13 Replies to “Only half-here”

  1. Dave, I’ve been taking advantage of your “Gleanings” catagory. Read some radical farmers (how can you altogether throw out science!) and checked in on the Professor which in turn spurred me to investigate James Booker, who I find the most tasty of the N.O. pianists I am familiar with. What a life! Run over by an ambulance, high school with Art Neville and Allen Toussaint, an eye out: an impossible life, impossible to live. He was a true medium, a broken reed through which any musical spirit could blow, from Bach to Fats Domino. As a teenager he went on the road doubling for box-bangers who didn’t like to tour or had been double booked. But of course he had as well his own grit, a jump-stepped prosidy hurried with before the beat accents follow by lagging downbeats, a sort of dancing in leg-irons. I’d never seen him and due to your example I did the twenty-five minute download of a You Tube, my first, while out doing chores and then enjoyed over breakfast and there he was smiled, eye-patched, swaying, for a moment incarnate. Thank you.

  2. Bill – Fukuoka’s philosophy rejects the willy-nilly application of scientific (or scientistic) dogma, not the scientific method per se. His own technique of natural farming was something he only discovered because of radical skepticism, a willingness to question all received truths, and his approach is thoroughly experimental. It simply takes a holistic and ecologcial view rather than approaching agricultural challanges piecemeal. If you’re at all interested in the subject, his book The One-Straw Revolution is a very entertaining read.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered and are enjoying my new links category. Thanks for the reminder to check out James Booker, as well as the reminder that YouTube remains pretty much off-limits to those on dial-up, except for those with infinite patience like yorself. At the moment, it’s one of the best rewards for getting high-speed access, but I don’t expect that to last, because a lot of the great, historic footage that’s on there now will probably be taken down to avoid lawsuits.

  3. Thanks for the rejoinder Dave, and am glad I got it wrong about Fukuoka. I also got fogged up about what I took to be a similar anti-science bent in Wendell Berry, whom I know very little about and I will probably never try to sort that matter out. I should read Fukuoka, for my father has become quite active helping to establish a foundation for a the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and I have been hearing alot about it, as well as actually touring the mind-boogling facility, replete with incredible research hardware. William Danforth, M.D. has made what will probably be his final professional goal in life: getting this center financially established. The center is sponsoring world class science in the study of drought resistance, pest resistance, with the hope of keeping the world’s population fed in coming years. It is an interesting latest act in a family whose fortune was built from the factory-ization of our nation’s prairies to produce grains for animal and human consumption. Now, with these food factories under threat and the need for further food sources worldwide, comes the effort to sustain them. I wonder what if any meaning Fukuoka might have to the researchers at the Danforth Center.

    Oh, further thanks for bringing up the matter of displaying text in languages other than English. I’m not sure my older operating system can do it, but it really is a breakthrough to know that it can be done, as I already have on another computer. You might find it quizzical that I would wish to google in a language which I cannot read, but I very much do, as it is images not words which I am after. All I need is to ferret out a few key search words. I can’t wait!

  4. Dave,

    There’s so much of you! Now that I know about you, I’m starting to see you popping up all over the web. What a master of infiltration…

    That was rather a sad post, in your elsewhere. I hate to see the dead balsams when I go home to the mountains, though they sometimes look weirdly silver and beautiful.

  5. Oh yes, the firs. I’ve heard about that die-off, but haven’t seen it first-hand. (Sad? I didn’t even mention all the other blights and introduced insect pests afflicting our forests. I lost my favorite yard tree, an old butternut, to a virus that threatens that species with extinction. It’s gone from the mountain. Soon the beech bark disease will take all our mature beeches, just as the chestnut blight wiped out the American chestnut. The days of the flowering dogwood are likewise apparently numbered…)

    The funny thing about my web presence is that I’m still an almost total loner. I only started social bookmarking so I could put that nifty “web gleanings” section on my sidebar. I read more than 100 blogs, but rarely leave comments on any of them.

