Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Note to self: It is so nice bathing in water that has passed through the roots of the trees.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tonopah, Sunday morning

Tonopah, main street.

I'm back from Tonopah and am off again tomorrow to Seattle for a week. Here are a few images from the trip. I'm acquiring quite a collection, for what's it worth. I did get inside an abandoned house this time, one rumored to have once been a brothel with a tunnel under the town connecting it to the Mizpah Hotel. I have no idea if the story is true but after I heard it, I had to explore the place, a boarded up old mansion directly up the hill from the Mizpah. I'll post it and more photos when I have the time. Once again, adieu.

Tonopah after dark.

Here's a link to the video walk-through of the abandoned brothel. It's too dark in some places but if you want a peek inside the mansion have at it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I'm going to Tonopah for the weekend. That's the half ghost town located a few miles west of the northwestern boundary of Area 51. It's the town that won't die because everybody has to stop there for gas and there's couple of prisons in the area that employ people. I have photographed the place a lot but will see if I can come back with an interesting new shot or two. Wish me luck. Oh and I left Uncle Orson cued up. If you need anything, ask him. (re-enactment)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

URGENT - pet food recall

The FDA has just issued a recall of several brands of contaminated pet food that is known to cause kidney failure and sometimes the death of dogs and cats who have eaten it. For product information, check this list. According to the FDA, if your pet has "consumed the suspect feed and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) consult with the veterinarian immediately." Good luck.

Ps. You should probably hang on to all the packages you have (including any empty ones) and the vet bills to see what you can do after/if they figure out what's going on.

7 am magpie

It's 7 am and the lone magpie just arrived in the bird park to scoop up some of the peanuts scattered on the ground. I like her. Perhaps she is the one who used to come at 7 pm. At least she also is a loner. I have cut back considerably on the goodies. The little birds, the finches, were getting pushed out by larger, more aggressive ones but the 7 am magpie swoops in, gobbles a couple of peanut chips, scoops up a beakful and is gone before anyone else has even showed up. That's it. All the news that's fit to post before coffee.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

If FOX were a wine

If FOX News were a wine,
it would be Mad Dog 20/20.

FOX is not a legitimate news media. It pimps lies and half truths. It's job is to provide a smoke screen for the thugs and thieves manipulating our government and military for personal profit. FOX anchors aren't even actors. They are media whores. The rest of the time, FOX fills its trough with sleaze and slop to booze and snooze by.

Yeah for Nevada! Last week we jettisoned FOX as a host for our Democratic presidential debate. I don't give much credit to the boobs in Las Vegas who invited FOX to participate in the first place. FOX is unfair and wildly unbalanced but Nevada Dems raised a huge fuss and Harry Reid finally pulled the plug. Thanks Harry but more importantly, thanks Nevada. Hell ya, I called and complained! If you haven't read the juicy details, MediaMatters posted a good article on it by Eric Boehlert called Fox News can't take a punch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March mouse update

Time for the March Mouse Update.

If mice freak you out or are just too trivial for your taste well, sorry. I guess you'll have to pass on this one. Not to sound self-righteous but I have a commitment to local as well as global and cosmic news.

A couple more of the Lelands recently relocated from my garage to the grove by the pond and naturally I documented the joyous occasions. I've been using the Professor lately. It's a humane, smart mouse trap from PETA. I like it because, unlike the Tin Mouse, it's transparent, it's easier to know when to open the door.

Benny didn't waste a second embracing freedom.

Tiny Tina was momentarily as interested in the lovely forest duff as getting away. Perhaps she is pregnant.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Money and the Muse

Interesting forces have aligned seemingly bent on challenging both the irrelevance and smug society of poetry. It is easy to dismiss the moment as a tempest in a martini glass. Perhaps the only thing that will change is the names but it is entertaining to watch the New Yorker show its teeth and the New York Times growl back as they defend their tarnished reputations for bringing poetry to the world. But one thing is certain, while they circle each other, the Poetry Foundation is hatching big plans for the still slumbering masses.

