Showing posts from September, 2019

Poetry Sunday: Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson

As September fades into October, our thoughts turn Well, truthfully, for some of us, our thoughts have been on baseball for the last six months. Those were fun times, but now it gets serious. It's been a remarkable season for my favorite team, the Houston Astros. They've set a new club record for wins and several of the players have set individual records of various kinds. In addition to all that, they are just a fun team to watch. For those of us who suffered through those years of 100+ losses, the last three seasons of 100+ wins have been sweet indeed. And now we come to the playoffs where anything can happen and usually does and all of those 100+ wins mean nothing. Or at least very little. Baseball is a game where yesterday's hero can be today's goat and vice versa. But there is always another game tomorrow, a chance for redemption. Until there isn't. May Swenson understood. Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson It's about the ball, th

This week in birds - #371

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A member of the very large wren family of birds, the Rock Wren is a resident in the Big Bend area of Texas, which is where I photographed this one. *~*~*~* There was another warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week. They issued their latest report on the status of the world's oceans and it is not good . They are heating up so rapidly and their chemistry is changing so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to people who live along coasts. *~*~*~* Climate change refugees are likely to become more widespread in the coming years. Already the effects of climate change are one of the major factors driving people out of Central America. *~*~*~* The decline of many bird species could be reversed with appropriate action from governments, businesses, and individuals. *~*~*~* One species of bird that is doing

Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves: A review

Another excellent Vera Stanhope Mystery. This is the fourth in the series and they just keep getting better. The overweight and out-of-shape Vera who likes her drink maybe just a little too much has recently had her annual physical and the "child doctor" told her she needed to make some lifestyle changes. That couldn't have been much of a surprise, but what kind of changes can Vera tolerate? She tried yoga but found that her mind wandered and she couldn't concentrate on the downward-facing-dog. She settled on swimming. It was something that she sort of enjoyed and she could fit it in before work every day. Or as often as she chose. She joined a local health club at an out-of-the-way hotel where she wouldn't run into any colleagues and committed to doing ten laps - well, more nearly eight - in their pool each day. Then, a few minutes in their steam room and a latte and she was good to go. But then one morning she found another woman seated in the steam room. Wh

Poetry Sunday: Democracy by Leonard Cohen

Offered without comment except to say I can only hope, because  "I love the country but I can't stand the scene". Democracy lyrics by Leonard Cohen  It's coming through a hole in the air, from those nights in Tiananmen Square. It's coming from the feel that this ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there. From the wars against disorder, from the sirens night and day, from the fires of the homeless, from the ashes of the gay: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. It's coming through a crack in the wall; on a visionary flood of alcohol; from the staggering account of the Sermon on the Mount which I don't pretend to understand at all. It's coming from the silence on the dock of the bay, from the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. It's coming from the sorrow in the street, the holy places where the races meet; from the homicidal bitchin' that goes

This week in birds - #370

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A Long-billed Curlew walks along the beach in Galveston. *~*~*~* An alarming analysis published in the journal Science this week reported that the number of birds in North America has fallen by 29 percent since 1970 . That means that there are 2.9 billion fewer birds in our skies than there were only 50 years ago. As the head of the National Audubon Society stated, this represents a "full-blown crisis". It is not only the endangered species that are in trouble, even more common robins and sparrows have had steep losses in this period. *~*~*~* The Winter Finch Forecast is out and it is predicted that this will not be an irruptive winter for those birds. It seems this has been a good year for the conifers in Canada and the North and it is likely that the birds will be able to find the food they need there without having to fly farther south.    *~*~*~* The attempt by the current administratio

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess: A review

This is another book that falls in the "beach fiction" category. I seem to have read several of those this summer. That wasn't really planned; it just sort of happened that way.  For this one, the year is 1987. We head out to the Truro section of Cape Cod where most of the action takes place, but we start in New York where 25-year-old Eve Rosen is a bright young editorial assistant at a publishing house. It is a dead-end job and she is bored, so when she has an opportunity to leave it and take a position as a research assistant for the summer for Henry Grey, a well-regarded New Yorker writer, she jumps at the chance. Grey and his poet wife, Tillie, spend their summers in a Truro bungalow that is a magnet for writers and intellectual types. Their handsome son, Franny, also spends time there. And the bungalow is where Eve's new job will take place.  We learn that Eve is a wannabe writer herself, but she hasn't actually finished a story in years and she hasn&#

The Travelers by Regina Porter: A review

When I opened Regina Porter's book and found at its beginning a list of 33 characters, I was immediately tempted to close it up again and reach for another book in my reading queue. But the book had been highly recommended as my "kind of book", one that I was sure to enjoy, so I persisted and immersed myself in this generational story. All of those 33 characters turned out to be members of or connected to two families, one black and one white, and the story is a portrait of race relations in America beginning in the Jim Crow era of the 1950s and ending during Barack Obama's presidency in 2010. Moreover, as well as traveling through time, the characters travel around the world in the space of these decades. Buckner County, Georgia is central to the story, but various characters spend time in New Hampshire, New York City, Los Angeles, Vietnam, Brittany, Berlin, and the list goes on. Over time, the families become blended and interconnected through love/sex/marriage

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2019/Poetry Sunday

Once again Carol of May Dreams Gardens is hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for us and I am happy to welcome you to my zone 9a garden just northwest of Houston, Texas.  Our plentiful rains of the spring and early summer are a faded memory here in mid-September. We have transitioned into a very dry late summer, as we hope for the respite of autumn rain - preferably not accompanied by a hurricane. Most of my plants are looking a bit worse for wear as they endure the long, hot, dry days, but many still manage to produce blooms to brighten the garden.  September is time for asters.  And more asters. The purple oxalis has been resting for much of the summer but now it is producing blooms again.  The gaudy flowers of the crape myrtles continue - in watermelon red...  ...and in pink.  Esperanza, aka yellow bells, reaches for the sky.  The blue plumbago plants are a bank of blossoms now.  Even Joe Pye weed has decided to have another go at bl

This week in birds - #369

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : Three immature Brown Pelicans stand on a road in the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast. Both Brown and White Pelicans are present in the refuge. *~*~*~* Every year on September 11, there are two soaring beams of light turned on over Lower Manhattan as a tribute to those that died in the attack on this date in 2001. Unfortunately, these lights are deadly for birds, bats, and insects that are confused by them and can circle around them until they are completely exhausted. A tribute that kills thousands of migrating birds does not seem an appropriate way to remember those who were lost that day. *~*~*~* There are now places on Earth that have already heated up past the 2 degrees Centigrade that climate scientists say represent a danger point and these zones are growing.  *~*~*~* We know that the asteroid that hit the Gulf of Mexico off of Yucatan 66 million years ago was the beginning of