31 May 2008


the hurricane season officially begins tomorrow---

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic season, formed Saturday near the coast of Belize but was already over land and was expected to weaken later in the day, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

fresh bread



pretty great: two mockingbirds hopping around on my balcony railing, 13 floors up--first there was just one, and then another one joined him/her--- didn't stay long after the dog spotted them and started into his stalking routine---they're young, still a little brownish, and probably the offspring of the birds which were nesting down near the marta station and giving passersby so much grief----the only other time i've seen a bird out there was not long after i moved here and it, too, was a mockingbird---maybe one of the parents now----

30 May 2008

equality watch redux

a great discussion here of the legal implications of the stupid federal "defense of marriage act," which a goddam democrat (that would be clinton) signed and which, like the equally stupid georgia constitutional amendment, had nothing to do with outlawing, say, fornication or anything else that had to do with the straight world's crumbling marriages----here is a great piece on the huge legal mess that has ensued---

As many people have remarked, these holdings are immensely significant for reasons that go beyond the issue of marriage. The California Supreme Court is one of the most respected courts in the country and is fairly conservative on many issues, with six of the seven members having been appointed by Republican governors.

With this ruling, it is the first state supreme court to hold that antigay discrimination is inherently constitutionally suspect (i.e. that it provokes "strict scrutiny"), and the first to recognize the fundamental right to marry as one that includes same-sex couples.

29 May 2008


the euphorbia blooms all the time, but the one of a gazillion species of mammillaria that there are that i have there on the right only does its thing once a year----this time one of the several baby mammillarii around the base is starting to bloom and another looks like it might be budding----

equality watch

watch the video, even if you find o'reilly to be a generally disgusting human being:

You know the fight against marriage equality has been lost when even Bill O'Reilly has run out of legitimate reasons to oppose it. So has his guest Don Schweitzer who can't seem to come up with anything either, and he's against it!
he doesn't even try to give reasons to oppose it---just keeps pushing for reasons from his guest that go beyond religion----"and you haven't shown us any tonight"----when o'reilly starts talking like that, you know for sure some stuff has changed----

27 May 2008

26 May 2008

olden times

a view of the margaret mitchell house in the spring of 1987----and another in 1988 after the buildings in front of it (which were there when mitchell was living in the building) were torn down---twelve years ago about this time, the house had just burned down for the second time and i was wondering what i was going to do with all of that furniture----


is barack muslim?

25 May 2008


this morning

stumpy at the park


the lane brothers collection at gsu is just so good----this is a view south of margaret mitchell square, peachtree at pryor, st. patrick's day, 1950---

24 May 2008


bob dylan turned 67 yestertiddy

22 May 2008


so mccain just disowned the "rev." hagee, who has assumed falwell's position as the most odious preacher alive-----and rod parsley, too---- i think he's just lost the election since a whole bunch of christianists will either stay home or vote for bob barr-------

construction continued

they've started putting skin on the palomar

21 May 2008

st. helena's island

st. helena's island, southeast of beaufort, is the site of penn school and of this excellent ruin----during the colonial period, several parish churches established "chapels of ease" at outlying locations so that planters and their families could attend services without a long boat and wagon ride to town---this was a chapel of ease established by st. helena's church in beaufort---a tabby structure built around 1740 to serve several of the sea island plantations in that area----it became an independent episcopal church after the revolution but was destroyed by a wild fire in the 1880s---there is a grave yard around the ruins, but all of the graves had been vandalized, including a magnificent egyptian-revival mausoleum built in 1852 for edgar fripp---it was described in 1876 as "a fine affair, and it did not have to wait very long for its occupants, edgar and wife. the yankees broke it open during the war, hoping for treasure. it is now somewhat out of order"----

the low country

just back from beaufort (which they pronounce like "bu-fort" with a long "u"), south carolina, and a part of the low country between savannah and charleston that i had never seen before---saw the wilds of hilton head for the first time (like peachtree city on steroids at the beach), which, at least, is not the blight upon the face of the earth that is, for instance, nags head on the outer banks---local communities, including the town of hilton head, have had the foresight to preserve at least some of the area from development, but the best is hunting island, most of which is a south carolina state park built by the ccc in the late 1930s---wonderful mix of loblolly pine, liveoak, and palmetto palm, five miles of beach and said to be one of best birding habitats in the country----

17 May 2008


i didn't know how much stuff the atlanta history center has on line---it's all got their logo across it but it's still a great resource---at left is a view north on peachtree from just south of peachtree place---and below that is lenox square when it was still an open-air mall (greenbriar, which opened in 1966, was the area's first enclosed mall)---

another voice from the past

walt whitman in 1890


16 May 2008

another old building

actually the georgia tech foundation described it as a "1950s industrial building" when they applied for a demolition permit---it's the crum & forster building, constructed in 1927 on the east side of spring street between fourth and fifth----an insurance company founded in 1896, this was the first of their regional hdqtrs., designed by atlanta architects ivey & crook, who also designed lullwater, the olympia building, decatur first baptist, and a bunch of other buildings---ivey was in the first graduating class of georgia tech's new school of architecture in 1911, and news of the proposed demolition has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the school----the outcry may save the building since it has no historic district protection----

