Monday, February 19

Wind shift

After three days of blowing to the east, the wind sock is headed west and the pinwheel's spinning. It's a blustery-but-not-quite-as-cold-as-before Sunday. The Craggy Mountains show white tops as I drive down Jupiter Road to Holcombe Branch. The song I sing is "Didn't he ramble?" The temperature is supposed to be 61 by Thursday.


Please squint as you view this, see it as you would normally, driving distractedly by on your usual morning route, at 45 mph. It's more mysterious and fun that way.
But even with the sub-text, it' still mysterious.

Sunday, February 18


One of my blog muses began simply and has become, while still as interesting both verbally and visually, more intricate and extensive over the past years. Images especially, I was thinking, have become increasingly abstract and even edgy. Meanwhile, mine are icons of a romantic ideal of life. Maybe it's simply different sensibilities, but maybe the one is a better way to face life, less blind-eyed. But on Valentine's Day (late) it's fine to show lovely things.

The Valentines pictured above span six decades, more or less.

When you send a Valentine,

That's the time for fun;

Stick it underneath the door

And run, run, run.

That one's so satisfying to say. Here's another, a brief quotation from something still under copyright, Father Fox's Pennyrhymes, by Clyde and Wendy Watson:

Country Bumpkin

Pick a pumpkin

Put it in your heart:

For little Jenny


Valentine sweetheart.

Also from that lovely book is this, intended for the summer fair in its cycle of seasons, but appropriate for this day as well:

Huckleberry, gooseberry, raspberry pie

All sweetest things one cannot buy.

Peppermint candies are six for a penny,

But true love & kisses, one cannot buy any.

