Saturday, April 28, 2007

Books and birds

Recent reads have included:

Benjamin Miller, Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York: The Last Two Hundred Years –our history from the filth up, which is pretty much rotten from the get-go. Like democracy itself: when people don’t pay attention, in this case to how/why they produce waste and where it goes, the scum rises to the top.

Rathje & Murphy: Rubbish! The Archeology of Garbage. What our garbage tells us about ourselves.

Joan Dye Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader. I heard her speak at the BBG a couple months ago. What a woman, and the recipes look good too. Inspired by the 30-year-gap between quixotic Dennis Kucinich and his strapping red-headed bride, I wrote Gussow a mash note. Now if that 30-year gap was the other way, I’d be hooking up with…huh, never mind, that would be illegal, Ms. Haze. Except maybe in South Carolina…

David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays. I can only take DFW in small amounts (and I like footnotes), so I didn't complete all of these pieces, but the essay on the porn awards was good, and the eponymous disquisition was stimulating. (Inside was the receipt for the last person/one of the last people to check this volume out: he or she [patron ID#4342076] also checked out Brookland, by the Very Lovely Emily Barton, a novel I did not find readable; the paper they use for these receipts is particularly cheap and starts to fox in just a few weeks).
7:30 at Grand Army Plaza this morning for birding with the Linnaean Society. Foggy morning, empty streets as I walked across the valley of the Greasy Green Gowanus up the slope of the terminal morraine. Noticed (for the first time?) the walking stick and top hat civic dynamo in brass Stranahan sports. Something could live in that hat. Saw over thirty species, in about two hours. First for the year: kestrel, kingbird, catbird, great-crested flycatcher, warbling vireo, yellow warbler, black & white warbler, field sparrow, chipping sparrow, towhee, orchard oriole.

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