Drought Map USA for 20131029


Aurora, Bjørn Jørgensen Oct 30, 2013 Kvaløya, Tromsø, Norway


Drought Map for 20131022


Darkness Sticks to Everything by Tom Hennen

New work by Minnesota poet Tom Hennen

Reviewed by Dave Wood in the Coon Rapids Herald [Link]

Minnesota poet Tom Hennens work has been around for a long time, since 1963, and his new book is a welcome addition to his oeuvre.

Darkness Sticks to Everything, with a foreword by Jim Harrison .and an afterword by Thomas R. Smith (Copper Canyon Press, $18, paper) reprints poems from his earlier books like The Heron with No Business Sense and includes about forty of his new poems.

Hennen is a master of the prose poem, many of which he mines from his background as a farm kid in western Minnesota.

Heres a fine example:

Corn Picking 1956 Afternoon Break

I needed a heavy canvas jacket riding the cold red tractor, air an ice cube on bare skin. Blue sky over the aspen grove I drove through on the way back to the field, throttle wide open, the empty wagon I pulled hitting all the bumps on the dirt road. In the high branches of the aspens little explosions now and then sent leaves tumbling and spinning like coins tossed into the air. The two-row tractor-mounted corn-picker was waiting at the end of the corn rows, the wagon behind it heaped so high with ears of corn their yellow could be seen a mile away. My father, who ran the picker, was already sitting on the ground, leaning back against the big rear wheel of the tractor. In that spot out of the wind we ate ham sandwiches and doughnuts, and drank hot coffee from a clear Mason jar wrapped in newspaper to keep it warm. The autumn day had spilled the color gold everywhere: aspen, cornstalks, ears of corn piled high, coffee mixed with fresh cream, the fur of my dog, Boots, who was sharing our food. And when my father and I spoke, joking with the happy dog, we did not know it then, but even the words that we carelessly dropped were left to shine forever on the bottom of the clear, cold afternoon.

Perhaps its only my background as a farm boy, but those finely detailed words struck me with real power.

I could taste the ham, probably served on coarse homemade bread, I could smell the coffee, could hear the yellowing corn stalks rustle in the cool sunlight, could feel the glossy coat of the dog Boots. (My dogs name was Pal.)

As poet Thomas R. Smith points out in his well-reasoned afterword, Tom Hennen can take little details, tiny details and make them universal, as he does in


In flakes, in the shape of pellets and pills.

Snow drifting, sailing, wind driven.

A hatch of crystal insects. One race or many?

Genus, species not classified or understood. Habitat air and sky and earth. Lives in groups. Small and large. Starts out alone but soon in crowds of snow, in piles in banks, in drifts, in heaps, in shovelfuls.

A skift of snow.

Skift, a word my father used for a very small amount of snow but more than a trace, hard and fine as bread flour. It appears only on the coldest winter days. It comes when you are not looking: busy throwing hay down from the loft for the milk cows, or lighting a cigarette with your back to the wind, etc. Its the layer of dry snow that skids over the patches of bare ground.

In below-zero wind when your eyes are freezing shut. Skift snow spreads itself in thin ribbons on the clear ice of puddles

Frozen in the dirt.

Skift snow frightens all the birds away except the chickadee that has no room in its little body for an ounce of fear. The only sound of skift snow is a whisper as it brushes across the crusty winter afternoon. No matter. The chickadee will sing the same short song it has been singing since it left the ark, even as the next ice age slides in
on a skift of snow.

Spreads itself in thin ribbons on the clear ice of puddles frozen in the dirt.

We’ve all seen it, but somehow Hennen makes it seem like more.

Editors note: Dave Wood is a past vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle and former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Phone him at 715-426-9554.

omg i just witnessed a horribly hilarious thing

omg i just witnessed a horribly hilarious thing
(I was Joan of Arc, In My Former Life.)

i’m in a mixed group with some students, discussing sexual assault.
i asked if anyone feels like assault is the victim’s fault, to raise their hand.
one boy raised his hand and started to explain that girls who wear
revealing clothing, or get excessively drunk, should be held responsible
for whatever happens.
he was about to say something else when one girl got up
when he came to, he’s all, “why’d the fuck you hit me?!”
“if you weren’t just standing there when i decided to start swinging
you wouldn’t have gotten hit. it’s your own fault.
“see how victim blaming works?”

i’m supposed to give her a referral for in-school suspension.
but dammit i’m so proud she earned a treat at the end of the week.



schneier bruce headshotfrom Bruce Schneier… [https://www.schneier.com/]

“D-Link Router Backdoor

Several versions of D-Link router firmware contain a backdoor. Just set the browser’s user agent string to “xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide,” and you’re in. (Hint, remove the number and read it backwards.)

It was probably put there for debugging purposes, but has all sorts of applications for surveillance.

Good article on the subject.”

Drought Map for 20131015


Stonekettle Station: Upon The Dark And The Rolling Sea

Oh you set your course for the furthest shores
And you never once looked back
And the flag you flew was a pirate cross
On a field of velvet black
And those landsmen who you but lately knew
Were left stranded on the lea
Don’t call on them when the storm clouds rise
On the dark and the rolling sea

wright-jim-stonekettleMy teenaged son pondered the extremists who have taken America hostage.

He asked, How can they not see how crazy they are? How?

How indeed?

I mean, they must know, right?

Surely, if a seventeen year old high school student can see it, they must be able to see the bizarre folly of their ways, yes?

Were months into the crippling effects of sequestration. The government has been shuttered for two weeks now. Americans become ever more restive, the financial markets grow ever more fearful, the nation grows ever more afraid. All for the vainglory of an uncompromising few.

And now?

Now they attempt to extort us with default, with a near certain return to recession and an economic disaster that threatens not just our own nation but the economic stability of the entire world.

They must see how insane they have become.

How could they not?


Canada’s Hudson Bay lowlands succumbing to climate change

“We document the rapid transformation of one of the Earth’s last remaining Arctic refugia, a change that is being driven by global warming. In stark contrast to the amplified warming observed

throughout much of the Arctic, the Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) of subarctic Canada has maintained cool temperatures, largely due to the counteracting effects of persistent sea ice. However, since the mid-1990s, climate of the HBL has passed a tipping point, the pace and magnitude of which is exceptional even by Arctic standards”

Aurora by C.K. Man 20131012 Prelude Lake Yellowknife NWT Canada