I hope you’ve had some nice sun today
January 31, 2016, 12:37 am
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , , ,

The city of Melbourne gave their trees email addresses so people could write in about problems like broken branches. But people used them to write little love missives. Here are some of the letters sent to trees:

To: Golden Elm, Tree ID 1037148

21 May 2015

I’m so sorry you’re going to die soon. It makes me sad when trucks damage your low hanging branches. Are you as tired of all this construction work as we are?


To: Green Leaf Elm, Tree ID 1022165  

29 May 2015

Dear Green Leaf Elm,

I hope you like living at St. Mary’s. Most of the time I like it too. I have exams coming up and I should be busy studying. You do not have exams because you are a tree. I don’t think that there is much more to talk about as we don’t have a lot in common, you being a tree and such. But I’m glad we’re in this together.



To: Willow Leaf Peppermint, Tree ID 1357982

29 January 2015

Willow Leaf Peppermint, Tree ID 1357982

Hello Mr Willow Leaf Peppermint, or should I say Mrs Willow Leaf Peppermint?

Do trees have genders?

I hope you’ve had some nice sun today.




When You Give a Tree an Email Address, The Atlantic

March 20, 2016

My birthday, and Lisa and I met at her apartment in the slope, put scissors, string, pens, index cards and tape in cloth bags, put on our coats and set out for the park. Across the street, past the park gates, by the mansion house, across West Drive, the Picnic House, down the hill, and onto the knoll ringed by huge oaks, where we lay on our backs and conjured thoughts of friendship with the towering beauties. Then we wrote quick poems – Lisa’s is below – and tied them to two trees, one oak in the circle on the knoll, and the second the Orange Osage tree in the meadow to the east. A beautiful day. I asked Lisa the week following, had she been in the park and seen the poems? She said she had the very next day, but the poems had been removed.

tree twotree one

Ahh to be a cloud above the

Osage Orange


whose craggy orange bark

and limbs bring

shelter to actors

like you and me.

The Prospect Park Players

their director, cast and crew

composed of rabbits, otters, possums,

and the occasional shrew or two

bring us plays of great

renown  each June, July

and August!

We hope to see you a

few months hence, bring

a chair and a sandwich

and your good sense.

-Lisa S.



Sea Stills Ray Collins
January 30, 2016, 11:50 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: ,

George lived here
January 24, 2016, 9:32 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

January 18, 2016, 12:22 am
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si ja oui hai da
January 17, 2016, 7:42 pm
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the people who said no
January 4, 2016, 10:00 pm
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Pasolini had a lot of enemies because, as he explained to a journalist just before his violent death, he based his life on refusal – which he said had to be total -: of political ideology, power, inequality, institutions, etc. Probably he died at the hands of one enemy or another; his murder was never solved. His refusal of power was a cry for life in a milieu of death; his cries made significant change but the milieu is too powerful and he was snuffed out.

On the last day of his life, Pasolini was asked by a journalist why he fought battles against “so many things, institutions, persuasions, people, and powers.” Rejection, Pasolini replied, is the shaping force of society. “The saints, the hermits, the intellectuals… the ones that shaped history, are the people who said no. This refusal should not be small or sensible but large and total.” From all these refusals, we know what Pasolini stood against—political ideologies of all kinds, the complacency inherent in the established social order, the corruption of the institutions of church and state. If Pasolini could be said to have stood for anything it was for the struggles of Italy’s working class—both the rural peasants and those barracked in the urban slums at the edges of Italian cities—whose humanity he evoked with great eloquence and nuance. But it is his refusals that animate his legacy with an incandescent rage, a passionate and profound fury that did not, as Zigaina suggests, cry out for death—but for just the opposite.

The Passion of Pasolini by Nathaniel Rich

Witnesses and voyeurs

As a witness you appear to care, you keep your hands clean, your conscience clear, and make a quiet profit on the pictures and the text. But there can be a fine line between the measured distance of a witness and a the compromised emotionalism of a voyeur.

Does writing do any good? Does documentary photography do any good? More specifically,  does the kind of writing and photography that examines the lives of people less fortunate than the writer or photographer change those lives  for the better?
Anyone with an ordinary share of fellow feeling who has ever interviewed or taken a picture of, say, a beggar in London or a flood victim in Bangladesh has asked this question of him or herself, and sometimes the moral answer that marches upright back – oh yes, I am doing good – is no more than a desperate attempt at conscience salving, there to excuse the original intrusion and the essay, the book, or the exhibition that might profitably follow, usually at some distance, socially and/or geographically, from the intruded-upon, the people who are portrayed. Documentarists like to describe their role using the dignified word ‘witness’, but, tilting your wine glass at a launch party in a publishing house or a gallery and tut-tutting half-heartedly at pictures from a refugee camp, you may be forgiven for wondering if there is any real difference between witnesses and voyeurs. Nor, these days, do many of them have much truck with Marx’s dictum of 1845: ‘ the philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. ‘

Ian Jack, Introduction, Granta: Bad Company

the fab anthropocene
January 3, 2016, 3:33 pm
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes | Tags:

outdoor adventures with philosophy

Part of the process of generating the precariat comes from dumbing down the educational system. The game is to maximise profits, by maximising ‘throughput’. In the United Kingdom, hundreds of publicly funded university courses provide academic qualifications even though the subjects are non-academic. The Taxpayer’s Alliance in 2007 identified 401 such ‘non-courses’, including a BA Honours Degree in ‘outdoor adventure with philosophy’, offered at University College Plymouth St Mark and Saint John […]

From Guy Standing’s The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (found on Spurious)

The precariat is a new mass class produced by the globalized world economy characterized by uncertainty and insecurity (Guy Standing).

only the swift
January 3, 2016, 12:39 am
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes | Tags: ,

The brave new world of Tony Blair (admittedly some years out of date), with evidences of fascism: traditionless, intolerant of the so-called weak, rejection of authority and knowledge, and also of rules and protocols, the strong man takes all. It’s a wagon train galloping west guns blazing. Yeehaw!:

The character of this changing world is indifferent to tradition. Unforgiving of frailty. No respecter of past reputations. It has no custom and practice. It is replete with opportunities, but they only go to those swift to adapt, slow to complain, open, willing and able to change.

Tony Blair, 2005 speech