Ruth Lilly

But is all this fuss really just about the money, that pesky two hundred mil Ruth Lilly bequeathed Poetry Magazine? No. Something greater is at stake. We have forgotten how to listen. As a nation we are spiritually blind, morally bankrupt and leading the world into environmental ruin. It appears that the Poetry Foundation is invested with great power to encourage new voices and ways of seeing. I hope they stay humble. It is never a good idea to underestimate the mercy or tempt the wrath of the Muse.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Local news

Tuesday night

Bayonet clouds criss-crossed beneath a lopsided yoke of a moon and a dog driving through the deserted middle of town with his head out the window barking.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Poetry money

A few years ago Poetry Magazine inherited some two hundred million dollars from heiress Ruth Lilly (Lilly Pharmaceuticals). Ruth was an eccentric recluse, a bit like Howard Hughes, but instead of airplanes she doted on poetry. Over the years she even occasionally, anonymously, submitted some of her own work to the magazine but it was always rejected. Founded by Harriet Monroe at the beginning of the twentieth century, the journal has high standards:

"The Open Door will be the policy of this magazine—may the great poet we are looking for never find it shut, or half-shut, against his ample genius! To this end the editors hope to keep free from entangling alliances with any single class or school. They desire to print the best English verse which is being written today, regardless of where, by whom, or under what theory of art it is written. Nor will the magazine promise to limit its editorial comments to one set of opinions."
—Harriet Monroe, 1912

The Poetry Foundation was established in a bit of a scramble when the magazine received its unfettered fortune but they took the flying leap that only money can buy. According to its chairman John Barr, Poetry Foundation has become a proper "bully pulpit". Self-described "real moguls", the Foundation's CEOs decided to invest in themselves first, the trickle down formula favored by most captains of industry. The first thing they're doing is building themselves a glorious headquarters from which to operate.

Men who previously avoided being associated with poetry's riffraff image have decided to spiff it up, monetize it, supersize it, glamorize it, mass market it. I suppose that sooner or later it had to happen. Whether or not I agree with their approach, I agree things are in a sad state. I don't know about you, but personally I can't stand the gassy narcissism that currently passes for poetry.

The moguls have plunked it all down on red. It's a stiff bet. Harriet Moore brought T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, and Ezra Pound and others to light. The Foundation plans to better that and up the ante. They plan to launch a Renaissance. Naturally skeptics predict the Foundation will merely do the expected ... establish a royal court, anoint an inner circle and reign over it gloriously until the whole scene implodes under the weight of its own vanity. Who knows? I do like their new website. It has some interesting pages such as Dispatches: News. Refreshing. So many writer's circles and publishing houses have their wagons ringed up tight and the only stories they tell around the campfire are about themselves.

When the money arrived, Poetry Magazine's then editor relinquished his post to head up the newly formed Foundation but didn't long survive the surge of bullies like John Barr from Wall Street. Christian Wiman is its new editor. I met him not long after he took the job. He came to Nevada to be the keynote speaker for a writer's conference I peripherally helped put together. I liked him. He seemed very grounded, open and unimpressed with himself. He critiqued one of my poems. I'm not much into things like writer's conferences and don't run around courting people's opinions about my writing so, other than the fact that I am an incurable showoff, I didn't expect much. To my relief, he didn't offer "advice". He simply challenged the need for the final stanza. When I wrote it I knew I had flinched so I very much appreciated his astuteness. I hope he continues to stick to the code. And I hope the Foundation knows what it is. We all know money talks but can it, will it, walk? Guess we'll see. Anyway, they've made some nicely designed broadsides available at Dispatches: Gallery for the Fridge Archive. Go on. Download one. Spread the word. Poetry's baaaaaaaaack.

H.R. 249 - Protection for wild horses and burros

Below is a forwarded letter from the Humane Society of the United States. Just got it. I know I've asked you to call before and collectively we've gotten the bill this far. Wednesday is the next hurdle. Please call again. It takes minutes. Easy number look-up here. There's a little script included below if you want an idea of what to say. Please do it. Video here, if you need more information. Warning: graphic material.

