Friday, September 14, 2012

Mover of Mountains

Photo courtesy Flickr

A rare day spent in a private vehicle took me through a neighborhood I hadn’t seen in several years. Waiting at a stoplight, I watched a tiny, stooped Asian elder trot slowly across the street carrying two big plastic trash bags of goods in the traditional way: slung at either end of a pole and hoisted onto a shoulder.

One of the secrets of living elegantly in 2012 is to use contemporary technology to recreate traditional practice. The elder’s fiberglass pole and plastic bags replaced what might have been a good ten pounds of coopered buckets and tree limb.

Not a bad substitute for a $60 wheeled grocery basket or the $25,000 van we were riding in.

-30- More after the jump.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

She Who Watches

"She Who Watches" Hartstene Island petroglyph ca. Year 1.

Yesterday's story out of Libya provoked a breakfast conversation about the implications for a surveillance society, since apparently a cheap movie provoked embassy-level security consequences. That’s a good topic to discuss with an archaeologist who knows the local tribes. He said the whole world will become “Indian country”, where the old ladies keep an eye on everyone and everything all the time.

That sounds like the 1970 waterfront community of Greek families at Alki in Seattle, where resident grandfathers drank and played cards on the deck all day while they surveyed the beach.

Capitol Hill has been Indian country since 9/11. I walked out to fulfill my regular day about two hours after the story broke, and every street corner had a  civilian gentleman standing at attention. The guards kept to their posts for nearly a week. Since then, riding the bus has been an exercise in vigilance: erratic behavior draws instant notice.

Earlier this week I took a rare trip in a mini-van to a shopping mall. It is true, on the road one watches the car ahead, not other people. 

-30-  More after the jump.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Round Two

Photo courtesy Flickr

OK, I know it’s Seattle, and I know we live close to the top of a hill, but two weeks ago I listened to the dismayed voice of a man near New Orleans who said he and his family were trapped in their attic by rising water.

I’m going to store the axe upstairs.

-30- More after the jump.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bugging Out

Photo courtesy Flickr

A friend recently told me that his brother, a cardiologist, had lived in New York City not far from the World Trade Center. On 9/11, he realized what was happening, understood the implications of the clouds of dust, packed a bag, called the housekeeper, tossed him his keys, and boarded a plane to Switzerland.

There is much to be said and thought about the man’s actions, but his quick thinking and preparedness speak for themselves. 

-30-

More after the jump.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's A Zoo

Photo courtesy Flickr

And at least one day a couple of weeks ago, the zoo wasn’t what it used to be. No more bear slammers, no more parents walloping toddlers, a good latte’ and a comfortable place to sit out of the (theoretical) rain. Endless lush paths of mostly local foliage. Amusing souvenirs good for Christmas stockings. An acre or so of roses in fine bloom.

I might have caught Woodland Park on the best day ever.

-30-  More after the jump.