BOOKS ON REVIEW … I love reading. And I manage to sneak a few good ones in among all the political reading that I have to wade through – reports, memos, journals, background. It’s the reading load, as much as the traveling, that takes up so much time in politics from my perspective. But I love being able to effect real change, as well as write poetry screeds dreaming of change. The trade-off is that my reading is far more circumscribed than I would like … So, no long reviews. But let me just mention, over the next few weeks, a few of the good books I’ve read of late … Michael P. Cohen is a good friend and environmental writing teacher, now retired in Reno, Nev., who wrote one of the great accounts of the real godfather of the American environmental movement, The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1984) … It’s a biography, so we learn how Muir moved from Midwestern machine invention to deep love and curiosity for the natural world of the west coast, how his father’s severe religious focus led to a religious reverence in his son for mountains and rivers, and how Muir birthed “the pathless way”: (sauntering in religious awe in unroaded nature) and found his “glacial eye” – how exploring his beloved Yosemite taught him to see ages back in time as he reflected on the present landscape … Cohen does a masterful job of bringing us along with Muir in his discoveries and insights, and showing how his time in the wilds led him to become an apostle of wilderness in the larger society, both as a writer and an activist. It is a dazzling journey that takes us deep in the mind and works of one of the country’s greatest visionaries. In no way dated, The Pathless Way is a masterpiece of American environmental writing. Highly recommended.
WEEKLY QUOTA … “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” -Plato, ancient Greek philosopher (428/427-348/347 BPE)
FIRST TAKE … Got a couple interesting publications in the mail recently … Meena2 is a bilingual Arabic/English arts and literary journal out of New Orleans, published by friend Andy Young and her partner Khaled Hegazzi … Meena means “port” in Arabic and the mag seeks “to create more, and varied, dialogue as it is clear that we need ports-of-entry now more than ever.” Their second issue sports fine work by Charlie Simic and Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mafouz, who passed away this past summer. Go to their website to get a copy, www.meenamag.com … And another old friend, Padma Thornlyre, has come out with a marvelous little chapbook of poems by his young daughter, Circe Morganna, and himself, Sometimes, Grace Goes Cuckoo (Mad Blood Editions, Evergreen, 2006). Both of their poems resonate for me, the father of several children. This is the perfect book to give to someone starting a family. And it’s a very affordable $5 … For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org COLORADO DREAMIN’ … Up in Portland I was directed to a new kind of 7/11 gas station/convenience store combo, a SeQuential biofuels center – with biodiesel options, ethanol formulas, organic coffee, sinful baked goods, healthy snack foods and earth-friendly essentials … Of course, it was a hopeful needle in a conventional petroleum haystack. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring something like that to Colorado? … For more info on the company, visit. www.sqbiofuels.com, or, to contact to a real person, try Ciara Hall, retail manager for the station I visited (there’s a string of them in Oregon and by now maybe Washington) at 866/978-3210, email@example.com.
SAD FACT … “On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. That's about what an SUV generates in a month.” -USA Today, Dec. 18, 2006
GOP … Nope, these aren’t just the initials for a scandal-ridden political party. The GOP we’re talking about stands for the Global Orgasm Project. It’s a plan to promote world peace through ecstasy … Anti-war activists Paul Reffell and Donna Sheehan planned their latest peace-making project – the synchronized global orgasm – for solstice day, Dec. 22. Which means you missed it this year. But next year … Go to www.globalorgasm.org for more info.