Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day - Aldo Leopold

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
--Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), A Sand County Almanac (1949)

: Northern Pickets from Hannagan Peak, North Cascades National Park, Washington State (by M.J. O'Brien). An hour after this picture was taken it was raining — hard.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Blues Break: Two versions of "Mockingbird"

Aretha Franklin is joined by Roy Johnson in a rollicking version of "Mockingbird" back in the sixties on an unidentified TV show. (Aretha finally can't stay in her seat any longer at around 1:10.)

And here's a another version, with lyrics that are very much her own, by Regina Spektor. Her cover of "Little Boxes," written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, is the perfect introduction to various episodes of Showtime's "Weed" series.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Quotes of the week: Anthony Lewis and Samuel Beckett

On the issue of tort "reform" and high litigation rates in the U.S., Anthony Lewis writes in the April 9th issue of the New York Review of Books:
"This country is notoriously lacking in safety nets that are taken for granted in other advanced societies. Medical care is guaranteed by the state, by one method or another, in Canada and all European countries; in the United States upward of 40 million people have no medical insurance. Around 46 percent of employed Americans get not even one day of paid sick leave—which is guaranteed by law in 145 other countries. Lawsuits are often a substitute for safety nets."
The latest volume of Samuel Beckett's vast correspondence is creating a lot of buzz (and here), apparently for good reason. On more than one occasion, Beckett was ready to abandon writing altogether. As he wrote in 1936:
"I hope I am not too old to take [flying] up seriously, nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a commercial pilot. I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them."
PHOTO: Samuel Beckett by Louis le Brocquy, 1979 (Wikimedia Commons)