15 May 2008

. . . with liberty and justice for all.

yippeee! the california supreme court has overturned their law against gay marriage and ordered it into effect in 30 days----the homophobic wingnuts (which is not entirely redundant) are going on about the court usurping the will of the people, blah, blah, blah, overlooking the facts that the legislature voted for gay marriage not once but twice and that gov. arnie supports the rule and is against the anti-gay constitutional amendment that may go on the ballot this november----whatever, they won't be able to stop a ton of marriages between now and then, and not just in the state, as was the case in mass., but allowing couples from all over---and it was a republican court that made the ruling---and no mealy-mouth platitudes from the big people either----pelosi said,

"I welcome the California Supreme Court’s historic decision. I have long fought against discrimination and believe that the State Constitution provides for equal treatment for all of California’s citizens and families, which today’s decision recognizes. I commend the plaintiffs from San Francisco for their courage and commitment. I encourage California citizens to respect the Court’s decision, and I continue to strongly oppose any ballot measure that would write discrimination into the State Constitution. Today is a significant milestone for which all Californians can take pride."

Between all that and the republican party freaking out over three consecutive losses in special elections for the u.s. house, well, it's enough to make one think that the wheel has finally turned-------

14 May 2008

high places

climbed clingmans dome this morning----6,643 ft above sea level---in eastern north america, only mt. mitchell and mt. craig, also in north carolina, are taller-----blowing and cold, but you could see forever from the top of the 54'-high observation tower built in 1959----enjoyed the peace and quiet just in time, since going back down, i passed two bus loads of chirren noisly making their way to the top-----it was spring in the valleys, but still half-winter up in the air----like the hemlocks at lower elevations, the fraser fir at the higher elevation are being killed by an imported pest, a wooly aphid that has killed 70% of the mature trees in the park in the last 30 years-----

more bow wow wow

this is hilarious:

"The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they'd take it off the shelf," said retiring Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who chaired the NRCC for four years earlier this decade.

and john edwards is finally endorsing obama----woo woo

13 May 2008


a wonderful part of the forests in the mountains are the eastern hemlocks----from a distance their dark green, almost black needles are an excellent contrast to the oaks and other hardwoods---and there's nothing quite so magical as the deep shade of old-growth hemlock----but now they are being decimated by the hemlock wooly adelgid, which is sorta like an aphid----they suck the life out of the trees, which are now dying all up and down the appalachians----they have had some success with beetles, but with hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness, there is no way to treat all the trees----

new views

up in the smokies this week, mighty nice coming over newfound gap, but i'm staying in gatlinburg, which is a wretched place with more crappola per square foot than any other place in the universe---walking down the street, i overheard some woman opining that she liked it since there was "more to do than in cherokee"---she probly loves pigeon forge and the outlet malls
---on the other hand my hotel room overlooks the creek, so i get nice white noise, not unlike the whir of air-conditioning compressors at the fda across the street from metropolis----

08 May 2008

religious toleration

from the treaty of tripoli, 1797---it would not pass the senate today, but it was approved unanimously then:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
presumably it's still in force---


some wonderful images from natl geographic---this is glen canyon, showing parts of it that haven't been visible since the lake was filled over forty years ago---

"the bigot in your brain"

a great article from scientific american---pretty much catches all that i have ever thought about race, although the actual studies that back it all up are fascinating---and i know exactly what jesse is talking about:

"There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson once told an audience, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jackson’s remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse—for example, that a black stranger might harm us but a white one probably would not—can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.

while you are at it, you might as well read another one in the same vein: "how harvard students perceive rednecks"

07 May 2008

cape lookout

we're starting the planning for rehab of the lighthouse so they can open it to the public----built in 1859 to replace one built in 1812---169' tall and 216 steps to the top, which i climbed four times yesterday----the last time was a bit of a chore, but it wasn't like a couple of years ago when i could barely make it to the top of bodie island light one time-----of course great views of the atlantic, the cape itself---the shoals arc out to the left in these images, with the bight on the right----the shoals stretch out for 15 or 20 miles and were actually just as dangerous, if not more so, as diamond shoals at cape hatteras----

tormenta eléctrica en erupción del volcán chaitén.

let's go to chile

03 May 2008

the park

it was a fine afternoon in the park yesterday, especially fine for treeing the squirrels, which guinness thinks is a great accomplishment----but there won't be any festivals in the park this year, which i still think is an over-reaction to the drought, which now seems to be abating----the place never looked as parched and brown as one might think it would be, given the city's decision to close it to some of the city's biggest festivals----there are plenty of people that would like to keep it that way, continuing the de facto privatization of our parks