"Love's a sweet no money can buy." ~ Father Fox

Monday, February 12

[Ooohhhnnnhhh nnnnrrhhhhsnfsnfsnffsnffhrnffhehehe...]

~~~ "The past is a different country. They do things differently there."

Quick quiz: who do you hear saying these words, in a distinct intonation? Having seen, once, and then again, and again, Scorsese's movie of The Age of Innocence, how can I not forever after and always hear these words in Michele Pfieffer's voice?

But now there's a new voice on the block:
[Oh oh oh...stop for a gasp of breath [nnh nnh nnh], [wipe tears from eyes, blow nose] You know, I hope, about the "My Dinner With Andre" action figures, and the Remains of the Day lunchbox, (you do, don't you? I hope so... ) -- but do you know about the "Age of Innocence" Board Book? Go look -- it's on LibraryThing. Once you get there, you'll have to drill down a bit -- search for the book, then look at the variant editions and their tags. I'm not saying that you'll SEE the board book edition, but you'll see it listed. Maybe we can find it at wonderful Powells.

Salt Too

Google will one day have more of my life in its vaults than I care to think about. Mainly, I don't really care, as long as I retain copyright. I have nothing to hide that I'd ever put on here, and they're welcome to mine my data, I guess. I'll mind it, and they might mine it. Mostly I trust them because they're smart West Coast guys who love to innovate. Who cares that Amazon sells socks and electronics and is Soooo Big? It had good Pacific grass roots.
I should say something more meaningful to go with my lovely pictures, but they're so fine they need not my words.

I just read Neil Gaiman's short novel Coraline. It's a fresh, unique story with old touches, old fears and motifs. I also read a blog account of a talk given by Phillip Pullman recently. It wasn't the transcript, but a blow-by-blow from an attentive listener. The name of the talk was "Poco a poco: the Fundamental Particles of Narrative." (See? I just switched over to Google in another window and checked on the title, a quick blog search. Would would let me do this if it weren't for Google?) I'd print the link to the blog post but someone just said that netiquette prohibits hot links on blogs. I thought in some quarter, anyway, hot links were a major point of blogs.
The pictures were taken at a favorite little cove along Ocean Drive in Newport, my original home town.

Sunday, February 11

Shaking sand out of my shoes

Just a metaphorical excuse to continue the coastal imagery. I'd like to shake out answers to a couple of comments. On style, remember that I am a copyist by trade, a collector, a librarian, a gatherer and gleaner, rather than a creator. Some of my sentences are mine. But I try to attribute those that are not, in the true bibliographic spirit. We librarians like to point to the works of others, just as museum curators showcase their gatherings so as to point to the wonders of the world. We do not pretend to be original, although we are inspired by the originals.

Okay, that was a lot of sand. Shake that out of your shoe, and let's move on.

Two practical bits. How to create tag cloud, like my "Cloud of Shards:" go to and follow the directions. It takes a little playing around, but it's pretty easy.

On the question of how to show your past blog titles, here's the scoop, the straight stuff, the real deal.: switch to Blogger Beta . I learned a mantra somewhere in InfoLand: Beta is forever. Think about it a while; it's deep.
I also continue to drink the Kool-Aid of Google. Part of me secretly believes that I'll live to regret this slavish belly-up. But the adventuring library part says Google Ho! Onward and upward! It's cool, it works, and it's free! I really love grape and lemon-lime -- what's your favorite flavor?

Anyway, back to the question of formatting your blogpost titles. I can hardly remember the old Blogger, but in the Beta when you go to your blog and look at the tabs, you can choose "Template." Now, in the beautiful [lemon-lime] Beta version you are shown a graphical representation of the sections of your blog. the whole page. You can edit any section or create a new one (including a new "widget," such as my bookcover mashup from LibraryThing) without messing with inserting blocks of HTML into screens of code, as you did in the old Blogger. When you edit the Blog Archive it gives you several display choices.
Go for it. Switch to Blogger Beta. It's so easy. Root beer or cherry, maybe?

Saturday, February 10


I was born on old Cape Cod on January 14, 1874. To a certain extent man is a reflection of his environment. It exerts an influence on his character and development that he cannot escape; He may not be aware of it. He may scoff at it. But it is there, working through his unconscious all through life. Especially is this true of the environment of his youth. If this has been spent in a fixed locality say the land of his birth, he is for better or worse a product of his native soil as other living things that spring from it.

~ from Now I Remember: the Autobiography of Thornton W. Burgess, Boston: Little Brown, 1969

It has been said that Cape Codders by birth rather than by adoption have salt In their hair, sand between their toes, and herring blood in their veins.... They are subject to fits of nostalgia for which there is no known cure.... In this there is something elementary, something of pounding surf, of shifting sands, the taste of salt on the lips, the flash of sun on distant dunes,k the mingled smells of marsh muck, salt hay and stranded fish....

Sentences for Saturday

It's time to fill the feeder and free the flyer. Scatter seed on the ground for the doves. Pour tepid water on the frozen birdbath and watch the cardinals and towhees drink.

"The most precious things of life are near at hand, without money and without price. Each of you has the whole wealth of the universe at your very doors. All that I ever had, and still have, may be yours by stretching forth your hand and taking it.

-- John Burroughs (quoted by Raymond Tifft Fuller in Now That We Have to Walk, New York: Dutton, 1943)

Monday, February 5

Down with the Rosemary, Down with the Bays: Candlemas

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.
~ from The Garden Year, Christian Rossetti

It feels more like January this week, with freezing birdbaths and chilly winds. But the daffodils are fixing to open, and two crocuses are blooming in the front yard. This last week saw the birthdays of Langston Hughes and James Joyce and the deaths of Whitney Balliett, the NY Times critic; the great and too-early gone Molly Ivins; and Eric VonSchmidt, age 75, folk and blues singer of the great folk scare of the '60s, inspirer of many young and admirer of many old musicians. "Joshua Gone Barbadoes" is one of his great songs. and "Gulf Coast Blues," and his arrangement of "Wasn't That a Mighty Storm," about the 1900 Galveston hurricane that destroyed the city. Bob Dylan said he could "sing the bird off a wire and the rubber off a tire." (Quoted in NY Times obit, 2/3/07).

In honor of Molly Ivins I vow to try to call W. "Shrub" from now on.

The Full Cold Moon is waning. Today is the day of St. Agatha, of whom I know nothing, though I knew a very lovely namesake, who should be a lovely adult by now. February 2 was also Candlemas and Groundhog Day. Candlemas marks the border between Epiphany and Lent. It's also the Purification of the VIrgin and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and the mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'ed the Christmas Hall.
~ Robert Herrick

It is not enough to be busy -- so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?
~~ Henry David Thoreau, who also said "I like a wide margin to my life."