1 August 2021
Vol. XI, No. 8

August 2021

(With the editorsthanks, always, to F. Theresa Gillard.)

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other peoples reality, and eventually in ones own.”―Susan Sontag, from “Melancholy Objects”

“Pedernal Dreaming,” by Doug West (2019).

“Pedernal Dreaming,” by Doug West (2019).

“Dream’s Past,” by Doug West (2018).

“Dream’s Past,” by Doug West (2018).

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: At long last, Canadian essayist, sociologist, seer, and mensch, Dr. William Ramp (aka, to me, “Wild Bill”), returns to us, with the first installment of a long-form essay titled “De Aanslag [The Assault].” Dont miss this rare breaching! It has been my distinct honor to read, publish, and pursue (à la Ahab) Bill Ramp all these years. I believe he has just come into his own (having found his dark materials) and has yet far, far to go, and much, much more to explore and share, before he sleeps. (And Im going to need a bigger boat.) Elsewhere this August, Assistant Editor Tim Bayer, from Fairport, New York, has turned up some side-splitting video footage featuring Man-versus-Squirrel. Poet/essayist/musician/gardener Anita Sullivan, currently of Oregon, then shares with us a savory (un)Commonplace Book snippet from her running blog-series, Poets Petard. Next, essayist/poet/puzzlemeister Dr. Sterling “Skip” Eisiminger lectures us, lightly but thoroughly, on the subject of irony. And poet Claire Bateman introduces us to fellow poet Eugene Platt of South Carolinas Low Country. Next, climatologist Dr. Guy McPherson, our Troubadour for The End Times, from now-sizzling Vermont, stuffs another message in our communal bottle: “No May. No Might. Only Is.” And we close out the August issue with a Guest Column titled “Forgetting the Names of Things,” by conservationist and widely published Canadian author Kevin Van Tighem.

About the artwork featured on our August Home Page: For half a century, Doug West has been interpreting the landscape of the American Southwest and the drama of its skies. From his hand-pulled serigraphs and monotypes, to his original oil paintings, Wests art is noted for its clarity of vision. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in well over 50 one-man shows; has an extensive list of publications; and thousands of serious art patrons have collected his prints and oils. In recent years, West has begun expanding into plein aire oil painting as well as monotype printing. States the artist, “Art is a vehicle for personal growth and challenge―a way of life. Through my creative efforts I feel life has meaning by providing a constant process of renewal and rebirth.” (For a lecture by Doug West, “Reflections from a Forty-Year Journey Through a Life Grounded in Art,” go here.)

14 May 2007: Lights along the fire line memorialize the bombing of Rotterdam.

Lights memorialize the bombing of Rotterdam.

Small Things Recollected

De Aanslag (The Assault),By Dr. William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021—I spent the first year of the COVID pandemic thinking that I could and would come up with some big insight about it to turn into a column or series of columns for Weekly Hubris. Instead, my writerly voice went mute. This wasn’t entirely the fault of the pandemic. If I became more isolated, I was already well-practiced in solitude. In the half-decade previous, ’d floundered through a few personal, political, and professional defeats and failures. The astringent self-questioning that resulted left me disillusioned, ashamed, confused, and little-inclined to company. Nonetheless, COVID social restrictions did affect me, but as usual I was the last to know. (Read more . . .)

The Walnut Heist

The walnut heist.

Won Over By Reality

“The Walnut Heist,” By Tim Bayer

FAIRPORT New York(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021Mark Rober is astonishingly good at 1) engineering, 2) fabrication, and 3) story-telling—a rare trifecta of talents, to be sure. Squirrels, on the other hand, can leap 10 times their body length; are able to turn their ankles 180 degrees to face any direction when climbing; have superb vision; and learn new skills by quickly copying other animals. (Read more . . .)

Poet atop petard. (Drawing by Edward Lear.)

Poet atop petard.

