Burningbird Weblogging

Face to face with the elusive giant squid tree in Missouri

I am compressing my remaining two Emily Dickinson posts into one, which I hope to put online sometime in the next day. I found the same topic reflected in the subjects of both essays, and am editing accordingly. Besides, my hands are bloody enough from beating at the box.

After the essay, I am going to turn my focus to moving this weblog to a different weblogging tool, taking down several sub-sites—I am letting several domains expire—and coming up with a new look for the weblog. And I’m going to go outside more. Much more.

Speaking of the outdoors, I spent several hours yesterday walking through the streets of St. Charles, enjoying unusually warm weather and just being out of the house. This Spring promises to be lovely, and I plan on hitting all the hikes I can’t walk in the summer because of the critters. I do not plan on providing an easy lunch for the native Missouri insect life this year. The little bastards are going to have to work for their food, and come find me.


Speaking of being bugged, Doc agrees with Jeff Jarvis on Stern, and Jarvis agrees with Doc back, and the reverberation damn near took out my cognitive processes. However, I managed to hold on to my thinking center, but it was a close call. Very close.

Still, I feel bad for Jarvis, as he has attracted a remarkably hostile readership, including several people from what I call the “spit while you pray” club. Kind of reminds me of, well, Howard Stern.

That’s the problem if you keep your mind too open, Mr. Jarvis: all sorts of evil shit can crawl in.


I did like what Jarvis wrote on litmus tests for group membership. It’s a small post, and all one paragraph, so I’m going to just copy the whole thing (there’s loads of comments to read, still):

I supported the war and people called me a right-winger and refused to accept my liberal credentials. Now I go after the Bush administration over free speech and Howard Stern and also don’t like Gibson’s Passion and the right-wingers call me a left-winger. Those who hated me one week love me the next; those who loved me one week hate me the next; and a few smart people sit back and laugh. Life becomes very confusing when you have only one litmus test by which to judge mankind.

If the current political environment is good for one thing, it’s the fact that it’s forcing us to re-evaluate our membership in whatever groups we used to classify ourselves in.

There was a barrage of comments from the person mentioned in the last post over the weekend against me over at Joi Ito’s (don’t bother looking, Joi followed his comment policy and deleted them because they were out of context attacks on someone other than himself). I guess one reader who didn’t know me felt compelled to come over to my site, read a few posts and then join in the bashing; dismissing my unoriginal writing, as that of a typical liberal because of my anti-Bush and anti-Ashcroft writings. This isn’t surprising, but he also lumped in my Nader essay, my strong pro-gay marriage stance, and my Emily Dickinson essay to support his view.

Now, I can see the anti-Bush and anti-Ashcroft posts; liberals in this country share this view without hesitation. However, liberals are mixed on Nader, the same as they are on pro-gay marriage. I have found several people who consider themselves very liberal who have very ambivalent feelings about gay marriage. Support for civil unions, yes; but not necessarily support for gay marriage.

(And we only have to look at the upside down, turned in and out world of poor Andrew Sullivan to realize that even the poster children for the conservative movement in this country aren’t happy about the Marriage Amendment. )

As for writing about Emily Dickinson and being liberal, I guess this means then conservatives either don’t write about Emily Dickinson, or don’t write about poetry. Maybe they have other tastes, such as listening to Howard Stern.

The point is, the rules of the game have changed; the bit buckets have been kicked over. We’re all free to think whatever we want and to call ourselves whatever we want.

Now, don’t let all that freedom scare you.


Speaking of being free to speak for herself, Jeneane wrote about her discomfort with the gay right to marry being equated with the civil rights actions of people like Rosa Parks:

Let me state, for the record if you will, that I feel happiness for the gay couples who have been committing themselves for the long haul in San Francisco. I’m still fuzzy on what these new unions should be called. I am also sympathetic to the desire of gay couples to win legal rights as one another’s spouses.

I am not happy, however, with the privileges desired by rich, white, Rosie O’Donnell, for example, – who can afford to hop a jet out to San Fran as easily as she can walk into the nearest fancy restaurant and dine as she wishes – being equated with the fight for human rights carried forth by the likes of Rosa Parks, whom Shelley mentions, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

To compare the desire among gays to marry with the “bound-and-shackled, ripped-from-their-country-to-toil-in-servitude, whipped-lynched-raped-WITHOUT-any-protection-under-the-law” experience of those who fought and died as a direct result of the legacy of slavery during the civil rights era, is wrong.

Jeneane and I will never reach consensus on this issue, and will have to agree to disagree. But we do so with respect for each other’s viewpoints and without acrimony; that’s something else we should get used to—we’re not going to find our soul mates online, but disagreement mixed with respect can be a beautiful experience, voices harmonized rather than discordant or echoing.

From what I can read of his comments at Jeff Jarvis, that person in Joi’s comments who dismissed me so quickly as a liberal because I wrote about Emily Dickinson will never understand this.


Even after walking around St. Charles yesterday it was too nice to go home so headed to the Busch Conservation Area for late day exploration of the wet lands. No, that’s Busch Conservation, not Bush Conservative, though come to think of it, they’re both all wet.

I hadn’t been out to Busch since this summer, and the difference between then and now is drastic enough to make me feel like I was exploring a whole new place. Leaveless trees and brown grasses under grayed/blue sky with waters filled with geese provides a nice change from lush green and blue waters filled with turtle and egrets.

In the light, all the secret spaces are revealed and the monster in the shadows turns out to be nothing more than half-bitten myth and fancy.


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