paraphrase Mark Twain.  George McGovern’s promise of “post-partisanship” galvanized America’s youth.  He trumpeted his opposition to the Vietnam war under the slogan of “right from the start”.  He went on to suffer one of the biggest defeats in the general election in American history. “Dirty politics confused him,” Hunter S. Thompson sighed.  Nixon chose “experience counts” as his campaign slogan in 1960 and boasted that he had spent “a lifetime getting ready”.  He made up for his lack of personal charm by an almost deranged relentlessness.  But this week’s result suggests that these are only half-rhymes at best:  Barack Obama has already met his Richard Nixon and slain her.

Excerpt from review in The Economist, 10 May 2008

Nixon, re the Bohemian Grove:  “The most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine.”

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16.  Quick study: Alastair Smith on political tyranny

How to be a dictator

Jan 1st 2012, 15:23 by A.B. | LONDON The Economist online





ALASTAIR SMITH is professor of politics at New York University. The recipient of  three grants from the National Science Foundation and author of three books, he was chosen as the 2005 Karl Deutsch Award winner, given biennially to the best international-relations scholar under the age of 40. He is co-author of “The Dictator’s Handbook: How Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics” (2011).

To whom do your guidelines apply?


Everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a dictator, a democratic leader, head of a charity or a sports organisation, the same things go on. Firstly, you don’t rule by yourself—you need supporters to keep you there, and what determines how you best survive is how many supporters you have and how big a pool you can draw these supporters from.

Do they actually have to support me, or can I just terrify them into supporting me by threatening them with death?

No, they absolutely have to support you on some level. You can’t personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf.  The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that’s typically not true. There is all this protest on Wall Street, but CEOs are keeping the people they need to keep happy happy—the members of the board, senior management and a few key investors—because they are the people who can replace them. Protesters on Wall Street have no ability to remove the CEOs. So in a lot of countries the masses are terrified but the supporters are not.

What about Stalin? Even his inner circle was terrified.

And so on:  economist.com/node/21542299
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LTE, The Economist
Dogmatic principles


SIR – You proposed that there are similarities between the effect of social networks during the Arab spring and the use of the printed word by Martin Luther 500 years ago (“How Luther went viral”, December 17th). If that is true, perhaps we should be concerned that the Arab spring may turn out to be similar to Luther’s reformation in other ways. Will Durant, a historian, once wrote that:

It is instructive to observe how Luther moved from tolerance to dogma as his power and certainty grew…it was difficult for a man of Luther’s forceful and positive character to advocate tolerance after his position had been made relatively secure. A man who was sure that he had God’s Word could not tolerate its contradiction.
The unhappy fact is that Lord Acton was correct. Power really does tend to corrupt. Those admirers of the Arab spring who don’t want to believe that the apparently democratic movement can be corrupted are simply living in a wished-for world, which never was and never will be.

Palmer Hanson
Largo, Florida


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17.  Feedback

John Anderson:
I liked the story in High Country News about the Center for Biological Diversity's condom campaign. But they left out my favorite: "cover your tweedle; save the burying beetle".

By the way, I'm now a subscriber to HCN, thanks largely to your mention of them in your newsletter. How does it feel to have such power?
Power doesn't interest me, but introducing people to good things does.

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18.


Of Being

I know this happiness
is provisional:

the looming presences—
great suffering, great fear—

withdraw only
into peripheral vision:

but ineluctable this shimmering
of wind in the blue leaves:

this flood of stillness
widening the lake of sky:

this need to dance,
this need to kneel:

this mystery:


~ Denise Levertov  ~

(Selected Poems)

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