Links of the Week — Monday December 22, 2008

BLOG Links of the Week — Saturday December 20, 2008

beth patterson bend oregon
Photo by Beth Patterson of Mirror Pond, Bend OR

Finding Home: I’ve written much lately about my search to find where I belong, where my home is. I believe it is in wilderness, in a warm climate, with people I love. I’m spending a lot of time wandering between the three, hoping that somewhere I will find, or can draw, all three together. Chris Corrigan says finding home is discovering people who hold part of your story. So perhaps the search begins with understanding what your story is. This comes, auspiciously, as I return from trips to England, where I was born, and Winnipeg, where I grew up. Neither place is wild, or warm, but…

Give Presence: Design consultant Garr Reynolds (thanks Viv for the link) points us to a video on the religious Advent Conspiracy website that lampoons the commercialism of Christmas and urges viewers, instead of giving presents, to give presence. Not just your time, your presence. There is a difference, but many of us are so time constrained and attention deficit bound we don’t see it.

Be Here, Now: Colleen Wainwright* has another of her wonderful, funny rants about the meaning of life. This is brilliant writing. Teaser:

Because while you are cold and wet and cursing yourself for the lack of foresight in having the appropriate clothes handy with which to greet changed circumstances, you are also noting yourself having learned this lesson, and figuring out how you will do it better next time. While you are being pulled around the course by your wet, wet dog, one frozen claw of a hand clutching an umbrella, the other the lead, switching the bag of poop between them and hoping you do not all slip and fall into god-knows-what kind of dank, nasty mess of a slime-filled pothole, you are also noticing with great, great love in your heart how your poor, wet terrier-dog is walking so valiantly, is so unhappy with the cold and wet while at the same time so grateful to be out in it, and you are glad, too.

The Man in the Corner: Pete McGregor writes about one of the invisible people in our society. If you don’t recognize yourself in the picture he paints, you haven’t been paying attention.

Unrecognized Genius:
I mentioned this article when it first came out, but Evelyn Rodriguez has just reminded me of it. What happens when a celebrated musician dresses anonymously and plies his trade by a subway station? When I was in London, hurrying to catch my train, there was a musician there in the station entrance playing Santana’s Samba Pa Ti on the English Horn. He was astonishing, and could easily have been with the London Symphony. But I was in a hurry…

Time for a Return to Trains?:
I’ve spent much of this week in the UK traveling by train. The system is far from perfect, especially since Thatcher privatized the transportation system into a mess of incompatible routes and schedules with absurdly divergent prices and service levels. What is still public is horribly bureaucratic, and the smallest issue (the ones I encountered were described as a “security threat event”, a “passenger under a train”, and a “construction disruption”) grind much of the tube system to a halt. But these are soluble problems. The good news: Trains can run on electricity, not fossil fuels. Even in areas with antiquated rail systems they are fast (my train to Didcot topped out at 120 mph — 200 km/h). They dramatically reduce carbon emissions. They cost much less per passenger-mile than cars and much less per mile per ton of cargo than trucks. And as Jim Kunstler has pointed out, if we nationalized the Big 3 carmakers into one manufacturer and stop making cars, we could have a dedicated entity to design and introduce much-needed new trains and rail infrastructure within a few years. Thanks to Cyndy for the link.

ABCs: The Newest Environmental Threat: The massive burning of dirty fossil fuels and biomass is not only pushing greenhouse gases past the tipping point. It is also creating huge areas of atmospheric brown clouds, which are making the air toxic in much of China and India, masking global temperature rise by roughly half, destroying crops, causing millions of deaths annually, dimming major cities in struggling nations, and contributing to large increases in glacial melting, extreme rains, runoff and flooding. And if authorities attempt to reduce it, they risk accelerating the rise in global temperature and related extreme climate change. This is yet another self-reinforcing problem connected to human activity and overpopulation. Thanks to Graham Clark in Oz for the link.

What’s in a Name?: Thanks to all those who pointed out that my name was the word of the day last Thursday. To “pollard” means to lop the top off trees so that they can continue to grow. My ancestors, I suppose, were the first sustainable foresters. *Colleen’s last name (orig. wægn-wyrhta) means “maker of wheeled vehicles”.

Thought for the Week: From PS Pirro:

On the Longest Night

The world needs you to go where you want to go and be who you are meant to be.

The world needs you to shine as you were born to shine.

The world needs you as you stumble and fall, it needs you as you rise up, it needs your hands to hold on tight, it needs you to let go.

The world needs your laughter and your power and your grief.

On the longest night of the year, the world needs you to be the light.

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4 Responses to Links of the Week — Monday December 22, 2008

  1. Yes, it does! And my “real” last name–the one I’d have today if my father hadn’t decided to Anglicize from “Weinrott” to “Wainwright”–would mean “maker of red wine.”Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a much, much more festive surname!(And thank you for the kind words. Really. They are deeply gratifying.)

  2. Siona says:

    I love how your name speaks to your work, though! You lop off untenable beliefs so that new ones can continue to grow. Ever so appropriate. :)

  3. Paris says:

    I’ve travelled the world in search for where I belong, but found it nowhere, cause it’s too late. There haven’t been space for us,nomads, to live happily for a such a long time…we have been cursed and exiled in hot deserts, cold deserts, icy countries, or endagered rainforest.Though at Christmas, close to a fire, sitting on round table and eating heartily good traditional food with a large, very extended family, I feel HOME.Is family the last, isolated, narrow corner of ‘home’? While anywhere behind our garden’s fences stand only dangerous strangers, and alien cultures?

  4. Martin-Eric says:

    I’m still not sure where home is supposed to be. So far, my best guess has been a combination of “wherever I constantly long to go back to” and “wherever those people dearest to me for now happen to be”. On one hand, I feel “at home” in a few specific places on this planet where people know me and where I know my way around instinctively. On another, feeling at home in so many different places has turned me into a somewhat estranged nomad who never quite acquires a sense of belonging to anywhere in particular – free as a bird and yet looking for his nest and not quite sure how to recognize when he’ll have found it.

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