On the Other Hand

“Poet’s Petard # 1,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021As you know, my dear fellow writers for and readers of Weekly Hubris, a vital part of being a writer is reading. Reading, memorizing, and, if necessary, copying stuff down on the spot before you forget. I began collecting bits and pieces of other people’s writings at an early age. I still have some of these yellowed pieces of paper with my original “savings.” Eventually, I got officious about it and began to type them up and paste them into a loose-leaf notebook. In earlier centuries, they used to call these borrowed bits of writing a Commonplace Book. Some writers even worried, as did Socrates, that the habit of writing everything down was sure to lead to a lazy mind. What though my head be empty/if my Commonplace Book be full? (Read more . . .)

Some say the world will end in fire . . . or ice?

Some say the world will end in fire . . . or ice?

Skip the B.S.

Striking While the Irony Is Hot: Reversals, By Dr. Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021—In a world where: the search for immortality led the Chinese to discover gunpowder, some sunscreens have been shown to cause skin cancer, California droughts are often “relieved” by torrential rains and mudslides, a Nisei battalion liberated the survivors at Dachau, and, in seconds, the explosion of NASA’s Challenger wrenched my emotions and the emotions of seven immediate families and an entire nation from heart-swelling pride to horror, I am left with irony as my default position. In World War Two, Corporal Adolf Hitler was presented the Iron Cross for the bravery he’d displayed in combat on the recommendation of a Jewish superior, but young Hitler’s subsequent request for promotion was denied by a Lutheran superior who’d found “no leadership qualities in him.” (Read more . . .)

Eugene Platt. (Photo: Alice Keeney.)

Poet Eugene Platt.

Speculative Friction

The Poetry of Eugene Platt, By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021—Poet Eugene Platt, an octogenarian, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. After serving in the Army (11th Airborne and 24th Infantry Divisions), he earned degrees at the University of South Carolina and Clarion University of Pennsylvania as well as a diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely and has given over 100 public readings of his work at colleges and universities across the nation. While studying at Trinity College, he was invited to read in the inaugural Dublin Arts Festival in 1970. Some of his poems have been choreographed. He was the first Poet Laureate of the Town of James Island and was Poet-in-Residence for public radio station WSCI. (Read more . . .) 

These guys are not our enemies. (Image via GhoulishMedia

These guys are not our enemies.

Going Dark

No May, No Might, Only Is, By  Dr. Guy McPherson

POULTNEY Vermont—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021—Recently, I watched the 2021 film, Godzilla vs. Kong. Godzilla has been the peoples’ protector for centuries. He turns against the people after they create a mechanized Godzilla (and, also, when they begin to meddle with nature). Kong is the last of his kind and is the traditional enemy of Godzilla. He is the protector of the natural world and its wild places, and also of individuals that he cares about. Kong faces off against Godzilla when it looks as though Godzilla has lost his mind. But, in the end, Godzilla and Kong realize they are fighting the same enemy: technology! Only together will they be able to beat the real monster: technology gone bad. With respect to climate change, we have triggered dozens of self-reinforcing feedback loops. These are the “bad guys” in the reality show currently playing out on Earth. (Read more . . .)

Three flowered avens, Oldman River valley, Alberta.

Three flowered avens, Oldman River valley, Alberta.

While I Draw Breath

Forgetting the Names of Things, By Kevin Van Tilghem

COWLEY, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2021—I grew up loving and studying birds, and so when I went to university I studied botany. Partly that was because there were few ornithology courses at my university; in fact, I think there were none. But it was also partly because I wanted to know more about the world in which birds lived, and most birds live among plants. The university awarded me my degree “with distinction” because I managed to get high marks in the more advanced, and consequently more interesting, courses during my final years there but my learning was actually incomplete because I was lazy and easily distracted. Most of my taxonomy was learned by rote, not by long hours in the herbarium with a microscope and ruler. I was fortunate. I had a good memory. (Read more . . .)

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