Saturday, March 29, 2014

Digging Deep | America Magazine

My mother -  from whom I learned the love of language -  sent me this beautiful tribute to Seamus Heaney by a parish priest, born in Ireland, now serving in poor Camden, New Jersey.  I've posted the ending below but it's worth reading from the beginning, so click through to it.  Ireland is still a place where masses mourn a poet, and a poet can be President.  - gwc

Remembering Seamus Heaney, weaver of words

His poem “Requiem for the Croppies” touches on the tragic losses suffered by the Irish people in the 1798 insurrection for independence. Here are a few lines:

The pockets of our great coats full of barley—
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
They buried us without shroud or coffin,
And in August—the barley grew up out of our grave
This poem inspired the peace monument that parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish in Camden, N.J., one of America’s poorest cities, erected in 2009, at a busy intersection near our church. I was honored that they’d chosen it to mark the golden jubilee of my ordination. (I serve as pastor there.) The monument is eight feet high, a huge open seed with the kernel, PEACE, in large letters within it. The base is the earth with barley growing up, and hands reaching up out of it to broken weapons.
“I am moved to know that ‘Requiem for the Croppies’ figures in the peace monument,” Seamus Heaney wrote to us.
Heaney’s last words were written in a text to Marie, his wife, moments before he died: Noli timere (Don’t be afraid). It is good advice for those of us still on this side of the grave. This past fall, I made the journey to St. Mary’s Church and its graveyard, where he lies under the fresh green sod of Bellaghy. His grave is in a corner, under an ash and a sycamore tree. An old wall on two sides has ivy on the unmortared stones, holding their own. It is near the tombstone of Christopher and his parents. I poured blessed water from the Sacred Heart church in Camden on his grave, which will be a destination of inspiration for centuries. It is a place to recall his words:
History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
Rev. Michael Doyle, a native of Longford, Ireland, is pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Camden, N.J.

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The Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan Bridge

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Philippe Petit vs. James Brady - tight rope walk or jump from the WTC

Not that they were competing but James Brady and his buddies who jumped from the new WTC tower inevitably invoke comparison with Philippe Petit's tight rope walk between the two towers.  The accomplishment of Petite is unfathomable.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Chesapeake Homecoming -

Twelve years ago Travis Croxton and his cousin Ryan took over the family oyster beds in Virginia.  Business is booming. on the  Rappahannock -gwc

A Chesapeake Homecoming -


by Julia Moskin

TOPPING, Va. — When Travis and Ryan Croxton first went to New York City in 2004 to market their homegrown oysters, one of the few seafood places they had heard of was Le Bernardin, so naturally they just showed up with a cooler at the kitchen door.
“We really Forrest Gumped it,” said Travis, 39. “We had no idea what we were doing.”
Chesapeake oysters were so rare then that the chefs wanted to try them on the spot. But neither Croxton, both of whom had master’s degrees, knew how to shuck an oyster. “Finally the chef took it out of my hands and did it himself,” Travis said.
Oysters had almost disappeared from the Chesapeake Bay when the Croxtons, first cousins and co-owners of theRappahannock Oyster Company, graduated from college. And after decades of bad news about pollution, silt, disease and overfishing in the bay, many locals wouldn’t eat them raw. “A whole generation of Virginians grew up without virginicas,” said Peter Woods, the chef at Merroir, the Croxtons’ oyster bar here, where the Rappahannock River empties into the bay. “For oyster roasts, oyster stuffing, all these traditions, you just couldn’t get your hands on them.”

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Following in Dylan Thomas's Wake

The Boathouse where Dylan Thomas lived
Dylan Thomas died when I was eight - in 1953.  A hopeless drunk, he inspired us with his call to his father: Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.  I kept the New Directions paperback edition of his poems near me and loved the radio play Under Milk Wood which we staged at the Fenwick Theater at Holy Cross.
The tides and topography of Wales call me still - though I've never been there.  Ondine Cohane did take those steps, Following in Dylan Thomas's Wake:

Climbing along a steep coastal path through a forest in southern Wales, with russet red and tawny brown autumn leaves crunching beneath my feet, I reached a crest where the trailhead looked back onto a long estuary lined with salt flats. The River Taf ran through the headlands before me, its glacier-cut course unmistakable alongside the grass-covered cliffs on either side. The sea spread out before me, a moody canvas of blues and gray. White-topped gorse and cherry-red currant bushes gave color to my panorama, the plaintive chorus of sea birds the only soundtrack.
I’d come to Wales, and to this spot specifically, to follow in the footsteps of Dylan Thomas, the Welsh-born poet who made this walk famous in his 1944 “Poem in October.”
inside the shed where Dylan Thomas wrote daily

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is fitbit fit to use?

