Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Crow by Boria Sax

I found this book at random looking at the library shelves. It's part of a really cool animal series by British publisher Reaktion Books. A look at this animal (actually corvids in general: crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies, rooks, etc.) in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Europe, Asia, American, and Native American cultures. It's a bit like Barry Lopez' Of Wolves & Men but not nearly so deep. Jim Crow, scarecrows, and a thousand stories involving crows. A cool book. In his musing on the Hebrew bible: "If we think of the Ark as a grand experiment in the domestication of animals, perhaps the story of Noah and the raven records the inability of certain animals to follow human direction." (34)

I've been watching crows recently. Despite their urban ubiquity, I hadn't really thot of them as more than an annoyance to me when I was in high school and I wanted to sleep in and they wouldn't let me with their incessant cawing from the birch trees 50 feet from my ears. So, the more I watch, and now having read this, I realize the brilliance of this species. When he set out to study ravens, Bernd Heinrich was warned by his advisor "Ravens...are smarter than you are, and it will take you years to outwit them enough so that you can begin to get meaningful data." (Ravens in Winter 59) I think I know what he means.

And, I'm now going to read "Has Success Spoiled the Crow?" by David Quammen.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, & Revolution by Derrick Jensen

a brief review:

Thru a recollection of teaching sessions at Eastern Washington University and Pelican Bay State Prison; Jensen explores love, regrets, identity, authority, the unsustainability of industrial civilization, and coercion in teaching. This all done with humor and grace. A truly inspirational book without a touch of sentimentality.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Secret of Castle Cant by K.P. Bath

<>a brief review

The Barony of Cant is too small to appear on most maps and so it remains isolated from the rest of the world, including the corrupting influences of technology beyond the 17th century of Europe. Charming and odd Lucy Wickwright gets into trouble when her mistress drags her into a prank involving dirty laundry, a catapult, and a public square. Lucy is obedient, to a fault sometimes, so when she gets involved in the Cause which seeks to liberate the Barony of oppression by stopping the chewing of gum, she follows orders well. But who can blame the niece of Hock Tooey.