HSUS forward:
On Wednesday, March 7, a federal bill (H.R. 249) to restore protections for wild horses from commercial sale and slaughter will be brought up for a vote in the House Natural Resources Committee. Your U.S. Representative needs to hear from supporters of the bill. Please take action and help this important bill clear its next hurdle.

Call your Representative today and express your support for restoring protection for our wild horses and burros from commercial sale and slaughter. Their lives depend on our success.

Congress originally passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971 to protect our wild horses, but in 2004 this protection was gutted. In a midnight maneuver by then-Senator Conrad Burns (Mont.). He slipped a few unnoticed lines into a massive spending bill, overturning 30 years of protections for wild horses and burros. Senator Burns was booted from office last November and it's time to win these protections back.

Please make a brief polite phone call to your Representative today. It's easy. Numbers here. Just say is something like:

"Hello, my name is [your name] and I am a constituent from [your city]. I strongly support H.R. 249, the legislation to restore protection for our wild horses and burros from commercial sale and slaughter. It will be considered this week by the Natural Resources Committee. Please give it you support. We must provide permanent protection for America's wild horses and burros. Thank you."

Now that you've done your good deed for the day, here's a fun little video of not-so-wild burros.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sunday dreamin'

My grandfather used to talk to himself, a lot. I could never make out what he was saying. All I heard was a steady stream of whispers mixed in with his breath. As a kid I worried that it might be a family trait. I do talk to myself sometimes but I'm still not as bad as Grandpa Chance.

For instance, when I'm writing I often speak the words out loud first. Take the sentence I just wrote, and the one I'm writing now. I said them both out loud as I composed them. I'm quiet now but actually, by the time I typed out the first 3 words of this sentence, they were no longer true. I thought the words "I'm quiet now" decided to write them without speaking them so they would be true in real time, but as I typed them I spontaneously said them out loud and muttered "typed it out" while I typed that. There's a peak into my head, in case you wanted one but were afraid to ask.

And, while I'm on the subject, I might as well admit that I did mutter to myself this morning, something to the effect of, "Humans are a violent, greedy, predator species; carnivores who fancy having a unique, divine nature and personal relationship with a god who likes them better than everybody else and doesn't mind if they torture and/or kill the rest of his family."

It is Sunday morning and I am off to a rocking start. Minutes after I got online I found myself watching a video of soldiers in the Islamic Army inspecting a helicopter they just downed and executing the sole survivor, probably a Blackwater contractor. Then I watched Anna Nicole's funeral procession in the Bahamas, and videos of several other totally unrelated events, although their disparate nature actually underscores just how prone we humans are to self-undoing. My ricochet tour brought me back to the question I pondered aloud in the shower earlier this morning. Can we, as a species, survive our own precocious narcissism long enough to wake the fuck up? Then I found the following gritty view of hope. Now I'm off for second cup of coffee while I've still got a chance of a day. Bon matin, mon ami!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Jed's Other Poem

Even if you don't like poetry you might like this video poem or, if you've already seen it, might enjoy seeing it again. It's that kind of thing. It was made by a very interesting guy named Stewart. The music is by Grandaddy. Warning. Their site opens with music.

"Jeddy-3 the humanoid was assembled in the kitchen out of spare parts. Before Jed's system died he wrote poems. Poems for no one." more history here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Jimmy Mouse stayed at the Hotel Nevada last night. I didn't discover him until late yesterday afternoon, too late in the day to release him, too cold. Temperatures what they are right now, it would be a big drag to suddenly find yourself homeless at the end of the day. It's supposed be sunny through the weekend though so he'll have a running start on finding a nice comfy new home by the meadow pond. We found our last guest at the hotel dead in the corner as though he were trying to dig himself out when he expired. It was very sad. We forgot the lid was down. We're very careful now. Once the trap is set we check it at least once a day. We don't want innocent creatures to suffer. We like happy endings for our guests, like Fatty Leland. Jimmy Mouse did okay too, although he didn't seem all that eager to face the big world. I don't blame him. He's a pretty tiny fellow. I hated to see him go but, as I understand it, field mice don't do well in captivity.

Books I found at the second hand store today.

This one I bought. This one I just photographed the cover.