Vox Hunt: Moving Picture

Video: Show us a documentary or film based on a true story that really moved you.

I haven't seen it in years, but it stays with me.  I plan on seeing it again soon.  So moving.

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Vox Hunt: An Interesting Life

Book: Show us a great biography or memoir.

Not a memoir per se, more like a monthly account of the books he bought and read while doing reviews for The Believer magazine.  Highly entertaining and educational, I've compiled enough reading material to keep me busy forever, and that's not counting the books I find on my own and on Vox.  One would think I could get through it all, being off work as I am, but Hornby's routine is a bit like mine, although he is more disciplined about reading things one at a time. I think I'll buy this book, for quick reference (it's from the library).  He's included some personal tidbits.  He has an autistic child, for example. 

Let me think back on something closer to a true answer for this Vox hunt.  I just don't think I've really read any memoirs lately.  Hmm.  Oh, well:

Terrific and hopelessly out of print, now considered a Rare book.  Stuffed somewhere in a box in the garage, along with a book about The Jam.

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There will come soft rains

There will come soft rains and and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire.

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last, when it is done.

Not one will mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly.

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

                            —-Sara Teasdale

Very Victorian, I know, but it reminds me of Spring, in an ominous way.  She killed herself, like her former poet-lover Vachel Lindsay.  But this poem also reminds me of man's ignorance (at all times, but especially) during the nuclear age. 

We've been thinking of heading out to the Farallon Islands (26 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge) for a day trip on the boats (Mike's and Jacob's), and I just read that between 1946 and 1970, at least 80,000  55-gallon drums of radioactive waste (some from Lawrence Livermore lab) were dumped at the marine sanctuary.  Also, the USS Independence, an aircraft carrier used as a target at the Bikini atoll atom bomb tests, was sunk off the islands (among other wrecks).   The estimated half-life of the nuclear waste is 3 billion years.  And the proximity of  the San Andreas Fault to the area is a  concern for scientists, as a major event could rupture the drums (some of which were apparently shot at while being sunk). 

The Farallones (or "rocks" in Spanish) are  the largest breeding colony of seabirds in the lower 48 states, home to the world's largest colony of a couple of endangered bird species, and to a huge variety of pellagic (blue whales, dolphins, great white sharks, etc) and pinniped (elephant seals, sea lions, etc)  wildlife.  There's a research facility on the islands now, but landings by the public are prohibited, now that the islands are under federal protection.


.  Little did Ms. Teasdale know of the depths of humans' appetite for destruction.  I don't think I'll be eating any of the fish caught out there (although at the rate we're going, is there any safe food anymore?).

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In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it,
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

                            —Mary Oliver

It was a year ago today that I was short of breath and gasping for air as we walked down New Montgomery St. to get to a new tapas bar.  My sister and our guests were smoking up a storm, it was cold and windy, and I felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest, I was breathing so hard.  I've come a long way since then, thank God.

Coincidentally, I had my CT scan today, and I've been coughing for the past 6 weeks, so I'm a bit worried.  It's kept me from making vacation plans.

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More poetry

We moved into this house right after I was diagnosed, and had no time or energy to decorate or truly get settled.  We gave our giant oak bookshelf away, thinking it would be replaced by more mobile bookshelves.  Alas, those were never purchased and all my books are still boxed, in the garage.  So I can't idly saunter to the shelf, pull out a book on poetry and glance over it.  So Vox will have to be a repository for awhile, see how that works.

i am running into a new year

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

             —-Lucille Clifton

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