Hummingbirds Flock To Handheld Feeder By Stephanie McBride in Birding Wis. 20170530

Drought Map for May 23rd 2017

Obituaries Written for a 20 Something Living in San Fransisco By Her Mother

(Sponsored by Bay Area Rental Caskets)

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Bess Kalb, twenty-four, of San Francisco, formerly of New York. The cause of death was botulism from a homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam that was prepared by one of her housemates. The housemate, Aviva Something, holds a degree in—I kid you not—modern culture and media. She certainly had no formal training in sterile canning and preservation. If the kitchen in this “co-op” where the jam was prepared looks anything like it did six months ago, there is compost decaying right there on the counter next to the sink. Bess is survived by her brother, who once looked up to her.

* * *

We mourn the death of Bess Kalb, twenty-five, beloved daughter and sister, who passed away late yesterday while hiking in the middle of nowhere with no cell-phone reception. A product of Manhattan, Bess had no awareness of wild animals, so when she inevitably encountered a bear/coyote/mountain lion (apparently no longer nocturnal due to ambient city light, which she’d have known if she’d read the article I sent her), she may as well have had a giant sign around her neck that said, “DINNER.” It also could have been sunstroke that did her in. She had a fair complexion, like her mother.

* * *

Today we lay to rest our daughter Bess Kalb, twenty-six, who was claimed Saturday morning by Contact Yoga. In an attempt to prove that she’s some kind of “free spirit,” she decided it would be a good idea to do this thing where you balance your entire body on a stranger’s hands and legs—like a child. That Bess’s brief, puzzling life was cut short is a tragedy, though the far greater tragedy is that right before she snapped her neck, some kid with a tribal tattoo was staring down her shirt.

* * *

Our hearts are broken as we announce the demise of our daughter Bess Kalb, twenty-seven, who was taken from us by a Lyft driver. And dismembered. Despite learning at the youngest possible age never to get into a strange man’s car, Bess, ever the techno-optimist, decided to enter her home address into an app, hop into a Hyundai, and hope for the best. The family would like mourners to treat Bess’s death as more or less a suicide.

* * *

Today we said goodbye to Bess Kalb, beloved daughter, sister, and former reader of serious books. After years living in the Bay Area, her brain essentially atrophied beyond the point of return, forcing us to make the brave decision to let her slip away peacefully. Shortly before the end, Bess spoke with genuine enthusiasm about a TED Talk—a pat distillation of a zeitgeisty subject spewed by some billionaire narcissist in a headset, accompanied by inaccurate line graphs. Weeks prior, she had used the word “impactful” in a sentence. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the Bess Kalb Fund for Adult Illiteracy.

* * *

Bess Kalb, twenty-eight, died immediately upon entering Burning Man with her new boyfriend, Travis or Trevor. There were no remains.

[H/T The New Yorker]

Iowa Morel

15 inches tall, 1.5 pounds…


I think I know someone like this but I can’t recall her name

maybe they all need flea powder?

First Roses – Thanks, Ardie

Drought Map for May 16th 2017

“You are a spiritual being having a human experience, not the other way around.”

rural America is an occupied colony, exploited and subjugated like any other 3rd world hellhole…

conventional wisdom, Berry argues, conveniently ignores the decades of destructive economic forces rural communities have endured since the Eisenhower administration—a crony-capitalist-facilitated “plundering” of everything not tied down—and the absence of any effective political response from Democrats in Washington.

Sympathetic pandering? Yes. Results? Not so much.

Agreeing on one thing, Berry writes, “It is true that racism, sexism and nostalgia have counted significantly in the history of rural America until this moment. But to attribute the approximate victory of Mr. Trump only to those ‘southern’ faults, and to locate them only in rural America, is a driblet of self-righteous ignorance.”

Here’s Berry’s full response, including links to Nathaniel Rich’s reply and the foreword that kicked off the exchange:

To the Editors:

Since the 2016 election, urban liberals and Democrats have newly discovered “rural America,” which is to say our country itself beyond the cities and the suburbs and a few scenic vacation spots. To its new discoverers, this is an unknown land inhabited by “white blue-collar workers” whom the discoverers fear but know nothing about. And so they are turning to experts, who actually have visited rural America or who previously have heard of it, to lift the mystery from it.

One such expert is Nathaniel Rich, whose essay “Joan Didion in the Deep South” offers an explanation surpassingly simple: over “the last four decades,” while the enlightened citizens of “American cities with international airports” have thought things were getting better, the “southern frame of mind” has been “expanding across the Mason-Dixon line into the rest of rural America.” As Mr. Rich trusts his readers to agree, the “southern frame of mind” is racist, sexist, and nostalgic for the time when “the men concentrated on hunting and fishing and the women on ‘their cooking, their canning, their ‘prettifying.’…”

This is provincial, uninformed, and irresponsible. Mr. Rich, who disdains all prejudices except those that are proper and just, supplies no experience or observation of his own and no factual and statistical proofs. He rests his judgment solely upon the testimony of Joan Didion in her notes from a tour of “the Gulf South for a month in the summer of 1970.” Those notes contain portraits of southerners whom “readers today will recognize, with some dismay and even horror” because (as Mr. Rich seems vaguely to mean) southerners have not changed at all since 1970. The Didion testimony alone is entirely sufficient because she “saw her era more clearly than anyone else” and therefore “she was able to see the future.”

What is remarkable about Mr. Rich’s essay is that he attributes the southernization of rural America, and the consequent election of Mr. Trump, entirely to nostalgia “for a more orderly past,” without so much as a glance at the economic history of our actual country. The liberals and Democrats of our enlightened cities, as Mr. Rich rightly says, have paid little or no attention to rural America “for more than half a century.” But it has received plenty of attention from the conservatives and Republicans and their client corporations. Rural America is a colony, and its economy is a colonial economy.

The business of America has been largely and without apology the plundering of rural America, from which everything of value—minerals, timber, farm animals, farm crops, and “labor”—has been taken at the lowest possible price. As apparently none of the enlightened ones has seen in flying over or bypassing on the interstate highways, its too-large fields are toxic and eroding, its streams and rivers poisoned, its forests mangled, its towns dying or dead along with their locally owned small businesses, its children leaving after high school and not coming back. Too many of the children are not working at anything, too many are transfixed by the various screens, too many are on drugs, too many are dying.

In a New York Times Op-Ed, A. Hope Jahren writes: “Farm policy hasn’t come up even once during a presidential debate for the past 16 years.” But the problem goes back much farther than that. It goes back at least to Eisenhower’s secretary of agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, who instructed American farmers to “get big or get out.” In effect that set the “farm policy” until now, and thus sealed the fate of the decent, small, independent livelihoods of rural America. To that brutally stated economic determinism I know that President Clinton gave his assent, calling it “inevitable,” and so apparently did Mrs. Clinton. The rural small owners sentenced to dispensability in the 1950s are the grandparents of the “blue-collar workers” of rural America who now feel themselves to be under the same sentence, and with reason.

It is true that racism, sexism, and nostalgia have counted significantly in the history of rural America until this moment. But to attribute the approximate victory of Mr. Trump only to those “southern” faults, and to locate them only in rural America, is a driblet of self-righteous ignorance.

Wendell Berry
Port Royal, Kentucky