Saturday, June 09, 2007


Nobody tagged me with the mime for favorite blogs, but I don’t care, I’ll just list my favorites anyway.

I. is normally in England where people don’t get so upset about proper terms for male anatomy, except for Mrs. Trellis, an intruder on this blog who says the most remarkable things. I tried impersonating her in the comments once, but was instantly recognized and rebuffed. I suppose she’s Welsh and still there, whereas I’m Scots and only from my grandpa’s generation back, though they say there was a sojourn in Nova Scotia at some point. This clever grandpa comes to the US to visit his children and assures us it’s worth it. He alternates photos of them with photos of birds as he spots them. The birds are less tiring, I suspect, but I hope he never has to make a choice between birds and grandchildren.

2. is such piercingly beautiful writing, also English and also often about birds, that I sometimes end up actually weeping. Seriously. “I’ve watched sparrowhawks fly through hedgerows at top speed. Their range-finding, terrain-avoidance equipment is such that they can pour themselves through tiny holes, shrugging, drawing their wings tight to their sides for an instant, braking with a flowering of wings and huge, fanned tail and throwing themselves to one side to avoid a thorn or a snag of wire. All this at fifty or sixty miles an hour.”


“Sparrowhawks are important to me, because it is too easy for me to do the Keats thing: pour myself into birds as a way of disappearing from me-ness. I identify with birds too easily. I am embarrassed to admit that I’m way too ready to get lost in the enjoyment of a dust-bathing sparrow, take joy in the sun on my fluffy flanks, presume I know exactly what the blackbird’s thinking as it chinks in alarm in a hedge. But sparrowhawks are incomprehensible. I can’t pour myself into a sparrowhawk, not even for a moment. They’re the wrong density for the world I live in, and their mores are unaccountable.”

III. Aside from English birders, I’m addicted to emergency responders. Chas Clifton defends “Ambulance Driver” and I love him, too, (yes, I don’t mean “like”) but at you get more of a novel. Like this: “He pulled the dented car over onto the side of the highway. Rush hour traffic screamed by him in the other three lanes. Horns whistled as the irate drivers raced dangerously close to his driver's side door, angrily flipping him off as he sat in his car weeping. The trashy small sedan reeked of cigarette smoke and the front windshield was stained with the yellow fog from every nicotine-laced exhalation. A dream catcher hung religiously from the bent rear view mirror. It hadn't worked in years.

IV. For head-clearing, it’s pretty hard to beat one of the Glacier Park webcams. This is the url for the entrance on the east side at St. Marys, where I spent a summer at the counter for a campground -- not the parks’ campground, a private one. Same bears. <>

IV. You guys already know about Chas Clifton, Stephen Bodio’s Querencia (3 guys) and 2blowhards with a varying number of blowhards. But do you know about Very careful thinking about the human genome, so much more complicated than the media presents it that you’ll never fool around with Time magazine’s version again. Like this: “Carl Zimmer has an interesting post on Craig Venter's goal of making a synthetic organism. Apparently, Venter has filed for a patent on the process (essentially, synthesizing a minimum number of genes necessary for life, and transforming it into a cell)” Razib has a wicked sense of humor, a strong sense of justice and an intense interest in sexy women and their preferences. Where’s the series, dude?

But the blog also pulls in stories about human evolution like: “You head back to 100,000 years ago just to make sure. There seem to be more people - but still limited to Africa - and finally settle on 60,000 years ago as the low point. Then there were as few as 2,000 humans in existence. The worst time in the history of our species; one we nearly didn't survive.” The weather: what doesn’t kill you will make you strong -- and maybe even smart.

V. is my dependable favorite for literary gossip and opinion. Another Englishman, he’s my age, which helps, and though he once threatened to quit, that didn’t last long, thank goodness. “If you're still thinking about whether to self-publish a book or not, then reading this guide [“Aiming at Amazon”] is an even more salutary experience for you. I don't think I have ever read a book which made it plainer that publishing is damned hard work. It's a fiddly, irritating, time-consuming and exhausting rigmarole of paying close attention to tiny details, adjusting them when they don't turn out right, and then discovering that you have a dozen more of the same to attend to. Not, on the whole, a lot of fun. Writing a book may be fun, but publishing often isn't.” If this were on a page instead of a screen, I would write in the margin, “how true.”

That’s just five. The truth is that my list of bookmarks is rapidly becoming as long as my list of books! There is not enough reading time in the day, esp. when one is also trying to write!! But, oh, the long slow sweet slide of words into the brain -- nothing is better. Not sex. It IS sex. One hopes FERTILE sex.

(P.S. I have no idea why these blogs are all from blogspot. It just happened.)


Cowtown Pattie said...

I love your analogy!

Great links, too. Thanks, Mary.

Lester Hunt said...

Thanks for the leads -- most of these were unknown to me!

Mary Strachan Scriver said...

Thanks for the comment, Lester. Now I've marked your blog to check now and then. Though my tolerance for Ayn Rand is VERY limited, mostly because of her self-declared friend, Ruth Beebe Hill, author of "Hanta Yo!" which is a very silly book.

Prairie Mary