Monday, July 31, 2006

Moving Mountains

I just love magazines like Scientific American, where I can glean useful information—like that climate moves mountains. This brings a whole new perspective to global warming...Good if you are a New Yorker who always wanted the Himalayas in your backyard. Not so good if you are someone who likes to ski in Switzerland, as opposed to the Mediterranean.

Traverse of La Traviata

I'm still thinking about how cultural things trade places. La Traviata, for instance. Opera, I mean. I have a friend whose grandfather sat at the feet of Puccini, as he composed out in the public square (Puccini, that is). Opera was for the common people. Not anymore. Not here, anyway. This common person's entertainment now largely belongs to the person with a pocket book.

I imagine that things usually slide in the opposite direction. The rich man's castoffs trickle down (or sputter) to the less well-to-do. How is it that opera sang its way up?

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Nothing profound to say here... just a gracious thank you to artist Andy Goldsworthy, for planting seedlings in stone in NYC. And to Makoto Fujimura, for commenting (profoundly) on that in his on-line essay "Planting Seedlings in Stone." Great title, honored here with the sincerest kind of emulation.

Fujimura's Seedlings in Stone essay

Cross Deffing


It most simply means "of or located in a city," according to the American Heritage. From this, we get the word "urbanities," which means "courtesies, civilities."


The American Heritage speaks again... "A large tract of land distinguishable by features of topography, biology, or culture." The Latin root is "contra" meaning "opposite." Like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, I guess. Not courteous, or civil, I guess.

Yet, many people view the urban setting as contrary to life. And the country setting as courteous and civil to life.

How did we come to this place, where definitions crossed in the night?