I'm a convert to.  The Fitbit gives me a goal.  I like that it spurs me to get my 10,000 steps/day. - gwc
Tracking fitness one step at a time
by Carl Bialik

I’ve become a skeptical convert to step-counters. Though they produce imperfect data, some information is better than none at all. And if they give me credit for taking steps when I’m actually sitting down but, say, clapping or pumping my fists? Well, sitting and clapping is better than just sitting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Charlie Porter, an Adventurer Who Reshaped Climbing, Is Dead at 63 -

Charlie Porter, solo, Baffin Island, 1975.
He ran out of food and hiked back 10 days on frostbitten feet.
He climbed El Capitan solo; Mt. Asgard on Baffin Island, and kayaked around Cape Horn - an island.  Dead of a heart attack at 63 at his home on the Beagle Channel in Patagonia, Argentina. - GWC

Charlie Porter, an Adventurer Who Reshaped Climbing, Is Dead at 63 -

When Charlie Porter showed up in the Yosemite Valley in the early 1970s and started forging new climbing routes up the famously imposing monolithic rock wall known as El Capitan, he was something of a mystery man, a stranger to the clubby group of mostly Californians who had made Yosemite the center of the climbing world.
He was from the East somewhere — Massachusetts, it turned out — and he had not grown up in the sport the way just about every other accomplished climber had, but his skills seemed otherworldly.

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9/11 - from space

taken from the International Space Station, 9/11/2001
by Astronaut Frank Culbertson

I first saw the towers after the second plane hit.  Watching from a Newark office building where I was representing a client in a Social Security disability hearing, I saw the second plume of smoke rising before it merged with the first, curving south in a light breeze against a clear blue sky. - gwc
The 9/11 attack seen from space, showing smoke drifting out over New York

Expanded search for Malaysian Jet

This map shows all  the landing places the Malaysian jet could reach from its last known position.  If they don't find it on the bottom of the sea or in a himalayan valley there will be nveer ending speculation.

Runways in range of MH370

Friday, March 14, 2014

Aww, c'mon. How about out like a lamb?

Aww, c'mon.
Sunday night, Monday, Monday night
Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%Light Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pescadotes: harrison lake and mt. katahdin

Pescadotes: harrison lake and mt. katahdin:

new from Joe Warren

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Stunning Time-Lapse Video Shows Rare Views of Yosemite

A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome -

The Williamsburg Savings Bank headquarters restored in Brooklyn.  The old WSB tower a mile away is still the tallest building in Brooklyn

A Landmark Restored, From Mosaic Marble Floor to Grand Dome -

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Coordinates match

MH370: Satellite images show possible crash debris in South China sea – live

Fr. Jack Alexander, S.J.

Fr.. Jack Alexander, S.J. moderator of the Brooklyn Prep Alumni Association and beloved former teacher has died, 90 years of age, at Murray Weigel Hall, Fordham, Bronx, NY.  He is an exemplar of that rare breed of men who foresaking family for celibacy dedicated his life to the service of others - particularly boys like me at Jesuit high schools who will always be grateful for the respect we were shown and the example he set.- GWC
fr. jack

Oil Rig Worker: I saw burning Malaysian plane

This guy knows how to make a report worthy of attention. - GWC
View image on Twitter
And his coordinates match the Chinese satellite's image of suspected debris.
Malaysia Airlines eye witness and debris comparison

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'll take Manhattan and Marble Hill too

So before the ship canal was blasted (where the blue "C" for Columbia is painted on a rock opposite Baker Field) Marble Hill was a virtual island.  It was a hill surrounded by the marsh through which the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the Haarlem Creek wound.  As the Times today reported the marsh was filled in, connecting Marble Hill physically and culturally to the Bronx when it was severed from the rest of the Borough of Manhattan by the canal dug in 1895.
Zoning Map of Manhattan.  Marble hill at the top is not an island.
It is severed from Manhattan by the ship canal.
James F. Lyons, right, the Bronx borough president, and an assistant tried to retake Marble Hill from Manhattan on this date in 1939.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Artifacts #2: Maps & State Secrets

Lots more in this article.  Check it out. - gwc

Artifacts #2: Maps & State Secrets: "JOSH MARSHALL – MARCH 10, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT1846
This is the so-called Cantino Map, a chart stolen by an agent of an Italian Duke from the Portuguese Crown in 1502. It provides an interesting follow-up to our discussion of the first map of the continent of Africa from Friday."

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Friday, March 7, 2014

The First Map of Africa - Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo

This is a pretty good job - though not long after things got a lot better.  The Portuguese had rounded Cape of Good Hope and would soon be building forts and schools on the west coast of the Indian sub-continent; and landing Jesuit missionaries in Macao in 1579.  Josh has more to say so click though on this link. - GWC

Artifacts #1: The First Map of Africa

by Josh Marshall

"This is believed to be the first map of Africa, as a continent. "Africa" was originally a Roman term for the region of modern Tunisia and the western portion of Libya. The Arabs later adopted a similar definition. But this is the first known map of the new concept of Africa as a continent stretching from North Africa down to a southern tip that could be rounded and from which you could then sail on to India and Asia.

The map is the work of Sebastian Munster (1489-1552), a professor of Hebrew at the University of Basel. This is mid-16th century, so going on 60 years after Europeans first rounded the Cape of Good Hope to Asia, though the Portuguese had been exploring the western coast of Africa a good deal longer.  Still more remarkable is this Abraham Ortelius map from only 30 years later. Published at Antwerp in 1584."

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Still Winter

Not done yet.  Ice in the Hudson - March 4

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The weather in Saskatchewan today

This is a big chill to start March.