Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Seattle, a blinding orb appears. We're asking, Is this the Second Coming?

The sky turns blue. Are we doomed?
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
--Lifted in total from W. B. Yeats' 1919 masterpiece. Some think it's about World War I. In Seattle, more than 6 hours of sunshine gets us thinking of the Apocalypse.

Bill Cosby: "In Seattle, they think the sun is evil."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fly fishing in the heart of London? Watch out!

What's more funny here, the guy's outfit or the comments by Londoners as this guy flicks a fly? Courtesy of YouTube.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Diane Simmons new book: "Little America"

Journalists are shaped by what they read, but even more by those they watch.

In my career as a journalist, I observed outstanding talents: Emmett Watson, Barry Farrell, Dick Larsen, Bill Prochnau, Tim Egan, David Horsey and many others. In my first permanent job at a now-shuttered daily in suburban Bellevue, Washington, I spent a summer across from a young writer named Diane Simmons. I watched her cover schools with a speed, skill and smarts that deepened my understanding of what journalism should do.

As a smarty pants just out of college with vain notions of producing Joycean prose for an awaiting world, I thought my job was to write well and get famous. My goal was to move on to a bigger paper. The community was the topic and I would see people for what they were.

Diane brought a maturity to her work. She wrote stylishly and prolifically, as that newspaper's brash talents strived to do. But she also brought diligence to the seemingly small stuff. She knew that, while not every reader would follow her expose of a school district snafu or a witty feature on some personality, parents would certainly pay attention to what the cafeteria was feeding their kids that week. Diane understood that a newspaper existed to serve its readers. She didn't think a school menu was beneath her definition of news. She cared about her audience and minded details.

In 1980, Diane Simmons's first novel came out. "Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark" told the story of terrorists shutting down a power station in Fairbanks, Alaska. Afterwards, Diane  left Seattle and moved to New York for a career as a college professor and fiction writer. She's done well.

Her latest book is "Little America," a prize-winning collection of short stories.