28 September 2009

Drinking Water

28 September 09

The recent article about drinking water in the NY Times was illuminating and troubling; an occulted legacy of the Bush administrations. We have been so lucky in this country with our seemingly bottomless water resource, which of course has led to squandering. And the Bush cabal set about dismantling regulations and oversight, a combination that has led to a precarious future. One of the examples cited was in West Virginia, where coal companies have been permitted to dispose of coal slurry (the highly toxic mixture of chemicals and water used to wash coal) in old mine shafts. Lo and behold, suddenly the neighbors are getting skin rashes when they shower and diseases if they drink the water. Of course one sympathizes with these people, but my immediate question is: how did they vote? Bush came in with the promise to do exactly what he did: dismantle regulation and get government off the back of business. Wake up. Another coal related water travesty in WV is the permitting of coal companies to dump the mountain-top that is removed in “mountain-top removal mining” into the valley adjacent, thus burying the stream there. In an era of increasing water scarcity, we are letting these mining operations bury pristine streams. Go figure.

Read the story.

01 September 2009


30 August 2009

What happened in Florence? Between 1450 and 1550, the world changed, and our way of seeing and representing the world would never be the same. In the Third Man, Graham Greene wrote, "You know what the fellow said - in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." Standing in front of Michaelangelo’s David is a lesson in humility, and not because he is so large… It’s the perfection that staggers, and the artistic license taken by the artist. Interestingly, though created by an Italian, the face is clearly Greek (reminds one of operas written in Italian by Germans). His head is too large, but it feels right; our man knew that it would be viewed with awe from below. The shoulders and torso I would kill for, the arms too. But the hands struck me the most - far too large for the rest of the body, but captivatingly perfect: these are the hands that slew the monster Goliath. His posture is relaxed with immeasurable grace and strength, but of course, he had just killed the beast that had terrorized the army, and he was just a boy. Of course the real grace and genius was that of the artist, the man who knew he was a god, the best in the world, able to create something so beautiful and perfect that 500 years later, we marvel, knowing that nothing will ever equal it. What drove this revolution in a town in the middle of Italy? How did Michaelangelo come to be?