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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn


cropMy view of Katrina was rather different from average, I think, because we don't have tv, and didn't subscribe to a newspaper: I found instead an interesting blog by an EMT who went there to help, and his on-the-ground observations, along with posts from the coterie of progressive blogs I follow, coloured my views. —Currently I do have a subscription to the NYTimes, though I use it to follow links more often than making a point to read it everyday.

Thus my view of Harvey is, again, influenced by links picked up here and there, starting with one by one of my fave NYT columnists, Paul Krugman (& yes, that's the real link but mebbe you have to cut and paste, or something to get it to work, sigh...) who, to be fair, balances his laments about Houston's unbridled growth with the necessity of pushing back on nimbyism and over-regulation along the coasts. (However, his complaints about Houston are similar to a lot I've seen on various left sites.)

So I really appreciated this pushback, via alas (see item #21) by an urban planner. An awful lot of the infrastructure services that government provides (& Trump & cronies are quietly cutting, much to our detriment) are this sort of detail-oriented, behind-the-scenes futzing around: misunderstood, if it appears on the average person's radar at all, boring, and specialized—and yet, over time critically important to the success of society.

This guy's argument is that Houston really isn't any more unregulated, or poorly-planned, than any other post 1950s car-culture-centric US big city, and it's unfair to blame it for that, or being on the coast, which are much larger discussions to be had about urban planning. Krugman's a smart guy, but his area of expertise is economics, not urban planning as this poster's is; so I'm inclined to believe this guy, if for no other reason that I'd like to rein in my tendencies to believe that the GOP is always & everywhere unmitigated evil.

And finally, we have the reaction of someone living in the city, a meteorologist for whom Harvey has a very personal meaning —and who, I'll note, falls more to the ‘unbridled land use and now we're paying the price for that’ camp. His expertise is in weather, and he also seems to be more aware of local politics.

So there you have it: three views, each a little closer to the source, with varying opinions about how much we could and should have done to prevent the devastation this storm caused. Some things have been learned: evidently, rescue teams no longer force people to leave their pets behind—which I think is a good thing, because forcing people to live that kind of guilt for a creature to whom they've assumed responsibility is not in my mind a good thing (leaving entirely aside whether innocent animals should be left to die through no fault of their own—and hey, isn't the sign of a civilized society its willingness to rescue its weakest and most defenseless?) —My overall opinion hasn't much changed: climate change is a thing, the storms will get worse, and it's not till we've gotten comprehensively shocked with the bill—be it in lives or the pocketbill—will we finally start doing something about it.

As a natural born conservative, this annoys me to no end, because I'm very much in the oz or prevention versus pound of cure, but unfortunately most of the world doesn't see it that way (or, in the case of the very wealthy, I guess, simply doesn't give a rat's ass—and hey, what that other flooding us self-involved usians are conveniently ignoring?

Which is why I'm aggressively going with pretty flower pix. There doesn't seem to be a damned thing I can do to change the situation, except perhaps brighten some poor sod's day with a bit a beauty.


cropThe little links I collect to enliven these intros are piled up...somewhere. Obviously, I haven't been doing much with the website (though I've been spamming my instagram with a great many posts of out-of-focus henna); however, I hope to have some upcycled, dyed textiles relatively soon.

In the meantime, I finally figured out those various rather weird, mournful calls at 2 in the morning are eastern screech owls; have seen a few monarchs fluttering about; and here are some garden pix.

Currently, the garden is appreciating some much needed rain—spun off from Harvey, hundreds of miles away; what was was so awful for so many was attenuated here in showers of mist and rain, illuminated by the westering sun into falls of golden light so magical that I've only seen it depicted in fantasy paintings hereto (usually of Tolkien or the like). Or morning mist into which the trees disappear in silvery greys and charcoals—the sort of thing not uncommon in Japan (or, to judge from watercolors, other parts of the far East), but something rare enough to be special, here.

Even without Harvey it's been a rough summer for many; which is why I'm posting flowers and butterflies, I guess.

UPDATE: so I changed the post this intro links to so much I went ahead & redated this from 31aug...and since it rained yesterday, the above is still pretty much current.


Here's a link to a short film from the early 1900s that provides a fascinating window to life in NYC a hundred years ago. (I wish I'd saved another link I stumbled across of the same city, a decade prior, when horse-drawn transportation was completely dominated: the photo showed a street ankle deep (or more!) in horse manure, because there were so many horses that their waste totally overwhelmed the efforts of city planners to cope; the problem really only went away when the reliance on horses did.

Today's review of the YA fantasy novel Arabella of Mars, focuses on its culture, which has alas more serious problems than horse manure.


cropLast evening, i.e. 2 evenings ago when I wrote this, sigh, a storm system (and even a little rain) rolled in, & the sky turned these gorgeous shades of orange and pink, even lavender: sunset reflected high enough up amongst the clouds that we could actually see colours, which tend to be blocked by trees, houses and the like.

I love the closed in feeling the trees give, but there's no question that big-sky country is the place to see spectacular sunsets: today's link features art and science, specifically a new cloud formation—in very cool pink & gold colours—exactly the same as today's dead mouse.


cropContinuing on with bright, happy colour schemes with a nod to intense pink, I just loved this gorgeous photography of fluid paint; and I noticed that turquoise and fuchsia mixed particularly well (as they do with fabric dyes as well); with turquoise and yellow being a close second (also true).

Or you can check out this pink lentil pendant, made on the last day of spring.


cropGee, let's make a webpage about the latest beadcurtain strand. —I love travelling, but it does seem to take forever get back on track.

Evidently, June is Pride month, so here's a link about a LGBTIA+ “alphabet”, delightfully interpreted in modern dance; and the very first rainbow flag, which ties in nicely with today's page, given the colour scheme of the original beadcurtain.