  6. I have poked around a bit in your collection… And see some I know, more I don’t. Maybe that’s why I think you’re everywhere–I’ve followed some of your trails through the ether.

    Yes, there are so many blights and kinds of blights. I’m more aware of insect pests when I’m in the Carolinas, as my mother is still an ardent hiker, wildflower gardener, and amateur naturalist (though she wouldn’t say any of those things about herself, being afflicted with modesty.) She would never, never go to bed with a sweater around her head, though!

    Most places it seems to be the rampant refusal to zone. At one time, I thought it was the Scotch-Irish borderer refusal to bow to authority that was the main problem in the North Carolina mountains, but I’ve come to think that we Americans move around too much. Seldom do people truly care for their adoptive regions…

  7. I have poked around a bit in your collection Oh, you mean the Smorgasblog! Yeah. Actually, I recommend that sort of thing to anyone with the time – it forces to me to become a more active blog-reader.

    I think the Scotch-Irish heritage has a lot to do with Americans’ attitudes toward central authority, and our propensity to keep wandering, as you say. And I guess the latter does contribute a lot to the transfer of exotic species and diseases. I’d never thought to connect the two before. Obviously, the current economic emphasis on “free” trade from all corners of the globe is a huge part of the problem, too. A lot of nasties are arriving in packing materials and the ballast water of ships.

  8. I wasn’t so much thinking about bug transport, though that’s an issue that could no doubt be linked to roving ways. What I was thinking about was the wholesale destruction of a place by people who are not from it and have no heart for it–who mouth platitudes but who were not bred up to know the land.

    My most lasting image of that sort of thing is a small mountain that stood near Cullowhee, my home in North Carolina. On top stood one of the few remaining older houses in the area, a simple two-story white house surrounded by a ring of maples, yellow in the fall. Now the trees are gone. The house is gone. The mountain is gone. There is a Walmart and a parking lot and a lot of congestion on the busy road between Cullowhee and Sylva.

    The image of the mountain, the house, and the trees that are not there comes into my mind so often! But it is the same all over. Outside Cooperstown was a long lyrical passage of low hills and farmlands that in the past decade has become junk and baseball camps. Cooperstown is mightily zoned, but that just pushes greed and ugliness to its outer edges.

  9. the wholesale destruction of a place by people who are not from it and have no heart for it—who mouth platitudes but who were not bred up to know the land.

    No doubt. Our disinclination to zone against “development” is one factor, and restlessness is another. But what makes people want to buy a tract home in the exurbs to begin with? Nothing more than a sentimental love for “country.” It’s the age-old story: we destroy what we cannot possess.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Have you blogged these stories? People should be able to relate to them no matter where they’re from. I think it’s important that we keep telling stories of love and loss for real places, not just “nature” in the abstract, or some charismatic elephant or polar bear on the other side of the world.

  10. Hmm. I think that I have talked about the mountain… Yes, I agree with you about telling the stories. I’ve written poems that have to do (in an oblique way) with such havoc here and in NC.

  11. Great discussion.

    Dave, as you predicted, all the James Booker Youtube video has been removed. There were seven or eight of them. I got a look a five or six. Thanks for getting me to the show while it lasted. Never woulda made it without you. What an experience to see Mr. Booker. He was only a dim prescence to me. Sometimes our independent radio station would play “Sunnyside of the Street”. That was about all I knew, but it was a big deal to me. Now to have heard “Malaguena”, “Classified”, “True” and best of all the intrumentals “Put Out the Light” and “Pixie”. I replayed them all many times before loosing them to the next screen. Now they are gone. So serious while working out “Pixie”. But the smile to the ovation when he is through.

  12. Bill, I sure hope you get high-speed soon! I’m sorry to hear all those videos were taken down already — I never did get a chance to go watch them. Damn.

  13. Dave, thanks for your good wishes but I don’t think it’s happenin’ lessun I moves. Been trying to research Booker on-line buth sheesh it’s hair pulling!h

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