I have this overwhelming feeling of OH MY GOD YOU GUYS building up inside me. “Isn’t that the feeling you always have?” Or as the old song goes, “When rats arrived in Marseilles / the dogs were asleep and the cats were busy with astrology. / Among stones and rubbish, they danced, as rats always do, / with Roman gravity and a humming from the dark places.” How are you? ‘Fine’ means things aren’t quite right. ‘Good’ means we don’t have to talk about it. ‘Great’ means there’s some story or good news. ‘Not so good’ means we’re compelled to talk about it. Attacking the question is too mean. And you * cut themselves with a thin paper in the eye *. Earlier research found that bottlenose dolphins name themselves, with dolphins having a “signature whistle” that encodes other information. It would be somewhat like a human shouting, “Hey everybody! I’m an adult healthy male named George, and I mean you no harm!” The new finding is that bottlenose dolphins also say the names of certain other dolphins. “They produced copies when they were separated from a close associate and this supports our belief that dolphins copy another animal’s signature whistle when they want to reunite.” Hereafter, nostalgia shall only be referred to as “the condition of the mercenary when he is far away from Switzerland”. My friend Dave writes, “I was taking a photo of a yogi offering free head massages on Cornmarket in Oxford, also seen in The Lunchtime Portraits, and this gentleman, who had been observing, came up to me when I was finished and asked if I would take his portrait, too. Ever the good sport, I happily complied. When I finished, he walked back up and held out his hand. It wasn't until that moment that I did the math. He had also observed me giving a pound toward the yogi's cause, and he apparently figured that I was paying people for the pleasure of take their pictures and that he wanted in.” So okay. It’s Nina Simone’s birthday. An Israeli court decides to release Samer Assawi on the 6th of March 2013. I will carry hot soup to my mother. Oh mother, drink this soup. Revelation is that, really, all I want to do is write about Flying Saucers. (The very first company to offer UFO abduction insurance was the St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The company says that it has paid out at least two claims.) Embedded within this army of clones, however, is the potential for endless apple diversity. The sheer variety of wild apples is astonishing: in its original home, near Almaty in Kazakhstan, the apple can be the size of a cherry or a grapefruit; it can be mushy or so hard it will chip teeth; it can be purple- or pink-fleshed with green, orange, or white skin; and it can be sickly sweet, battery-acid sour, or banana-y. My friend Bhanu writes (and because this is perfect I quote at some length): One of my best friends here is called Sharon. She is an anti-fracking activist and, last week, followed -- contra-surveillance -- a dump truck leaving the recent “spill” west of Fort Collins to the landfill. Green horizontal tracking [fracking?] fluid was spewing out for -- hours. The state of Colorado is -- a territory so over-written that -- writing here -- is to write -- on a surface that both refracts it and pierces it. Perhaps that is why I have been able to write here. Something links me to this. To the ground. Will I un-link? What does it take to un-link? ;It is what it is, says Sharon. Grow up, says Sharon. She doesn’t say this directly to me. I like her because she is an amateur historian-journalist on fire. Andy Warhol behind her head as she pours our tea. Her mother was from Birmingham. Sharon heard about the spill and went out to witness it. Then she decided to investigate where they were dumping the toxic waste. The landfill. To be covered up by the regular waste. “One dump truck after another and another. And they were just dumping this shit on the ground next to all the other crap.” She and her friend were followed by another car. As Sharon was taking photographs, a man got out. “May I help you?” “No thanks,” said Sharon, “I’m fine.” “May I help you?” “No.” “May I help you?” Sharon doesn’t come from a privileged background; she comes from a working-class Ohio / Pennsylvania background. Her father died early from working in industry -- the mines -- a rare blood cancer. Protesting that, the long journey of her family to be compensated -- never compensated -- for that -- death -- activated Sharon. I am describing my friend now. I met her because she owned, with her sister, a salon where I rented massage therapy space when I moved here. It was the first place I stopped, attracted by the bamboo fence that reminded me of New Mexico. The turquoise windowsills. I became friends with the hairdressers and listened to their wild stories. Sharon and I began to hang out. Sharon offered interior design at reasonable rates. Sharon's interest in the environment began to extend from what it took to fill out the forms and send them to the corporation who had poisoned her father. In Santa Barbara, she’d been a student of Ann Hamilton -- assisting her in early installation works. Once, she saw David Hockney get out of his car on a side street, a painting under his arm. She got work in a long term care facility; her patient was Kenneth Rexroth. He had had a stroke. In Colorado, Sharon began to work on Nevada and the 1950s and nuclear testing and Japan. Sharon met a man who’d been in the Pacific -- on a ship -- when everything went down -- out there on the ocean -- and whose father was an under-secretary in Eisenhower’s administration; Sharon met this man in Village Inn in Loveland. A man in his nineties, he came to the activist meetings to ban fracking – “but it seems safe” – “my research shows me it’s safe.” Sharon said, oh honey. Where are you getting your information? “COAC,” said the man, who had been a witness to the first tests. The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. Oh honey, said Sharon to the man – that’s like the fox in the hen-house. I’ll get you some other information. I’ll bring that right over. I admire my friend who drinks Lipton and is a normal person and who is trying to make it work. And who is fighting for the environment with bright rage, passion and curiosity.
[Note: Sources: Nathaniel Otting, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Noah Eli Gordon, FB comment appended to Otting’s post, 21 Feb 013; JBR; Steven Kuusisto, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Chuk Moran, “EXTRACT: Superactually, Chuk Moran”, at Zero Books Blog, 18 Feb 013, via Benjamin Noys, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Stina Kajaso, “Det korta livet”, at SONOFDAD, 21 Feb 013 (turns out that 22 Feb 013 is Bunuel’s birthday - ooo-eee-ooo - didn’t know that at the time of writing); Jennifer Viegas, and Stephanie King, as quoted in Viegas’s “Dolphins Call Each Other By Name”, at Discovery News, 19 Feb 013, via Jared Schickling via Ash Smith, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Anne Boyer, “songs of innocence and experience”, at *, 21 Feb 013; JBR, but see next; David Stumpp, “The Homeless Interact | The Lunchtime Portraits”, at flickr; JBR, via Pierre Joris, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Gaza Youth Break Out, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Red Slider, “BLACK SUN (Healing Stone)”, at Holopoet; Arielle Guy, FB post, 21 Feb 013; Wikipedia, as quoted in Jacob Sloan, “Protect Yourself With Alien Abduction Insurance”, at Disinformation, 21 Feb 013; Nicola Twilley, “Of Sisters and Clones: An Interview with Jessica Rath”, at Edible Geography, 21 Feb 013; JBR; Bhanu Kapil, “Ban Fracking: Tea with Sharon as the snow begins to fall”, at Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?, 21 Feb 013]